Acupuncture & IVF
By Lifang Liang, O.M.D, Ph.D., L.Ac.
In 2002, a group of German researchers, led by Dr Wolfgang Paulus, conducted a study where women were given acupuncture treatments immediately before and after an IVF procedure. The analysis showed that the pregnancy rate for the acupuncture group was almost 50% higher than the control group that did not receive acupuncture. They published their findings in the April 2002 issue of “Fertility and Sterility”. Since that study, more and more Western fertility clinics are suggesting to their patients that they consider acupuncture in preparation for IVF.
In her book, Dr. Liang outlines the protocol used in the German study. Acupuncture points that were selected are known to relax the uterus, stabilize the endocrine system and improve the flow of energy to the abdomen.
Dr. Liang has been conducting her own research on IVF and the benefits of acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine since 1989. Dr. Liang is trained in both Western and Chinese medicine and strongly believes that they each have their strengths and weaknesses, and that their strengths compliment each other. Her clinical experience shows that the success rate for IVF can be increased even further to at least 60% when patients start acupuncture and herbal treatments three months prior to the IVF procedure. Sometimes after the three months patients are even able to become pregnant naturally.
During the three month preparation time Chinese medicine is able to:
- Improve ovarian function which will result in producing more follicles and good quality eggs
- Regulate estrogen and progesterone levels, thickening the lining of the uterus for proper implantation
- Strengthen the immune system
- Reduce stress and relax the patient to prevent the uterus from contracting and ultimately help to prevent miscarriage
- Alleviate the side effects of IVF drugs
- Improve semen quality and quantity
- Treat the root cause of infertility. Chinese medicine is very successful in treating many gynecological conditions that contribute to infertility such as irregular menses, endometriosis, blocked fallopian tubes, and PCOS.
In this book, Dr. Liang shares her clinical experience for both acupuncture and herbal formulas. She provides many case studies. It is an important tool in my own reference library and I highly recommend it to either the Western MD who wants to learn more about how Chinese medicine can compliment the IVF process or the Chinese medical practitioner looking for guidance on safe herbal formulas and acupuncture protocols to support the patient thru the IVF procedure.