Many people are using IVF/IUI these days to conceive. However, even with the support of IVF/IUI there is no guarantee of success. One reason for this is because of exhaustion taking its toll on egg production. Thankfully, acupuncture and TCM can increase success rates of IVF and IUI treatments, especially for people with histories of no success with IUI/IVF. We have examples from our clinic that testify to this.
IVF and IUI involve injecting a lot of hormones into the system to get as many eggs as possible. This takes a toll on the body and the more hormones flooding the system, the more overloaded and overwhelmed the body gets. Consequently the reproductive system shuts down causing the number of eggs to drop off or stop altogether.
Sometimes in response to egg rates dropping even more medication is pumped into the body to try to jumpstart egg production. But this can make matters worse and drain the body of any energy it has left to put into creating eggs.
TCM can help improve egg production. Moreover, there are studies highlighting the positive support TCM can provide to those undergoing IVF/IUI.
TCM approaches egg production by focusing more on consistency and working with what you have. This has the benefit of being gentler on the system, reducing physical and mental stress that naturally comes up in the IVF/IUI process.
Acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine works to improve organ function, bringing the body into balance and at its most efficient to produce good quality eggs. By working on organ function this allows for the body to give consistent, longer term results. Thus your body is in its best form to handle pregnancy should that occur too.
IVF measures success by its live birth rates – a child safely born as a result of embryo transfer – rather than by how many eggs are retrieved or fertilised. A big predictor of success is also the age of the woman undergoing treatment.
In 2017 18.1% of Assisted Reproductive Treatment (ART) resulted in a live delivery. These were how the success rates were for women by age group:
Research is still needed to understand the effect acupuncture has for women undergoing IVF/IUI. However, there are a number of studies that find acupuncture statistically beneficial for women during IVF/IUI procedures. Most importantly, acupuncture can help women who have a history of unsuccessful attempts at falling pregnant naturally or with Artificial Reproduction Technology (ART). In fact the majority of studies favor acupuncture with IVF treatments to improve clinic pregnancy rates and live birth rates.
For more information on studies into the benefits of acupuncture for IVF and fertility read here.
Ella had been undergoing several IUI treatments to fall pregnant with her second child. From May 2019 to January 2020 she had gone through 5 cycles of IUI with little success. Then in early 2020 during ultrasounds to track egg growth her doctors found that she had stopped producing eggs. As a result Ella turned to acupuncture and TCM to help her.
Jane focused on organ function to fight exhaustion and support her body into naturally producing hormones again to better prepare Ella’s body for IUI procedures.
Working with Ella’s fertility doctors, Dr Pauline Joubert and Dr Melinda Heywood from The Wesley Medical Centre at the Wesley Hospital, Ella began regular acupuncture treatments in April along with taking Chinese herbs.
In May another egg monitoring ultrasound occurred and they discovered one big egg. Ella is still undergoing treatment with Jane to manage her hormones and achieve her fertility goals.
In conclusion, acupuncture and TCM can offer support through IVF and IUI. They can particularly help those with histories of unsuccessful attempts. One example of how we achieve this is by helping the production of quality eggs before fertilisation or embryo transfers happen. There are plenty of studies and stories out there and in our own clinics for couples who have conceived with the help of acupuncture and TCM. As a non-invasive and natural procedure it is worth considering whether you would benefit from treatments.