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Treatments for Infertility: Couple therapy and IVF encouragement

fertility-treatments

In vitro fertilization (IVF) and Acupuncture

Couples having difficulties in conceiving through traditional methods often turn to other techniques to assist them in having a child. One of the most popular reproduction therapies currently being used is in-vitro fertilization (IVF). IVF is the process of harvesting a woman’s eggs and then fertilizing them with sperm via a laboratory. Some studies have shown that pregnancy rates increase by as much as 40 percent for women undergoing acupuncture treatment in addition to IVF.

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For example, in a 2002 German study, 80 women underwent IVF treatment and at the same time received acupuncture. Of these, 34 women (42.5%) became pregnant. Another 80 women received IVF without any acupuncture treatments. Of these women, only 21(26.3%) became pregnant. In a more recent American study,51% of 114 women who received both IVF and acupuncture treatment became pregnant, compared with only 36% of the women who received only the IVF treatment. Even more interesting, the rate of miscarriage for women who received both IVF and acupuncture was 8%. The rate of miscarriage for women who received only IVF was 20%. Furthermore, women who received acupuncture also had lower rates of ectopic pregnancies*.

Thanks to these and other studies, it is becoming increasingly common for women undergoing modern IVF therapy to also have complementary fertility acupuncture treatment at the same time. Studies have shown that besides improving pregnancy rates,fertility acupuncture helps patients’ better respond to medication and results in healthier eggs. Fertility acupuncture also makes a woman’s uterus more receptive to implantation which is one of the major reasons attributed to these higher rates of IVF success.Many women who have had problems with high FSH levels or who have had a miscarriage are being advised that fertility acupuncture has good potential as a solution to their problems.

There are several reasons why acupuncture appears to increase the chances of success in IVF treatments.Studies show that manual acupuncture has a positive effect on pituitary and ovarian hormone level sand that electro-acupuncture treatments stimulate and improve blood flow in the uterine arteries of infertile women. Research suggests that women who choose to combine IVF and acupuncture treatments have more chances of a positive outcome if they undergo their acupuncture treatment on the afternoon before the transfer of their embryos, as well as on the afternoon or day after the transfer.

* Source: Report from the October 2004 meeting of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine and Highlights in Fertility and Sterility Volume 77, No 4, April 2004.

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