Acupuncture for IVF Northern Suburbs
Fertility and Infertility - The Basics
Roughly 15% of couples find it difficult to conceive naturally and many of those may be directed to fertility specialists and IVF clinics for assistance to fall pregnant. 30% of the fertility problems reside in the male partner, 30% in the female partner and about 30% in both partners. The remaining 10% are considered unknown, often referred to as idiopathic infertility (1). Some couples, such as same sex couples and others, can only fall pregnant with the assistance of IVF or other reproductive technologies (1)
A number of lifestyle factors can impede fertility, such as age, which can significantly affect a couples chance of falling pregnant, for men this can present much more subtly as men over 45 can take 5 times longer to conceive than a man in their 20's (2). Other lifetsyle impacts on fertility can include obesity, alcohol and smoking. There is also some suggestion that caffeine may have an impact (3)
Patients will often contact the clinic seeking acupuncture for their IVF pre and post transfer appointments. Other patients may seek Chinese Medicine and acupuncture as part of the preparation a couple of months prior to starting the IVF process, In any case at our clinic we work with all stages assisted reproductive technology, providing adjunctive acupuncture for IVF.
Our clinic is LGBTI friendly and we welcome all combinations of couples - opposite sex (cis and transgender), same sex and non-binary in their quest to become pregnant.
A common experience relayed to us by those who come to see us, is the sense of being so overwhelmed with the IVF process and all of the confusing acronyms. To help, we have put together a simple ART cheat sheet of definitions for you.
ART - Assisted Reproductive Technology. This the overarching term for all types of interventions available for you to become pregnant.
IUI - Intra Uterine Injection. IUI is the injection of sperm into the uterus. It may also be known by another term, Artificial Insemination.
ISCSI - Intra Cytoplasmic Sperm Injection. This is where a sperm is injected into an egg to create an embryo.
IVF - IVF is sometimes used interchangeable with ART, but technically it means the mixing of sperm and eggs in the lab petri dish or similar
OI - Ovulation induction is the use of medications such as Clomid or FSH injections to stimulate ovulation. This is considered an early intervention approach.
PGD - Along with Preimplantation Genetic Diagnosis, PGS (Preimplantation Genetic Screening) and NIPT (Non Invasive Prenatal Testing), these terms refer a series of genetic tests that the embryo undertakes.
The IVF Process
Often couples are referred to fertility and IVF clinics when unable to conceive naturally. After extensive consultations and testing, the specialists will then suggest a course of action such as ICSI, IUI or IVF. If you have chosen IVF, medications and hormones may be prescribed, and ultrasounds and egg retrieval may be scheduled. From here they will attempt to fertilise the retrieved eggs. IVF Transfers will be scheduled and the excess eggs or embryos are frozen.(2) It sounds like an intimidating and clinical process, but a good IVF clinic should clearly explain all the steps.
Acupuncture may be beneficial for improving clinical pregnancy, implantation and live birth rates of those undergoing IVF or ICS
- Zhang et al, 2018
Acupuncture and IVF: Research
Research into the effectiveness of acupuncture has been a growing field of research with a number of studies, meta analysis and reviews being released over the years. A 2015 review found acupuncture to be effective when used on the day of IVF transfer.
A 2016 systematic review by Qian et al found that “Based on an analysis of the studies, acupuncture improves the clinical pregnancy rate among women undergoing IVF'. This is promising, as earlier systematic reviews found that evidence for the effectiveness of acupuncture used to support IVF and other assisted reproductive technology was “unclear” (3).
A 2017 Systematic review found that the use of acupuncture may also improve the clinical pregnancy and ongoing pregnancy rate. It may also decrease the risk of ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome in women with PCOS undergoing IVF or ICSI (4).
In October 2018 a systematic review was released that compared routine care (IVF or ICSI) with routine care plus acupuncture. It found that the acupuncture may be beneficial in those undertaking IVF/ICSI for improving the clinical pregnancy, implantation, and live birth rates (5).
Using Acupuncture for Anxiety
For some, the process of trying to fall pregnant can be its own source of anxiety and stress. Research of acupuncture's effect on mental health has been undertaken and it was found that acupuncture may be an effective adjunctive method to help treat the symptom of anxiety.
Your Acupuncture Session
At our acupuncture clinic we understand that IVF can be a daunting and overwhelming experience. In our clinic we do our very best to put you at ease and provide some support through this process.
When seeing someone for acupuncture - whether pre or post transfer or alongside conventional treatment, we begin by asking some questions about you. Where are things at for you? How are you feeling? We will also ask some questions about you and your partner - How long have you been trying to fall pregnant and what steps you have taken leading up to the acupuncture consultation.
Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine look at fertility and attempting to fall pregnant through a different lens. We see your mind and body as a whole . We will then review other aspects of your health like your activities, sleep quality, aches and pains, your cycle (if relevant) and energy levels. After palpating your pulse and/or abdomen, we then decide upon a course of IVF acupuncture that we will discuss with you. At Coburg Chinese medicine we support an integrative and inclusive approach to treatment.
Q. Does Your Clinic See Clients for Pre IVF Transfer and Post IVF Transfer Acupuncture?
Yes we do pre IVF transfer and Post IVF transfer acupuncture. We encourage those wishing to seek acupuncture as an adjunct to the IVF treatment to contact the clinic for a quick chat.
Q. Does your Acupuncture Clinic See LGBTI Clients undergoing IVF?
Yes of course. At Coburg Chinese Medicine we are a LGBTI and gender diverse supportive practice and we will often see all combinations of aspirant families who undergo the IVF process. We welcome all clients to our safe and inclusive LGBTI space.
Our Melbourne Acupuncture Clinic
Based in Melbourne's Northern Suburbs, the Coburg Clinic services people from Coburg and surrounding Northern suburbs such as Brunswick, Pascoe Vale, Preston, Fawkner, Thornbury, Northcote. If you wish to discuss how acupuncture can assist you call us on 03 9041 656
Call us on ☎ (03) 9041 6569 to arrange an appointment or book online below
1. Betterhealth.vic.gov.au. (2017). Infertility in women. [online] Available at: https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/conditionsandtreatments/infertility-in-women [Accessed 14 Feb. 2018].
2. Your Fertility. (2018). Age and reproductive outcomes. [online] Available at: https://yourfertility.org.au/resource/age-and-reproductive-outcomes/ [Accessed 14 Feb. 2018].
3. Qian Y, Xia XR, Ochin H, Huang C, Gao C, Gao L, et al. Therapeutic effect of acupuncture on the outcomes of in vitro fertilization: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Arch Gynecol Obstet. 2016 Dec 19.
4. Jo J, Lee YJ. Effectiveness of acupuncture in women with polycystic ovarian syndrome undergoing in vitro fertilisation or intracytoplasmic sperm injection: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Acupunct Med. 2017 Jan 11.
5. Zhang X, Soo Lee M, Smith CA, Robinson N, Zhou Y, Ying W, et al. (2018) Effects of acupuncture during in vitro fertilization or intracytoplasmic sperm injection: An updated systematic review and meta-analysis. Euro Journ of Int Med. Oct 2018