When is the best time to start acupuncture therapy?
Ideally, beginning 2-3 months prior to an IVF or IUI cycle gives the best opportunity to address underlying health conditions that may be interfering with fertility and conception. Preparing the body for pregnancy gives the best chance of conception.
IUI (Intrauterine Insemination)
IUI is a common first step for when who are having difficulty conceiving. Acupuncture works to support the body and enhance conception, regardless of the IUI being medicated or not. In either case, weekly treatments throughout the month of the cycle are recommended.
Preparing for IVF
The treatment protocols put in place by your reproductive endocrinologist or fertility specialist may vary. Commonly, once weekly treatments are recommended while preparing for an IVF cycle. Those patient who take the time to prepare for a cycle respond better to the medications, typically have fewer side effects from the medications, and improve their chances of conception with the cycle. One to three months of consistent treatments (depending on the underlying health conditions and cause of infertility) are recommended. During this preparation phase, treatments will focus on supporting the hormones that directly impact fertility, reduce stress levels, strengthen the immune system, and improve blood flow to the ovaries.
For some women, more frequent treatments may be recommended. This is typically the case for those women with high FSH, low AMH, are over the age of 40, or those who had a poor response to past IVF cycles.
IVF: Stimulation Phase
One to two treatments per week during the stimulation phase is generally recommended. During this time, acupuncture works to improve response to IVF medications, support growth of the uterine lining, increase blood flow to the uterus and ovaries, reduce the chance of developing Ovarian Hyperstimulation Syndrome, support follicle development, and reduce stress and anxiety.
It is also beneficial to receive acupuncture treatment in the period of time between your retrieval and transfer. During this time, acupuncture works to improve blood flow to the uterus, reduce stress and anxiety, prevent cramping of the uterus, and support endometrial growth.
Acupuncture has been found to beneficial when performed immediately before and after embryo transfers. Ideally, the acupuncture treatment would be performed on site at your fertility center. If on site acupuncture is not possible, try to relax as much as possible the day of transfer. Hydrate, eat a nutrient dense meal, and rest. Keeping your stress levels low is important.
If you wish to receive acupuncture treatment on site, please obtain consent from your fertility specialist.
If you do not have acupuncture treatment on the day of your transfer, treatments can resume anytime following the transfer. Between the transfer and pregnancy test, acupuncture is a great way to reduce stress, and support the uterus and developing embryo.
Dr. Leighton makes every attempt to make acupuncture therapy an affordable healthcare option. To accommodate the financial burden that fertility treatments commonly place on those trying to conceive, Dr. Leighton has developed various acupuncture packages to keep the cost of fertility related acupuncture treatments manageable. Please call the office for package pricing.