Fertility & IVF Support
Are you ready to start a family? Or have you been trying to fall pregnant for a while? No matter where you are at in your fertility journey, Chinese Medicine and Acupuncture can be a useful addition. At Sakura Acupuncture Clinic, we offer an integrative approach to healthcare, working alongside other healthcare practitioners when required to achieve your goals. Our holistic approach also supports your emotional balance and general wellbeing.
What is Infertility?
Infertility affects an overwhelming number of the Australian population with an estimated 1 in 6 couples suffering fertility problems according to IVF Australia. An infertile couple can be defined as unable to conceive after actively trying for a minimum period of 12 months (WHO 2018). Additionally, subfertility is classified as decreased fertility with factors such as low sperm count or damaged fallopian tubes, reducing the chances of falling pregnant.
Infertility can be caused by many factors or disease states in both men and women including; hormonal imbalances, endometriosis, PCOS, low sperm count, sperm morphology and other factors. It is primarily investigated through biomedical testing including blood tests to measure hormone levels. Western medicines treatment focus is dependent upon the cause and may include hormonal pharmacological therapy, In-Vitro Fertilisation (IVF) or other forms of Assisted Reproductive Technologies.
The male reproductive system requires good quality and quantity of sperm to fertilise an egg which can be investigated through a semen analysis. Additionally, a blood test may be conducted to assess the levels of testosterone, luteinising hormone (LH) and follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH).
Chinese Medicine and Acupuncture when used to support natural fertility provides a holistic treatment incorporating:
- Chinese Medicine diagnosis
- Interpretation of Biomedical test results
- Lifestyle factors
- Dietary factors
- Emotional factors
Acupuncture can be used to help support your body’s natural processes no matter where you are in your journey, your first baby or your fifth.
Chinese medicine offers a holistic view of the body, incorporating mind, body and spirit. Diet and lifestyle are also important aspects to achieving optimal fertility, and your practitioner will guide you with some recommendations.
During your consultation your practitioner will assess the way your whole body is functioning and thoroughly assess your menstrual cycle to gain a comprehensive understanding of where your body is at, allowing for an accurate TCM diagnosis.
Generally, we recommend to start treatments before actively trying, to optimise the health potential of both partners, and to create a healthy and balanced body. For women, this will also contribute to creating a nutrient rich uterine environment which can nourish and support a developing baby.
Research has found acupuncture could improve fertility outcomes by increasing uterine blood flow, affecting neuroendocrinological factors, reducing stress, anxiety and depression
Acupuncture is also thought to positively affect the HPA Axis, and influence cortisol and prolactin levels, which could lead to increased rates of pregnancy.
Support during an IVF cycle is important for many reasons including physical and emotional benefits. Acupuncture treatments are available to assist in the preparation and duration of your IVF cycle, with TCM and IVF complementing each other. With an integrated approach, we work alongside your other healthcare providers and deliver individualised treatments throughout the course of your IVF treatment.
Some benefits of acupuncture throughout your IVF journey may include:
Prior to transfer – Increased arterial blood flow to the uterus to help nourish and support the endometrium, physical and mental relaxation
Post transfer – Support healthy implantation of the embryo, improve the health of endometrial tissue and blood flow to support a pregnancy, minimise any discomfort from the transfer and create a calm environment in the uterus.
A study on acupuncture used as an adjunct to IVF found an 81.8% success rate, twice the US average of IVF alone at 40.2% (Kong & Hughes, 2009)
Acupuncture treatment through an IVF cycle may help, Increase implantation rates, Increase the blood flow to the endometrium, Increase blood flow to the ovaries, Reduce side-effects of drugs, Relax and reduce anxiety. (West, Z 2008)
Going through IVF can trigger many different emotions and Acupuncture provides a beautiful adjunct therapy, commonly used to help reduce stress and anxiety, calm, nourish and support. After your initial consultation a treatment plan including lifestyle and dietary recommendations are made for each patient or couple. To read more about current acupuncture research, please see the research articles below.
Can I get Acupuncture whilst undergoing other treatments?
Yes. Acupuncture can be used alone or as an adjunct therapy to other fertility treatment methods. It provides safe and natural support throughout your fertility journey.
Does my partner need to accompany me?
It is encouraged that both partners receive acupuncture treatment to support optimal fertility health.
All the sources of information & accompanying research relating to this page can be viewed on Section one of Our Research & References page.