In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) is a process by which egg cells are fertilized by sperm outside the womb. IVF is a major treatment in infertility when other methods of assisted reproductive technology have failed. The process involves hormonally controlling the ovulatory process, removing eggs from the woman’s ovaries and letting sperm fertilize them in a fluid medium. The embryo is then transferred to the patient’s uterus with the intent to establish a successful pregnancy.
The IVF process starts with certain blood tests to check the woman’s womb, ovaries and hormone level and an ultrasound scan to check the lining of uterus and ovaries. A detailed sperm count is also carried out. Certain fertility injections and drugs are used to stimulate the ovaries to produce multiple eggs. The eggs are then recovered, and placed together with sperm in a special nutrient rich tube to achieve fertilization.
After fertilization, one to three embryos are either transferred inside the woman’s uterus to begin pregnancy or kept frozen for future use. The whole process is monitored by the doctor to check the development of follicles and lining of the uterus. The IVF procedure gives approximately 30 – 35% pregnancy rate per cycle. Nearly 90% of the infertile couples can be successfully treated through IVF.
Infertility is deeply stressful and often touches every aspect of life. It causes isolation in the life of married couples. Women can achieve fertilization, even after their reproductive age.
Who is suitable for IVF?
Deciding to pursue IVF is not a step anyone takes lightly. It is a demanding process and often follows years of hope, frustration and grief. But there are things you can do to make the experience more pleasant and more likely to bring you the result you want, the birth of your baby.
Acupuncture can make a significant contribution not only to how you feel during your IVF cycle but also to your chances of success.
An increasing number of fertility specialists and centers recommend acupuncture as a part of their IVF protocol. Evidence from clinical trials and case series suggests that acupuncture may improve the success rate of IVF and the quality of life of patients undergoing IVF and that it is a safe adjunct therapy. A systematic review and meta-analysis published in the British Medical Journal found that complementing the embryo transfer process with acupuncture was associated with significant and clinically relevant improvements in clinical pregnancy.
If you answer YES to any of the Below questions,
Have you undergone two to three IVF / IUI cycles without success?
Are you about to begin an IVF / IUI Treatment?
Have you been diagnosed with ‘Unexplained Infertility’?
Have you been diagnosed with ‘PCOD / PCOS’?
Is your Endometrium / Uterine lining unable to thicken?
Are your FSH levels too high / too low to begin IVF Treatment?
Have you been diagnosed with Low Sperm Count?
Have you been diagnosed with Poor Sperm Motility?
Four mechanisms by which it has been suggested that acupuncture improves IVF outcomes are:
- Neuroendocrinological modulations
- Increased blood flow to uterus and ovaries
- Modulation in cytokines
- Reduction of stress, anxiety, and depression
Acupuncture and Moxa for IVF / IUI Procedure
Acupuncture and Moxibustion has been found to be a good alternative to conventional medical analgesia, it results in shorter hospitalization times and lower costs.
A large number of clinical trials have been conducted around the world, which show that acupuncture can increase IVF pregnancy rates. It has also been demonstrated that acupuncture reduces anxiety related to infertility and the IVF process.
Although men have a less active role to play during the IVF / IUI procedures, the sperm is every bit as important as the egg. While embryologists can give a lot of help to sperm that are not so good at fertilizing eggs by injecting them directly into the egg, they cannot improve the quality of the sperm. Clinical studies have shown that acupuncture and moxa can improve sperm quality, including morphology, motility, count, and a reduction in sperm DNA fragmentation indexes.