How Does Chinese Medicine Improve IVF Success Rates
In-vitro fertilisation, more commonly known as IVF, is a procedure which helps many couples with fertility issues to conceive every year.
According to statistics from the NHS, as many as 1 in 7 couples will have difficulty conceiving for various reasons. Conditions such as PCOS, endometriosis, fibroids, and fallopian blockage are all common causes of infertility in women, and poor semen quality is a major cause in men. Age, weight, stress, and other lifestyle factors can also contribute to both male and female fertility issues.
Chinese medicine is an ancient healing system which has been used to treat a wide range of health conditions for thousands of years. More recently, Chinese medicine has become popular with couples undergoing IVF, and research has shown that it can increase IVF success rates to 61% compared with just 48% for usual care alone.
So how does Chinese medicine help improve IVF success rates? And when should you use it to increase your chances of a healthy pregnancy? Read on to find out more.
When to Use Chinese Medicine with IVF
To get the very best results from Chinese medicine for IVF, it is recommended that you start your treatment early. This is because it takes 3–4 months for new follicles to form in women and up to 3 months for new sperm to develop in men.
Therefore, for the best results, you should start using Chinese medicine and acupuncture several months before your IVF cycle begins. This will ensure that your eggs or sperm are in the best possible shape, maximising your chances of a successful IVF cycle and healthy pregnancy.
How does Chinese Medicine Help Improve IVF Success Rates?
Chinese medicine views your body as a whole. Symptoms are not seen as isolated problems, but rather signs of a deeper, underlying imbalance. Infertility is no different, and in Chinese medicine, fertility issues are usually seen as being due to imbalances in the Liver, Spleen, and Kidney systems.
Chinese medicine and acupuncture may help improve IVF success rates in a number of different ways, including:
- Acupuncture relaxes your body and decreases your stress levels
- It improves the function of the ovaries to produce better quality eggs
- It also regulates the hormones to produce a larger number of follicles
- It balances hormones and improves response to ovarian stimulation
- Chinese Medicine supports embryo implantation, increases the blood flow to the uterus, and increases the thickness of the uterine lining
- It strengthens your immune system and decreases the chances of a miscarriage
Additionally, acupuncture is great for relieving stress and anxiety, problems which can both contribute to fertility issues by upsetting your body’s delicate hormonal balance.
Acupunture and IVF
Acupunture can help increase the uterine lining and can enhance possibilities of implantation during an IVF procedure. It helps increase the blood flow to the uetrus.
The timing of these treatments is very important. They should start ta the begining of the fertility cycle and continue until embroy transfer date or until endometrial thickness is 10-12mm. Acupunture is also recommended before and after embroy transfer. Reseach has shown that IVF success rate are higher for women who have acupunture while undergoing IVF. A recent study found out that women receiving acupunture were able to conceive within an average of 5.5 weeks compared to 10.67 weeks for the controlled group who did not receive the treatment (2)
Acupunture can also reduce some of the side effects of the hormone medications that women have to take for an IVF procedure. Some women have auto immune issues or high natural killer cells that affect implantation during an IVF cycle. Acupunture can help these patients too.
After the embroy tarnsfer, acupuncture should continue once per week for the first trimester to help prevent miscarriage. The Reproductive and Biomedicine Journal recently published that TCM and acupunture helped to increase the number of live birth by IVF patients, an increase of up to 95% confidence.
Overall, the study found that IVF with TCM was associated with greater odds of live birth in donor and non-donor cycles. (3)
Recommended Natural Food Supplements to Improve IVF Success Rates
In addition to acupuncture, you can use Chinese herbs and natural food supplements to increase your chances of conceiving. Some of our favourite supplements to help improve IVF success rates include: