Acupuncture for fertility has received a lot of media attention in the last few years. Many more people are using it both alongside IVF and to try to conceive naturally before going down the IVF route. It is a wonderful example of how Western and Eastern medicine can be used to compliment each other. There have been a number of high quality trials done in the West which supports its use. Mechanisms to explain its success include the regulation of fertility hormones (Ng 2008, Huang 2008, Lim 2010, Stener-Victorin 2010), increasing blood flow to the reproductive organs by reducing sympathetic activity allowing more blood to the ovaries (Stener-Victorin 2006, Lim 2010), increasing the blood flow to the endometrium the increase thickness (Stener-Victorin 1996, Huang 2008). It can also help to reduce the effects of problems such as PCOS and promote ovulation.
There are a number of studies which show that acupuncture used at embryo transfer increases live birth rate, probably again by increasing blood flow but also by reducing contractions in the uterus following the dilation of the cervix to insert the embryos.
Acupuncture can be used to help conceive naturally, to prepare for IVF, it can safely be used alongside the treatment, at embryo transfer and to help prevent miscarriage once a pregnancy is achieved.
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