In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) is a form of assisted reproductive technology (ART). This means that special medical techniques are used to help a woman become pregnant. It is most often tried when other, less expensive fertility techniques have failed. The process can be divided in two different phases; 1) the retrieval of the egg(s), and 2) the transfer of the embryo (once the egg has been fertilized in vitro). Both phases are just as important as the other. For the retrieval phase, if the egg(s) that was retrieved is not of the highest quality, the egg might not be able to get fertilized. If it gets fertilized, the embryo might not pass genetic testing and the transfer phase will be canceled, or if the couple decides not to do genetic testing and goes ahead with the transfer, the body might reject the embryo a few weeks after the transfer. For the transfer phase, if the endometrium (the lining of the uterus) is not thick enough (around 8mm) the embryo will have a hard time implanting.
Several studies have shown that acupuncture can increase blood flow. By increasing blood flow with acupuncture several weeks prior to the egg retrieval phase, egg quality can be improved. In addition to acupuncture, Chinese herbal formulas and supplements have been shown to increase egg quality, increasing the chances of fertilization and good quality embryos. Likewise, by doing acupuncture several weeks before an embryo transfer, the thickness of the endometrium can be increased.
It has also ben demonstrated by several studies that pregnancy rate can be substantially increased when acupuncture is done the day of the embryo transfer - right before and right after the transfer. One particular study showed that clinical pregnancies were documented in 34 of 80 patients (42.5%) in the acupuncture group, whereas pregnancy rate was only 26.3% (21 out of 80 patients) in the control group.
Initial visit (includes treatment) $180
Regular treatment (leading to the 4 weeks before the retrieval or transfer) $90
Special protocol - 4 weeks before retrieval and/or transfer. Patient is treated 2 times per week:
Double (first treatment of the week - the patient is treated facing up and then facing down) $90
Single (second treatment of the week - the patient is only treated facing down) $75
Day of transfer protocol (at office or local fertility clinics - NCFMC, or Cal IVF) $450
A Few Studies
An Overview of Systematic Reviews of Acupuncture for Infertile Women Undergoing in vitro Fertilization and Embryo Transfer
Influence of acupuncture on the pregnancy rate in patients who undergo assisted reproduction therapy
Effectiveness of acupuncture on pregnancy success rates for women undergoing in vitro fertilization: A randomized controlled trial
Acupuncture for in vitro fertilization in women with poor ovarian response: a systematic review
The relationship between perceived stress, acupuncture, and pregnancy rates among IVF patients: a pilot study
Acupuncture on the day of embryo transfer significantly improves the reproductive outcome in infertile women: a prospective, randomized trial
Acupuncture Prior to and at Embryo Transfer in An Assisted Conception Unit – a Case Series