Acupuncture dramatically improves pregnancy rates of women undergoing IVF. A German study, published worldwide in 2002 , divided a group of 160 women who were having IVF into two groups of 80 women. One group had acupuncture during IVF and the other didn’t have acupuncture during IVF. The one group who had acupuncture had a pregnancy success rate of 42,3% versus the group who didn’t have acupuncture had a pregnancy success rate of 26,5%. That is almost 50% more chance to get pregnant with acupuncture. Read more about the study.

Acupuncture has been used for thousands of years to enhance fertility. By improving the flow of energy and blood in the body, and by bringing the body into its optimum state of relaxation and equilibrium, it helps to create more ideal conditions for a pregnancy to take place.

Moreover, undergoing in vitro fertilization and other Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART) treatments can be stressful, and it is important to find ways to care for yourself and to maintain your physical and emotional wellbeing. Acupuncture can help you to reduce stress and to relax, and it can help to increase your chances of a successful outcome.

What is the role of acupuncture at key stages of ART/IVF?

Acupuncture treatment helps at every stage of the ART treatment process.

Preparation phase (3 to 6 months before the IVF treatment cycle begins)

It takes 360 days for ovarian follicles to develop from the dormant stage to the ovulatory stage.

During the preparation stage, regular acupuncture treatments may improve the follicular development by increasing the blood flow to the ovaries, especially in the 190 days prior to ovulation/egg retrieval.

This phase is also the perfect time to discuss with your acupuncturist about crucial lifestyle changes that can greatly influence on the success rate of the IVF treatment.

Finally, acupuncture treatment can help to reduce the severity of pre-existing conditions such as PCOS, endometriosis or male factor infertility.

Pretreatment phase (up to 3 weeks before the ART/IVF treatment cycle)

This is what we call the down regulation phase.

Acupuncture can help to reduce stress and relieve some of the medications’ side effects.

It may also recruit more follicles for the treatment cycle.

Ovarian stimulation phase

This is the phase when women inject a high dose of FSH in order to produce more than one egg.

Acupuncture may help to enhance the ovarian response to medication.

It also helps to develop the endometrial lining.

Ovulation trigger and final egg maturation

This is when the woman inject the “trigger” medication which helps the follicles to grow further and the eggs within them to mature.

Acupuncture helps in this phase so more mature eggs that can potentially be retrieved.

Embryo transfer

Treatments before and after the transfer may increase significantly the success rates of IVF.

Luteal phase

During this phase, acupuncture help with stress levels

Early pregnancy

Acupuncture helps to prevent miscarriage