Enhancing IVF Success: Pre and Post IVF Transfer Acupuncture

What is Pre and Post IVF Transfer Acupuncture?

Pre and Post IVF Transfer Acupuncture involves strategically timed acupuncture sessions that take place around the critical phase of an In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) cycle known as the embryo transfer. This specialized form of acupuncture is specifically designed to prepare your body optimally right before the transfer and to support it immediately afterward, enhancing the body’s receptivity to the embryo being implanted.

In the context of IVF, “transfer” refers to the procedure where one or more embryos are placed into the uterus with the goal of establishing a pregnancy. This step is crucial and typically follows several other stages including the stimulation of the ovaries, egg retrieval, and the fertilization of the eggs in a laboratory.

The timing of these acupuncture sessions in relation to the embryo transfer is critical. The “Pre” session is conducted shortly before the transfer to help prepare the uterus by increasing blood flow, which can improve the thickness and quality of the uterine lining, thus creating a more favourable environment for the embryo to implant. This session also aims to reduce anxiety and stress, helping to relax the uterine muscles to prevent contractions that might interfere with the implantation process.

Following the transfer, the “Post” acupuncture session helps to continue the relaxation response and maintain optimal blood flow to the uterus, supporting the initial stages of the embryo’s implantation. This session also plays a role in stabilizing the endocrine system, ensuring that hormonal balances supportive of early pregnancy are maintained.

These sessions are a vital part of the IVF process for many patients, offering both physical and psychological benefits that may enhance the likelihood of a successful implantation and pregnancy.

Which body parts are targeted during this session?

  • Abdominal Area: Specific points around the abdomen are targeted to increase blood flow to the uterus, which can help improve the lining and create a more hospitable environment for the embryo.
  • Auricular (Ear) Points: Auricular acupuncture is utilized to regulate the nervous system. By stimulating specific points on the ear, we promote a state of relaxation and reduce stress, which is crucial during the IVF process.
  • Limbs: Points on the limbs, particularly the legs and arms, are chosen to energetically support the reproductive and digestive systems.

What to expect from a Pre and Post IVF session?

  • Number of Needles: Typically, between 10 to 20 needles may be used during each session. The exact number can vary depending on your individual treatment plan, as determined by the acupuncturist based on your specific needs and health status.
  • Insertion Points: Needles are inserted at strategic points that are known to correspond to reproductive health and stress reduction. 
  • Duration: Needles are usually kept in place for about 20 to 30 minutes per session. This duration allows sufficient time for the body to respond to the stimulation, promoting relaxation and increasing blood flow.
  • Sensation: The insertion of acupuncture needles is generally painless. Patients often describe feeling a mild sensation at the needle site, which can range from a slight tingle to a feeling of heaviness or warmth. This is considered a positive sign that the treatment is activating the body’s energy or Qi.

The Science Behind the Treatment:

Integrating acupuncture with In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) procedures has garnered considerable interest in the medical community due to promising results from various studies. 

Key Research Studies:

2002 Study in Fertility and Sterility:

A pivotal study published in Fertility and Sterility in 2002 explored the effects of acupuncture on IVF outcomes. This randomized controlled trial involved 160 patients who were undergoing IVF and were divided into two groups: one received acupuncture treatment shortly before and after embryo transfer, and the other did not receive any acupuncture. The results were significant, showing a clinical pregnancy rate of 42% in the acupuncture group compared to only 26% in the control group. The researchers suggested that acupuncture might improve pregnancy rates by modulating neuroendocrine factors, increasing blood flow to the uterus, and reducing stress, anxiety, and uterine contractions, which can all contribute to the likelihood of implantation.

2006 Follow-up Study:

Further research conducted in 2006 built upon these findings. This study examined the timing of acupuncture treatments and their correlation with pregnancy rates. The study demonstrated that acupuncture sessions conducted within the day of embryo transfer significantly increased pregnancy rates compared to control groups without acupuncture intervention. This study reinforced the hypothesis that acupuncture helps create a more favorable uterine environment for implantation, potentially by improving the endometrial receptivity, a key factor in embryo implantation.

Mechanisms of Action:

  • Enhanced Blood Flow: Acupuncture is believed to increase blood flow to the uterus, which enhances endometrial thickness and quality. A well-prepared endometrium is crucial for the embryo to implant successfully.
  • Reduction of Stress and Uterine Contractility: Acupuncture can help in modulating the body’s stress response. Elevated stress levels are associated with reduced success rates in IVF. By promoting relaxation and reducing cortisol levels, acupuncture may decrease uterine contractility, aiding in maintaining the embryo in the uterus for implantation.
  • Neuroendocrine Regulation: Acupuncture may influence fertility by regulating the neuroendocrine system, adjusting hormones that are critical for fertility, including gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH), which plays a key role in the regulation of reproduction.

How to Schedule Pre & Post IVF Transfer Acupuncture?

To ensure the highest level of comfort and effectiveness of our Pre and Post IVF Transfer acupuncture treatments, we recommend that clients begin Fertility Acupuncture Treatments 1 to 3 months prior to their anticipated embryo transfer date. This early engagement allows clients to experience our clinic environment, get to know their Acupuncturist, and understand the treatment process, all of which contribute greatly to a more relaxed and positive experience on the critical day of embryo transfer. For these reasons, our Pre and Post IVF Transfer treatments are exclusively available to existing clients who have been seeing us for their fertility acupuncture

We understand that IVF transfer schedules can be unpredictable, as such we offer flexible scheduling for IVF patients. 

  1. Once you receive your embryo transfer date and time, please contact us immediately at info@acumamas.com and provide us with your Embryo Transfer Date and Estimated transfer time
  2. If we can accommodate your date and time, our staff will schedule your Pre and Post IVF acupuncture sessions to occur approximately 90 minutes before and after your transfer time. You will receive email notifications for two (2) – 30 min appointments.
  3. If we are not able to accommodate your date and time, you will receive an email response within 24 hours, so that you can make alternate arrangements.

Appointment Guidelines:

  1. Arrive 10-15 minutes prior to your scheduled treatment time. This allows you to settle in and relax before the session.
  2. Be mindful of our cancellation policy: cancellations are not accepted within 36 hours of the appointment, and cancellation fees will apply.

Important notice:

At Acumamas, we strive to ensure that every patient receives timely and effective treatment, especially during the critical windows surrounding IVF procedures. Due to the unpredictable nature of embryo transfer scheduling, there may be occasions when both of our dedicated treatment rooms are fully booked.

In such cases, to accommodate your Pre and Post IVF acupuncture without delay, we will prepare a semi-private space within our clinic. This area is sectioned off in our waiting room using screens to ensure privacy and tranquility. Although this is not our standard private room setting, we try our best to maintain the highest standards of comfort and discretion.