Here at the Yinova Center, since 1999, we have used traditional Chinese medicine to support patients during fertility treatments. As one of New York’s largest and most well-known acupuncture practices we currently treat thousands of people a year, using acupuncture to support them as they go through IVF. We also take care of couples in the run-up to an IVF cycle to make sure that they are in an optimal position to succeed.
My book Making Babies: A Proven 3-Month Program for Maximum Fertility, which I wrote with a Reproductive Endocrinologist, contains an easy to follow a three-month program based on your fertility type that is an excellent way to prepare for an IVF cycle. All our Yinova acupuncturists are trained to support people as they follow the Making Babies program and all of our practitioners have many years of experience when it comes to combining acupuncture with IVF.
When choosing an acupuncturist to treat you before and during IVF it’s a good idea to seek out a practice with a specialty in fertility as well as one that has sufficient acupuncturists that there will always be someone on duty when you need to time a treatment with your cycle.
Here are the questions our patients most frequently ask about using Chinese medicine during an IVF cycle.
Does having Acupuncture Increase the likelihood of success with IVF?
Clinical research seems to suggest it does. One German study took 160 women* undergoing IVF and split them into two groups. One group combined acupuncture with IVF and one group did not. Interestingly the group that did the acupuncture had a 50% better outcome than the group that did IVF alone. You can read a BBC article about this study here. In 2008 research published in the British Medical Journal showed that women* doing IVF who underwent acupuncture were 65% more likely to have a successful embryo transfer compared with those who underwent a “sham” version of the treatment, or no extra treatment at all. You can read about this study here.
How does Acupuncture Help an IVF cycle be More Successful?
Here at the Yinova Center, we use acupuncture every day to treat those of you who are undergoing IVF and we are proud of our success rates. Our positive experiences are echoed by recent research which shows that acupuncture can promote the circulation of blood in the pelvic cavity and improve ovarian function. Acupuncture may also be beneficial in promoting follicle production, enhancing uterine blood flow, and thus improving uterine lining thickness and decreasing uterine contractions after embryo transfer.
How does IVF support at the Yinova Center work?
Whilst acupuncture works for some people straight away, it doesn’t necessarily work overnight and the effects tend to be cumulative so, ideally, we would like to see our patients once a week in the three months leading up to IVF. If this isn’t possible, we recommend coming in to see us when you start your IVF cycle. We see our patients twice a week when they are taking the follicle-stimulating drugs and we like to schedule treatment before egg retrieval as well as another before embryo transfer. Finally, we ask our patients to come in for treatment 24 – 48 hours after embryo transfer so that we can do an acupuncture treatment to prevent the uterine spasm.
Should I take Chinese herbs during IVF?
The quick answer is no. Very occasionally, here at the Yinova Center, we do prescribe herbs for a patient going through IVF if they have a history of poor response to the stimulating drugs and if their doctor agrees. However, for most people, the herbs can make your response to stimulating drugs unpredictable and we have found that most reproductive endocrinologists would prefer you not to combine them with IVF treatment.
How can I find out more?
Feel free to call us 212 533 2255 and ask to speak to an acupuncturist. All of us have years of experience in reproductive medicine and we all treat women undergoing IVF on a daily basis. We are always happy to talk to you about your concerns.