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Acupuncture improves IVF / IUI success

East Meets West - The Best Possible Outcomes for Your IVF Success

Acupuncture Enhances IVF /IUI

Acupuncture has become a valued and increasingly mainstream method of enhancing an IVF cycle. It can strengthen and balance a woman’s general health by improving the function of the autonomic nervous system, which is responsible for controlling muscles and glands. Regular treatments can help relax reproductive organs and promote the circulation of blood in the ovaries and uterus. As a result, acupuncture can promote follicle production and make the uterine lining more receptive to an embryo.

Several studies have shown that acupuncture can significantly improve the outcome of IVF. German researchers found that women undergoing acupuncture treatment the day of their embryo transfer had increased success rates of almost 50 percent compared to a control group. Further validating this therapy, another study showed that acupuncture increased IVF success rates regardless of whether the procedure involved “IVF poor responders,” such as women with elevated FSH levels or a longer history of infertility or men with poor sperm morphology. More recently, the prestigious British Medical Journal found that acupuncture increased the odds of a live birth by 91 percent for patients undergoing IVF. These results indicate the existence of exciting possibilities arising from the combination of acupuncture with IVF – effectively, integrating Chinese and Western medicine. 

Why Choose Us

Specialized:  A Fellow of the American Board of Oriental Reproductive Medicine (FABORM) since 2008.

Extensive knowledge and training:  Dr. Zhou has advanced training in Western and Eastern reproductive medicine as well as in assisted reproductive technology procedures and medications.  In addition, she attends conferences and continues educating herself through courses each year to maintain her ever expanding knowledge of the latest oriental and biomedical reproductive medicine.

Experienced:  She has helped thousands of couples achieve fertility success while they undergo in vitro fertilization (IVF) and intrauterine insemination (IUI).  Over 20 years of clinic experience in reproductive medicine allows her to offer the the highest quality of specialized care to her patients, making their family dreams a reality.

Collaborative Care:  Dr. Zhou works collaboratively with Reproductive Endocrinologists (RE) and Obstetricians and Gynecologists (OB/GYN) to ensure patients receive the highest quality of care.  She has knowledge of evidence-based care and has an understanding and respect for biomedical therapies. Her approach and practice are highly trusted and recommended by leading RE and OB/GYN facilities, as well as by some of the most prestigious fertility centers in Dallas, Texas.

Compassionate Care:  Dr. Zhou understands that the entire process of IVF can create a lot of emotional and physical upheaval for many patients.  You are not alone. She is committed to helping your pain and frustration through her knowledge, practice and compassionate care , therefore empowering you to face the daily challenges of IVF process.  Her goal is help you not only achieve a successful pregnancy , but also have a joyful and more relaxed conception experience.

Acupuncture Enhances IVF Q&A

How does acupuncture enhance IVF?

Acupuncture can:

  • Regulate a woman’s hormones to produce more follicles.
  • Increase blood flow to the ovaries to improve egg quality and increase live birth rates.
  • Increase blood flow to the uterus to create thickness of the uterine lining and enhance embryo implantation and growth.
  • Increase sperm count, motility and morphology.
  • Reduce stress, anxiety and irritability associated with IVF.
  • Lessen the side effects of IVF medications.
  • Reduce miscarriages.

What should I expect from the first treatment?

The first visit includes a consultation and treatment. Dr. Zhou will sit down with you to create your own personalized fertility profile. She will take a detailed medical history related to infertility:

  • Reviewing the details of your menstrual cycle and blood flow during menstruation.
  • Gaining a thorough understanding of your goals and IVF/IUI protocol.
  • Evaluating your entire system through tongue, pulse and palpation. In Traditional Chinese Medicine, these are the keys to discovering underlying issues that may affect your fertility.
  • Advising you on optimal diet, proper exercise and other healthy lifestyle practices.

Note:  If you have never had an acupuncture experience and think you have a complicated medical history, Dr. Zhou also offers a free phone consultation before your initial visit to help you determine whether acupuncture is right for you.

When should I start acupuncture to prepare for an IVF procedure?

For optimal results, Dr. Zhou recommends that women with elevated FSH levels, poor egg quality, diminished ovarian reserve, failed IVF cycles, PCOS or severe endometriosis plan to undergo a minimum of weekly acupuncture treatment for 3 months before an IVF cycle. Her treatment emphasizes restoring reproductive organs, nourishing the ovaries for better quality eggs, and creating a nurturing environment for embryo implantation and development. It is important to realize that healthy eggs can better respond to external hormonal stimulation from IVF medications, thereby maximizing the IVF treatment’s effectiveness.

I am going to start IVF medication in a week, do I still get benefits from acupuncture?

Even if you are within the recommended three-month timeframe of your IVF cycle, you can still receive benefits from acupuncture. These include improved circulation, reduced stress, anxiety,  mood swings, abdomen swelling, headaches and other side effects are caused by IVF medications.

Should I continue acupuncture after egg retrieval?

Acupuncture is very helpful to promote the circulation of blood and fluids which has the effect of reducing any local tissue trauma and inflammation.  Thus IVF side effects like abdomen cramping and bloating, and headaches can be quickly relieved. At this stage if you do fresh embryo transfer, acupuncture can also help prepare a calm environment.

Should I start acupuncture prior to a frozen embryo transfer (FET)?

More IVF clinics are choosing FET.   All patients can benefit from the healthy increased uterine receptivity with regular acupuncture in a month or two prior to a frozen embryo transfer.

For women with a history of thin uterine lining, 2 treatments of acupuncture per week in the 2-3 menstrual cycles leading up to frozen embryo transfer is recommended.  

Studies have been shown acupuncture prior to FET improves the structure of the uterine lining, resulting in higher implantation, pregnancy and live birth rates.

Should I have acupuncture on the day of my embryo transfer?

For optimal results, acupuncture is highly recommended on the day of the embryo transfer. Acupuncture not only can calm the mind and relax the cervix  so the transfer gets smoother, but can relax uterine muscles to help prepare a calm environment for the arrival of an embryo. These result in higher chances of embryo implantation.

May I have acupuncture before my pregnancy test?

After the embryo transfer, acupuncture can help support your emotion, relieve anxiety while the patient is waiting for the results.

Once I get pregnant, should I continue the treatment?

Once pregnancy occurs, the next of treatment increases the likelihood of a full-term pregnancy and decreases the possibility of miscarriage. Acupuncture is a safe and effective option for nurturing and supporting early pregnancy by providing relief for many common discomforts, without drugs and their harmful side effects.

  • acupuncture can treat morning sickness.
  • acupuncture promotes emotional health & relaxation.
  • acupuncture enhances uterine circulation and helps develop the placenta.
  • acupuncture reduces bleeding in threatened miscarriages.

Can acupuncture and Chinese Medicine help with male infertility?

About half the time, cases of difficult conception are due to male infertility. Men who undergo acupuncture can improve their sperm quality and quantity. Acupuncture can increase sperm count and motility and, to a lesser degree, morphology. In addition, Dr. Zhou can customize Chinese herbal formulas to address specific problems and improve sperm health. Because sperm production takes about 70 to 80 days, she recommends that men plan on acupuncture and herbal treatments for at least three months.

If you plan to have an IVF/Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection (ICSI) procedure, you should not ignore the realities of sperm quality and quantity. IVF with ICSI can bypass some male factor issues, but they cannot correct the problems. To optimize your potential to conceive and your future baby’s health, before you attempt medical reproductive assistance, you must do everything you can to ensure your sperm is as healthy as possible.

Success Stories

” I believe that I would never have been able to continue have a normal life without the help of her acupuncture treatment and Chinese herbs”   – Cathy W

“Acupuncture and few lifestyle changes helped us to get to where we are today… the proud parents of our precious little girl”   – Robin & Clary

Watch the video

A 4-minutes long patient friendly video that summarizes the research on how acupuncture enhances natural fertility. Compiled by Irina Szmelsky

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