Around 10-15% of couples have difficulty conceiving & seek specialist fertility treatment. One of the commonly used options is in vitro fertilization or IVF which involves the retrieval of a woman’s egg, fertilization of that egg in the laboratory & then the transfer of the fertilized egg into the woman’s uterus through the cervix. This process is a 2-week procedure starting when the woman begins taking hormones via injection to stimulate egg production, then egg retrieval and the last step is the embryo implantation. The process is expensive, lengthy, stressful & costs around $12,400 whether it is successful or not. Success rates for IVF are around 29%. Acupuncture assisted IVF increase the chance for success to around 48%, an increase in odds of clinical pregnancy by 65% in studies.
Acupuncture has been used in China for centuries to regulate the female reproductive system. Besides assisting with IVF, it is used:
- To promote ovulation
- Manage painful periods
- Assist with menopause symptoms
- Regulate irregular menstrual cycles
Acupuncture may exert its positive effects on fertility by mediating the release of neurotransmitters which stimulate secretion of gonadotropin (sex hormone produced in the pituitary) releasing hormone. This influences the menstrual cycle & inhibits the biological stress response. Studies have shown that acupuncture results in higher pregnancy rates for embryo transfers. In one study, the acupuncture group successful pregnancy rate was 51% compared to the control group which was 36%. This same successful group also had only an 8% miscarriage rate compared to a 20% miscarriage rate in the control group. Acupuncture was also found to reduce the risk of tubal pregnancy & increase the rate for live birth with the live birth rate for each IVF cycle being 23% higher than the cycles for the control group. So if you are having difficulty conceiving & need assistance, try acupuncture to make the process more successful for you!.