Fertility Acupuncture: Support for Natural Cycles & IVF

Many individuals have tried acupuncture for various health conditions. Did you know acupuncture has also demonstrated in research to be an effective tool for fertility support?

Wondering how this may be?

Research suggests that there are 3 potential mechanisms for acupuncture’s effects on fertility.

  1. Acupuncture may release neurotransmitters which may stimulate the release of GnRH (gonadotropin releasing hormone) that has an influence on the menstrual cycle and ovulation.
  2. Acupuncture may increase blood flow to the uterus and nourish reproductive organs.
  3.  Acupuncture may stimulate the production of endogenous opioids (which decrease pain in the body) and may therefore inhibit the stress response.

 According to Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), it is believed that acupuncture ‘works’ by promoting the proper flow of Qi and Blood in the body. This energy is then directed to the reproductive organs when the focus is on fertility support.

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In practice,  Dr. Erin Enns and I often use acupuncture for assisting with concerns that are often linked with fertility challenges such as anovulation, menstrual irregularities, lack of period, and PCOS. Once regular cycles are achieved, we determine peak ovulation days. At this stage, we then establish an individualized acupuncture protocol. This may include an acupuncture treatment around the time of ovulation and then approximately 2 weeks after this session, depending on cycle length.

The benefits of acupuncture are often experienced  immediately. Patients usually report a feeling of calmness and a deep sense of relaxation. When the body is calm, this impact can also aid in hormonal regulation and a decrease in cortisol levels, the stress hormone. A reduction in frustration and anxiety which is often encountered in the fertility process, is also a valuable side benefit.

Whether you are trying to conceive for the first time, or planning for IVF, consider adding acupuncture to your routine. Dr. Erin and I have privileges around various Fertility Centers around the GTA including but not limited to ReproMed, Hannam, and Create. We can perform onsite acupuncture for Pre- and Post Embryo transfers.

The fertility journey can be challenging. Many of our patients who have had unsuccessful attempts often tell us they wish they had tried acupuncture sooner. It may not be the answer for everyone, but it is one of the best tools we use for fertility support.

 

How to Choose A Fertility Clinic

Couple Discussing Ivf Treatment With Doctor

The fertility journey can be short for some or seem like a marathon for others. When you are searching for a fertility clinic, here are some things to consider.

1) Is the clinic either close to home or close to work? When there are frequent early morning blood draws and consultations this makes the process run more smoothly.

2) Referral, referral, referral. If you have had friends go to a fertility clinic, ask them about their experiences and which doctor they used.

3) Does the doctor listen? On your initial consultation, if the doctor spends more time telling you about his/her research or publication history rather than your medical history, I would look elsewhere! You need a doctor who is willing to listen to your story.

4) IVF anyone? If during the initial consultation you are told IVF is the ONLY option, seek a second opinion!

5) Ask questions about supportive therapies. Many clinics offer acupuncture, psychotherapy, and advice on nutritional supplementation like CoQ10 and prenatal vitamins. A fertility clinic that offers these services (or one that is close by), can assist with improving pregnancy outcome.

And lastly, trust your intuition and choose a clinic that serves your unique needs.