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  • Writer's pictureRobin Acupuncture

When is the Best Time to Start Acupuncture when Considering IVF?


Embarking on the journey of in vitro fertilization (IVF) can be an emotional and physically demanding process. If you are considering IVF and would like to boost your chances of success, I'm here to support with a holistic acupuncture treatment plan.


In this blog, I will cover some important considerations for when you should consider starting acupuncture before your IVF cycle. While individual circumstances may vary, I'd generally recommend:

  • 3 months beforehand if both you and your partner are healthy, or

  • 4-6 months beforehand if you or your partner have underlying medical conditions such as PCOS, endometriosis, anemia, erectile dysfunction, diabetes or high blood pressure.


Fertility Acupuncture Consultation

How Does Acupuncture Support IVF?


When used as an adjunct therapy to IVF, acupuncture aims to support the reproductive system by:

  • improving blood flow to the reproductive organs

  • improving egg quality

  • improving sperm quality and quantity

  • improving thickness of the uterine lining for a successful embryo implantation

  • reducing harmful stress hormones

  • improving sleep

  • improving overall wellbeing



Finding the Right Time to Start Acupuncture for IVF


The ideal timing to commence acupuncture prior to IVF can vary depending on individual circumstances, preferences, and the advice of your healthcare team. Here are some factors to consider:




Acupuncture for IVF

 


1. Dealing with Underlying Medical Conditions


Some underlying health conditions such as PCOS, endometriosis, polyps, anemia, high blood pressure or diabetes can lower your chances of a successful IVF cycle. Depending on factors like age and severity, it may take several months to address these conditions.


If any of the above conditions apply to you or your spouse, I'd recommend coming in about 4-6 months before your planned IVF cycle. I know this sounds like a long time, but consider this an important step to building a solid foundation for your IVF cycle.


Bottom Line: If you or your partner are affected by a medical condition that may interfere with becoming pregnant, plan for about 4-6 months of acupuncture treatments before starting IVF.



2. Optimizing Your Menstrual Cycle


Many fertility clinics in British Columbia will administer hormonal medicine to control your ovulation during the IVF cycle. Since this is the case, you may be wondering why it is so important to achieve a healthy and consistent menstrual cycle before beginning IVF.


To maximize your chances of a successful IVF cycle, it is important to get your reproductive system into the best shape possible. Since a consistent and healthy menstrual cycle is a sign of good overall reproductive health, we therefore seek to improve your natural menstrual cycle before beginning IVF. This is particularly important since your body is ultimately the one that will select and grow the eggs collected during the extraction phase of IVF.


Bottom Line: If you are experiencing irregular or poor quality menstruation, plan to start receiving acupuncture treatments at least 3 menstrual cycles before the start of your IVF.



3. Enhancing Your Eggs and Sperm


Eggs and sperm take about 3 months to mature. During the 3 month window prior to IVF, I work with couples to prepare an ideal environment for the eggs and sperm to grow and mature. This typically means focusing on:

  • Promoting blood flow to the reproductive organs

  • Regulating hormones

  • Reducing stress

  • Improving sleep quality

  • Removing toxins

Even healthy couples can typically benefit from this phase of preparation. In addition to boosting your chances of a successful IVF cycle, you'll also benefit from being more relaxed and well rested during this stressful time.


Bottom Line: All couples should consider starting acupuncture at least 3 months before their planned IVF cycle.


 

Final Thoughts


While every couple is different, generally speaking I recommend most of my patients start receiving acupuncture treatments between 3 to 6 months before the start of their IVF cycle. Healthy couples can plan on coming in for a shorter amount of time, while couples who are dealing with underlying health conditions will likely require a longer period of time. When in doubt, it is best to consult with a qualified acupuncturist as soon as you are start seriously considering IVF. This will allow you and your acupuncturist to create a customized treatment plan that works best for your unique situation.

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