Chinese medicine and IVF

IVF and Chinese medicine
Chinese medicine has been improving fertility naturally for thousands of years, and today it is safely used to support Western medical treatment. Acupuncture and herbal medicine are encouraged in the months leading up to an IVF (in-vitro fertilisation) and ICSI (Intra-cytoplasmic sperm injection) cycle to increase the chances of a successful pregnancy.

Acupuncture has been seen to have proven effects when combined with IVF, as it can help increase the number of follicles, thicken the uterine lining and increase the number of embryos. Acupuncture promotes the circulation of blood in the pelvic cavity, enhancing uterine blood flow and the quality of the uterine lining. It also helps regulate hormone levels to improve the function of the ovaries, producing better quality eggs and greater number of follicles.

There are plenty of studies now widely available showing the increased success rate of combining acupuncture and IVF. Recent research shows that acupuncture on its own can increase the pregnancy rates of people using IVF by 65 per cent (British Medical Journal, 6 March 2008). The Cochrane Collaboration is an independent, international organisation providing the most up-to-date research about the efficacy of healthcare worldwide. A meta- analysis is the process of looking at all the best research (randomised, controlled trials) in a particular area (e.g. acupuncture and IVF) to determine its efficacy. In the case of acupuncture, the British Medical Journal stated “that adding acupuncture to IVF improved pregnancy rates more than any other recent improvement or advance in IVF technology”.
Another separate Cochrane meta-analysis review suggests that management of female infertility with Chinese Herbal Medicine can improve pregnancy rates 2-fold within a 4 month period compared with Western Medical fertility drug therapy or IVF.

Further research demonstrates that acupuncture can:

Increase uterine and ovarian blood flow (Stener-Victorin E, et al,1996) Optimise follicular development and endometrial lining (Yu W 2007) Improve micro circulation to uterus and ovaries (Stener-Victorin E et al, 2003) Reduce uterine artery impedance (Stener-Victorin E, et al, 1996 & Ming H et al, 2009)
Regulate hormones, including improved response to hormonal stimulation (Magarelli, PC, et al, 2009 & Quintero R et al, Fertil Steril, 2004 & Magarelli P, et al 2004)
Acupuncture also alleviates side effects from medication and/or egg pick-up including trauma, bleeding, bloating, pain, constipation and anxiety. It reduces uterine cramping / pain and reduces stress.