When you’re trying to conceive, it can often be best to look at your body as whole unit, not a series of discrete systems. Taking a holistic approach to things can reveal options that you wouldn’t have otherwise considered if you’ve limited your thinking.
Many couples struggling to conceive turn to in vitro fertilisation (IVF) as a solution, but this method can be enhanced and made more effective with some outside assistance. Using acupuncture in conjunction with IVF can yield some positive results for you and your partner and can potentially increase the chance of birthing a healthy, viable baby.
The benefits for women
Acupuncture provides the greatest benefit for women, as it is her body that does the majority of the work in the growth, development and nurturing of the child through its earliest months. If introduced as early as three months prior to the treatment, acupuncture has been shown increase the chance of successful in vitro fertilisation by between 40 to 60 per cent.
The science is there for anybody to see. In 2002 German researches found acupuncture increased significantly increased the conception chances of a woman receiving IVF. More than forty per cent of the women who received acupuncture fell pregnant compared to just 26 per cent of the control group. They theorised that as acupuncture increases blood flow to the uterus, the muscle tissue was more relaxed resulting in a greater chance of the egg implanting.
Issues that can potentially affect fertility and the woman’s receptiveness to the egg such as stress and a thinness of the uterine lining (the endometrium) can also be addressed through acupuncture. Many women’s menstrual cycles have been corrected through acupuncture’s ability to balance fertility hormones.
A reduction in stress can also be achieved through the treatment. Keeping anxiety levels to a minimum is crucial in any attempt to conceive, but it is doubly important for prospective parents engaging the services of an IVF clinic. Keeping your stress to a minimum through this momentous part of your life – though it can be hard to do! – is very important. Acupuncture can help your body relax before, during and after the pregnancy, increasing your baby’s health, your chances of conception and your emotional health.
The benefits for men
Even prospective fathers can benefit from acupuncture before embarking on IVF treatment with their partner. A 2005 study in the journal Fertility and Sterility found that acupuncture could increase sperm quality and quantity. The research indicated that men who had undertaken twice-weekly treatments for five weeks had a reduction in the number of structural defects in individual sperm and an increase in the total number of sperm expelled per ejaculation.
Prospective parent considering in vitro fertilisation should look at acupuncture as a complementary, non-invasive procedure. With benefits for stress in addition to the potential for increased biological receptiveness in the woman, it’s a valuable procedure for anyone embarking on the journey of parenthood.
Speak to the fertility acupuncture experts at My Acupuncture for more information.