TCM and Modern Fertility Treatments - IVF

Jul 28, 2023
TCM and Modern Fertility Treatments - IVF

Another method of assisted reproduction is IVF. IVF or in vitro fertilization is a more complex and invasive process as compared to IUI. The process starts the same as IUI where you will undergo a couple of consultations with a series of tests and analyses. Fertility medication will also be necessary for you and your partner/donor. Typically in a cycle, only one egg becomes mature to ovulation. An injectible hormone is given to those undergoing IVF that increases the amount of matured eggs for retrieval and better pregnancy chances. The main difference between IUI and IVF is that IUI cuts the difficulty and time of the sperm reaching the egg by placing the viable sperm cells into the uterus. For IVF, mature eggs and viable sperm are fertilized outside the uterus and are carefully observed in a laboratory before the embryo is transferred back into the uterus.

IVF is much more complicated than IUI but has a higher chance of successful pregnancy. IVF is also a lot more costly as compared to IUI. It is best to consult your doctor if you are thinking about undergoing IVF. Same with natural fertility and IUI, you are encouraged to do several lifestyle modifications in order to have a successful IVF pregnancy. One modifiable factor would be stress. Stress can be manageable with the help of acupuncture. Acupuncture is also considered an aid for a successful embryo transfer in IVF. 

Three months before egg retrieval:

Like IUI and natural fertility, it is best to start your acupuncture treatment three months prior to egg retrieval. This is because we are aiming to increase blood flow in the follicles found in your ovaries that release the egg cells during ovulation. You and your acupuncturist will discuss further how often you should have your acupuncture treatment for optimum results.

Right before and right after embryo transfer:

A study by Paulus et al in 2002 provided evidence that there is about a 42.5% chance of successful pregnancy from IVF for those who underwent acupuncture before and after embryo transfer as compared to those who didn't. The study also specified the points to be targeted for a better success rate of the transfer. This is why it is also recommended to schedule an appointment two days to a few hours before your scheduled embryo transfer.

A few days after embryo transfer:

It takes around two weeks after the embryo transfer to know if it was successful or not. During this time, you can benefit from acupuncture by being treated for stress and anxiety. Even after a successful embryo transfer and you're already in your pregnancy stage, acupuncture can still provide comfort to your nausea, morning sickness, and body aches.

The suggested frequency of appointments varies per patient. Schedule a consult with us to discuss your fertility journey so we can provide a tailor-fit plan for you in preparation for parenthood.