IVF and Acupuncture: What is the point?

Acupuncture and IVF

At Aria Fertility Clinic, we recognise the importance of supporting your emotional, mental, and physical wellbeing during your fertility journey. Acupuncture is increasingly popular as a complementary therapy for those undergoing fertility treatment or managing hormonal conditions.

Acupuncture is an ancient tenet of traditional Chinese medicine whereby very fine needles are placed at strategic points on the head and body to release the flow of energy or chi. It is believed to be beneficial in the treatment of a wide range of health conditions, including fertility issues, by correcting energy imbalances in the body.

How does acupuncture aid in fertility treatment

Acupuncture can be used by both men and women during the fertility process. For men, it may prove beneficial when going through ICSI treatment. For women, it’s thought to have several benefits:

  • Increasing blood flow: acupuncture can boost blood circulation to the ovaries and uterus
  • Regulating hormones: acupuncture can improve menstrual regularity, restore ovulation patterns, and regulate the release of key hormones including follicle stimulating hormones. This can be highly beneficial for women suffering from PCOS
  • Reducing stress: acupuncture releases the body’s endorphins which helps to relax patients undergoing fertility treatment. Patients often report they feel more ‘in control’ and proactive

Emma Cannon fertility and women’s health expertEmma Cannon, a fertility and women’s health expert, is a registered acupuncturist and works with men and women who wish to optimise natural conception or support IVF.

“Most of the research into acupuncture and IVF has been focused on the pre- and post-embryo transfer stage,” Emma explains. “Clearly that’s because when you design a study everyone must be at the same stage to produce comparable data. The studies showed promising results, but they never went beyond it. So, I’m more interested in what acupuncture can do outside of embryo transfer.

“We use it for women whose endometrium has previously not reached the correct thickness and I might combine acupuncture with a nutritional programme. That can be very effective.”

Emma pointed to another area where they have had good results. “It can be common during an IVF cycle that the follicles do not evenly develop. By improving the blood flow to ovarian arteries, it can improve follicle development and help the other ovary catch up.”

In recent years, several studies have attempted to evaluate the benefit of acupuncture in alleviating infertility or as an adjunct to IVF or ICSI and while we have no conclusive evidence yet, a growing body of scientific research supports its efficacy as a complementary therapy.

What is indisputable, though, is that acupuncture has no adverse effects and anecdotally our patients report that it has been highly beneficial in relieving stress during their fertility journey.

To get in touch with Emma, please visit her website. For more information on the practitioners we work with, please visit our Support Hub.