I feel extremely privileged to have shared the journey of each of my fertility patients over the last 11 years. Be it a process you’re embarking on with a partner, solo or with a donor I empathise and respect how difficult this decision or process can be.
Over those 11 years as an acupuncturist, and through my own personal experience, I have gained an extensive knowledge of IVF protocols, medications and expectations.
I would be honoured to support your IVF journey with compassion, kindness and knowledge to help you feel calm and empowered on your road to conception.
IVF can often feel mechanical, overwhelming and isolating but my IVF support package offers a space for you to disconnect in from the mechanics of your IVF journey and lean into a sense of well-being.
After all, fertility is a journey of creativity, flow and stepping into your greatest power as Woman.
I do my best to prepare women for the realities of IVF. The success rate is statistically fairly low (around 20-30%) but a positive outlook can really help. After all, if some can fall into that percentage, then why not you! Recent research shows acupuncture alongside IVF to be beneficial. Other studies can be looked on the BAcC website
What Does Acupuncture for IVF Support Include?
Below, I have tried to outline the ideal level of treatment required to support the IVF process based on my experience. This schedule is not set in stone, that’s not how acupuncture works; although a level of commitment is required, there is always room for flexibility to fit your needs and schedule.
During your first session, I will go through your medical and fertility history in detail before designing you a unique acupuncture treatment plan.
Looking beyond the needles, I consider making any nutritional and lifestyle recommendations that may increase your chances of IVF success.
Research into the benefits of acupuncture to support IVF treatment is growing. I have developed a specific treatment package to compliment your IVF treatment, based on this research and clinical experience. I offer dietary supplements from D’Ao Labs and have developed my own nutritional plan, including over 40 pages or recipes and a 4 week meal planner.
During this pre-conception phase we aim to achieve:
- a regular cycle, between 28 to 30 day cycle. When in good health there will be no premenstrual symptoms.
- improve cervical mucus. This is extremely important as it aids the sperm to swim into the fallopian tubes. Without it sperm will die before arriving at their destination.
- regulate Ovulation. Acupuncture can help regulate ovulation if you are early or late in your cycle.
- a healthy menstrual bleed. In traditional Chinese medicine the menstrual bleeding reflects the quality of the uterine lining. In your acupuncture treatment, It should be bright red, not contain clots or be mucusy, not be too light or flood.
Egg quality is determined 90 days prior to ‘ovulation’ as too is sperm quality. It is a good idea therefore to lead a healthy lifestyle to ensure they are in the best health possible.
I do not advocate dramatic changes or extreme diets just clean healthy living. I give practical advice on how to ‘clean up your diet’ and reduce exposure to household chemicals etc that can disrupt hormonal balance.
In this phase I suggest treatment every week to 10 days.
The Stimulation Phase
This can be a stressful time as you’re expected to administor medication which can disrupt your delicate hormonal balance. It is not uncommon to suffer symptoms of anxiety, nausea, headaches, bloating and fatigue which acupuncture can be very beneficial in mitigating symptoms of, benefitting overall wellbeing.
Other than preconception care, this is the most important phase of your treatment plan and it is often recommended that we see each other at least weekly, if not 2 x each week.
The IVF clinic will monitor/scan the development of the follicles and adjust the drug regimen if appropriate. It does not necessarily follow, more follicles the better, it is quality that is most important.
Following egg collection, I recommend that you receive treatment to support any local tissue trauma, pain, bloating or bleeding caused by the procedure. This treatment can be on the day or on the day after transfer, whichever fits your schedule best.
You may have your embryo transfer a few days after this or you may be advised to have a frozen embryo transfer (FET) if, for example, you have developed ovarian hyperstimulation. The time between your egg collection and embryo transfer in this situation can vary, but is usually a couple of months. We can use this time to help your body recover and prepare you and your body for the transfer.
Embryo Transfer and the Two Week Wait
I like to see patients 4 days after transfer, around implantation. After which, weekly treatments are suggested during your follicular phase. It is beneficial in bringing the body into a state of rest and repair, calming the nervous system and therefore creating a happy, healthy internal environment for embryo to thrive.
Post transfer can feel like an emotional no-mans (excuse the irony!) land. The weeks leading up to transfer can be quite busy, injecting drugs and having scans but once it’s done then the wait for that all important test can seem to go on for ever.
Some patients like to continue treatment during the two week wait, for emotional support as well as physical. But some have had enough dashing around from appointment to appointment and decide to just rest up and wait.