Acupuncture for Fertility
Our acupuncturist Samantha Harris, is the Director of Acupuncture For Life. Samantha can work with our patients to optimise their chances of achieving their fertility dreams. With a Naturopathic background Samantha’s passion is to provide everything a person needs to support their challenges in their pursuit of health, wellness, longevity and fertility.
Samantha possesses post graduate degrees in Japanese Acupuncture, which is a gentler form of acupuncture, yet it is just as effective, if not more effective, than other forms of acupuncture, and uses the highest grade sterile, single use equipment.
She also offers specific Herbal Medicine, Nutritional Supplementation, Remedial Massage and Hypnotherapy. Receipts are eligible for private health fund rebates.
Samantha has a special interest in assisting people to conceive, using protocols and techniques that have been scientifically proven to work, offering specialist treatment plans for pre-conception and working alongside Dr Davidson to give you the best chance of conception possible.
Research shows that performing an acupuncture treatment before and after embryo transfer gives the best results, and treatments leading up to the cycle also assist greatly. The treatment is virtually painless and people generally feel very relaxed afterwards.
What is acupuncture?
Acupuncture is a branch of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) that dates back thousands of years. Fine needles are inserted into specific points on the body to facilitate a therapeutic effect. Acupuncture is underpinned by the notion of an energy flow called ‘Qi’ which circulates continuously throughout the body via channels or meridians. According to Chinese Medicine disease arises due to either an imbalance of the channels or from internal factors, which cause a disruption to the Qi flow. Acupuncture seeks to re-establish the flow by balancing the channels and bodily systems and promoting health and well-being (homeostasis). It has been used for centuries to regulate the female reproductive system. There is mounting evidence that suggests acupuncture provides a positive benefit for a variety of disorders, and may increase the efficacy of some conventional treatments, including IVF.
How can acupuncture help in my fertility journey?
The evidence suggests acupuncture prepares the uterine lining, improves hormone levels, reduces the stress and anxiety associated with IVF, and may increase pregnancy rates. There are over ten studies that support the use of acupuncture with IVF to ’improve rates of pregnancy and live birth among women undergoing in-vitro fertilisation’.
In the scientific literature, two separate 2008 meta-analyses of reliable studies to date suggest combining acupuncture with IVF is beneficial. In all studies the IVF patients received acupuncture before and after embryo transfer for 25-30 minutes each session. All studies used the same points.
One of the meta-analysis published in the British Medical Journal combined the results of seven previous studies and involved a total of 1366 women. It found that acupuncture increased the odds of getting pregnant by 65%.
The benefits of receiving acupuncture include better implantation rates as well as increased rates of clinical pregnancy and live births. There are three potential reasons for these improved outcomes. Firstly, acupuncture influences the menstrual cycle, ovulation and fertility by indirectly stimulating the secretion of gonadotrophin-releasing hormone. Secondly, acupuncture may increase the blood flow to the uterus, which in turn increases the thickness of the endometrial lining, aiding implantation. Thirdly, acupuncture may inhibit the stress response by regulating blood levels of adrenal hormones in those undergoing IVF. This latter positive effect of acupuncture was also noted in another IVF/acupuncture study that concluded the women in the study were more relaxed and optimistic.
Anecdotal evidence suggests further encouraging effects of acupuncture on IVF is the reduction of the side effects of the fertility drugs. Acupuncturists treating IVF patients report a decrease in bloating and abdominal pain, better sleep and less emotional fragility.
Several studies suggest that acupuncture can benefit men who have low sperm readings. A 2005 study published in Fertility and Sterility concluded that acupuncture provides a general improvement in sperm quality.
There are usually no side effects associated with acupuncture and there is little discomfort from the procedure itself. In conclusion, both meta-analyses indicated combining IVF with acupuncture, before and after embryo transfer, may increase the chance of achieving a pregnancy.
If you are interested in having acupuncture performed as part of your IVF treatment then contact us for an appointment with Samantha Harris or visit her website for more information.