In 2008 the British Medical Journal published a report stating that Acupuncture can increase the success rate of IVF treatment by up to 65%. The treatment protocol for Acupuncture treatment to assist with the IVF procedure is tailored on an individual basis. It is essential for all IVF clients to have at least parts two and three of the procedural list below, this amounts to two treatments. The chance of success is increased if you come for treatment earlier and proceed with all five stages of the protocol.
An explanation of the IVF process from an energetic perspective.
Nourish the Liver, Kidney and Chong meridians.
- Remove the heat ( from the stimulatory hormones), on the day of harvest.
- Nourish the womb with fresh Qi and blood on the day of implantation.
- If the process is successful, continue to nourish Kidney Qi.
- Apply Acupuncture in pregnancy protocol.
1) Nourish the Liver, Kidney and Chong meridians.
In chinese medicine these three meridians control almost all of the functions of the gynaecological system. One or more of them will be imbalanced if there is difficulty conceiving. Therefore I recommend if possible to begin acupuncture in the months leading up to the IVF procedure, as Acupuncture can improve the quality of the endometrium, improve the quality of the embryos, and calm the emotional ups and downs that can accompany the procedure. It can also lessen the possibility of miscarriage (along with no.4). Further more, there may also be hormones in the system left over from previous failed IVF procedures, synthetic hormones can take years to be processed by the liver (these hormones are known to harden the endometrium), It is also common to find residues from the contraceptive pill effecting fertility, (for example excess oestrogen can stagnate the system of the liver and cause the endometrium to become too thick or thin). Another medication that is known to have an effect on the pH of the uterus and the thickness of the endometrium is anti biotics, They are a common cause of fertility issues and are known to linger in the body for up to twenty years. If you are considering IVF, or are already on the waiting lists, I recommend you proceed with Acupuncture as early as you can.
2) Remove the heat ( from the stimulatory hormones), on the day of harvest.
The medication that is used to stimulate the ovaries to produce eggs needs to be removed from the body. This needs to be done after the eggs have been harvested, for obvious reasons. Two common ones are progenova and/or gonal F, they cause a lot of activity in the gynaecological system, this stimulation is not required after the eggs have been harvested, the body requires a stable, nourishing environment and energy to support the freshly replanted egg, which is very delicate. It is removed from the meridian system in one treatment. The treatment is arranged as near as is possible to the egg removal date. Preferably on the same day, directly after the egg removal appointment, in the past this was not as important, but the time between egg removal and replantation is getting shorter and now the most common gap I see is only two days.
3) Nourish the womb with fresh Qi and blood on the day of replantation.
The womb needs to be supplied with fresh Qi and blood, this establishes the beginning of the gestational period and supports the ovum. It is preferable for this treatment to be carried out on the same day as replantation, but can be done on the day after.
4) If the process is successful, continue to nourish Kidney Qi.
The Kidney Qi is responsible for the production of Progesterone which is released by the yellow body in the ovary. Low progesterone levels are a cause of miscarriage. Nourishing the kidney Qi is therefore important in maintaining abundant levels of progesterone until the placenta takes over the production of hormones from the ovary, this happens at ten to fourteen weeks. I like to see my clients every two weeks during this period.
5) Apply Acupuncture in pregnancy protocol.
Follow this link to the page describing the benefits of Acupuncture in pregnancy.
I would like to point out that it is preferable to treat the underlying cause of the infertility, but I also recognise that there is sometimes an issue with time. That said, there have been a few occasions that have resulted in a successful pregnancy before the IVF procedure has begun. Sometimes the cause of the infertility diagnosed and treated very quickly (although not always).