Acupuncture and In Vitro Fertilization (IVF)

Seattle, Tacoma & Bellevue Clinics

"What were you doing differently this time?   "Acupuncture."

It is often a big decision to move forward with assisted reproductive technologies (ART) such as IUI (intrauterine insemination) or IVF (in vitro fertilization). It can be expensive, stressful and time consuming. With so much riding on your ART, why not do everything you can to maximize your outcome.

How Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) helps Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART):

  • Further increase IVF success rates, including an increase in blood flow to the ovaries and uterus (see the Research Pages).
  • Decrease the side effects of the medications.
  • Getting the parent(s) in the best health possible so you can optimize your sperm and egg health and the health of your unborn child through pre-conception care.
  • Build resilience to help you persevere and stay in treament until successful.

Acupuncture Onsite For Embryo Transfer (IVF Transfer Acupuncture)

(Check to see if your fertility clinic offers acupuncture for the day of embryo transfer)

  • Increase success rates, optimize patient outcomes (Smith 2019)
  • Regulate and increase blood flow to the uterus to increase chances of implantation (Stener-Victorin 1996)
  • Reduce stress - decrease cortisol levels which is known to decrease "time to conceive". (Eshkevari 2013)
  • Help patients have a good experience (Smith 2011, de Lacey 2009)

Acupuncture Offsite For IVF Preparation

Overall, nine to 11 acupuncture sessions with Whole Systems Traditional Chinese Medicine (WS-TCM) (including acupuncture) was associated with greater odds of live birth in donor and non-donor cycles (Hullender Rubin, Opsahl, Wiemer et al. 2015.

Both Contributing Partners Need to Prepare

When preparing for IVF, it is recommended that both partners who are contributing DNA to this child (both male and female) begin TCM treatment at least 3 months prior to egg retrieval or transfer. Oogenesis and spermogenesis cycles are approximately this long and it is ideal to begin working with the patient at the start of these cycles. Normally, you are seen once a week until the stimulation medications begin and then you are seen twice a week. Maya abdominal massage can be added in during this time as well and can also be very helpful in preparing for IVF.

Putting the building blocks in place before your IVF schedule is wise, but sometimes not possible. If you don’t have three months, there is still much that can be done.  - Stephanie Gianarelli, Clinic Founder and Director

Acupuncture treatment plans for IVF, IUI, timed intercourse with ART:

 

For Women During In Vitro Fertilization (IVF)

Prior to in vitro fertilization (IVF) until stimulation medications (3 months if possible) weekly 
During stim meds twice a week
Before transfer (0-3 days)  one treatment
After transfer (0-3 days) one treatment
5-7 days after transfer one treatment

 

For Women During a Timed Intercourse / IUI (Intrauterine Insemination) or Natural Cycle

Prior to IUI/ovulation (3 months if possible) weekly
Before IUI/ovulation (0-3 days) one treatment
After IUI/ovulation (0-3 days) one treatment
5-7 days after IUI/ovulation one treatment

 

For Men, during IVF/ IUI /Timed Intercourse or Natural Cycle

Prior to IUI/ovulation (3 months if possible) every 1-2 weeks
Before IUI/ovulation (0-3 days) one treatment
   
   

 

 


We recommend continuing acupuncture through your pregnancy. Frequency depends on your hCG numbers, your nausea level and other symptoms.
Acupuncture is sometimes covered for fertility by your health insurance. Call your insurance company to verify benefits.

Research: