Just as research into medically assisted reproduction technologies (ART), such as IVF, is an ever-growing field, so is research into how acupuncture may be used to assist in supporting these technologies.
Over the last twenty years, leading journals have published studies showing research evidence of how Chinese medicine may be used as an adjunct therapy to assist with the effectiveness of different stages of the IVF process (see the references here). There is also broad agreement amongst Chinese medicine practitioners and other health practitioners about the value of acupuncture in this regard.
Considering how much people invest physically, emotionally and financially into ART in Australia alone, this is promising and exciting.
What is the frequency of treatment?
At Moxa, Jodi uses treatments based on the appropriate researched protocols to complement your stage of the IVF process. Generally, this involves a treatment each week and additional treatments on the day of the embryo transfer, both directly before and after the procedure.
Ideally, Jodi would have time to work with individuals or couples in the months preceeding the commencement of IVF treatment (see preconception program). This is not always the case. She has also treated many people for the first time at the start of their IVF cycle or even on the day of embryo transfer or sperm donation. Wherever you're up to in the IVF process, Jodi is happy to receive your phone or email enquiry regarding adjunctive acupuncture treatment.
Whilst more research is needed in order to provide definitive evidence, current studies show that at different times in the ART cycle, acupuncture may be able to assist by helping to:
- increase blood and hence nutrient flow to the ovaries and uterus
- regulate hormone levels
- manage discomfort or other side effects of fertility procedures such as egg pickup
- influence the structure of the uterine lining and promote implantation and clinical pregnancy rates
- support people through what is often an incredibly anxious and stressful time
To read more about this please see the research section.
Feeling stressed? You're not alone...
Many people find the IUI or IVF process quite stressful. Singles, same sex and heterosexual couples all have an equally vested interest in the outcome of their cycles. Acupuncture can offer supportive treatments throughout this time to better help manage stress. Additionally, knowing how specifically stressful the day of sperm donation may be for some men, a treatment close to or on the day may also be helpful to relax you for the process ahead.
Despite common misconceptions, infertility is not only a female problem. In 40% of couples there is a contributing female factor, 40% a male factor and a third will have a combination of female and male factors.
For men embarking on an IUI or IVF cycle, their semen analysis involving information such as count, motility, morphology, volume and DNA fragmentation will be of particular importance. It’s the gateway into understanding their fertility wellness. It is however, very important to remember that underpinning this is your overall state of wellness. A healthier man will generally make healthier sperm and so, the same concepts covered in the natural fertility and preconception program may come into play here too.
As we've discussed along the way, when you see an acupuncturist and Chinese herbalist, they are treating you according to a Chinese medicine framework. Jodi will consider your semen analysis and translate the findings into how they relate to the state of your Qi, Blood, Yin or Yang. An example would be, that according to Chinese medicine, spermatogenesis is a Yin activity, so things like count, morphology (shape) and semen volume relate to Yin. Similarly, motility, being action or movement, relates to Yang.
Semen analysis aside, Jodi will otherwise use information gathered from your comprehensive health evaluation to determine your broader Chinese medical diagnosis. With this established, she can than aim to address the signs and symptoms associated with your unique holistic diagnosis.
Where exactlty are you going to put those needles?
To allay a common misconception gents, not where you think. Acupuncture used on a man in an adjunctive way around an IUI or IVF cycle is aiming to support general well-being, help manage stress and increase blood and nutrient supply to the genitals. The location of acupuncture points used for these purposes are predominantly in the arms, lower back, abdomen and legs. No needles are placed into your genitals, which will remain safely within your underwear and covered with a towel.
For further information on other programs, please select from below:
- Pregnancy Care and Labour Preparation
- Post-Natal Care
- Fertility and Reproductive Health
- Female and Male Reproductive Health
- Natural Fertility and Preconception Support
Still some questions? You are most welcome to enquire with us further for more personalised information as to how we may be able to assist your specific situation.