Many of you have probably heard that acupuncture helps give you a leg up when you are in the middle of an IVF retrieval or Frozen Embryo Transfer Cycle. It can remain a mystery to patients as to how to integrate acupuncture into this process. Let’s take a moment to clear up any confusion!
Prior to IVF
In a perfect world, you would start acupuncture about 3 months prior to an IVF cycle. The reason for this is that we can work to optimize your cycles and balance your hormones. This process typically takes 3 menstrual cycles with weekly in-office acupuncture.
During your first appointment, your acupuncturist will go over your health history with you to determine your Traditional Chinese Medicine Diagnosis. They will ask loads of questions about your menstrual cycle, ovulation, libido, digestion, etc. After your appointment, your practitioner will provide you with a written protocol with dietary recommendations based on your constitution and any supplements that might be helpful.
IVF Retrieval Cycle
Once a patient has started an IVF retrieval cycle, we recommend coming in for acupuncture twice a week while taking stim medications. This might include gonal/menopur. Our goal is to make sure that the resources are available from a Traditional Chinese Medicine stand point to produce multiple healthy and mature follicles. In addition, we work to reduce any side effects that patients may experience while on these medication including headaches, increased anxiety, and digestive upset.
For those preparing for a frozen embryo transfer, we recommend weekly acupucture treatment. Our goals are focused on removing any stagnation in the body and helping to bring blood to the uterus with the goal of thickening the endometrial lining. Ideally patients would have an acupuncture treatment 24-48 hours prior to transfer and 1 treatment the week after the transfer.
From an acupuncture stand point, we open a special vessel in the body known as the Bao Mai. This vessel connects the heart and the uterus. By opening this vessel prior to transfer, we help open the body to conception.
After transfer, we recommend acupuncture treatment weekly. Our goal is focused on creating a relaxation response to help with all of the anxiety many of us experience during the two week wait. In addition, we use points to lift and hold to help support the potential for pregnancy.