Tuesday, June 27, 2017


Acupuncture Fertility

Acupuncture is an ancient therapeutic art, which has been given renewed attention in light of recent scientific research and current integration with modern medical practice in the treatment of infertility.
With rapid economic development, lifestyle changes, and increased environmental pollution; the incidence of infertility has gained increased worldwide attention. In vitro fertilization–embryo transfer (IVF-ET) is the most successful infertility treatment, and for many people, it provides the last possibility for pregnancy.
However, the average IVF delivery rate per single initiated cycle using fresh oocytes is still only 35% - 40%. Owing to the relatively low IVF success rate per cycle, some patients are unsuccessful even after several ETs, even though appropriate techniques for controlled ovarian hyperstimulation (COH), IVF, embryo culture and transfer, etc., have been correctly performed. 
Furthermore, IVF is an expensive procedure, and some couples can afford only a limited number of treatments. Repeated cycles place enormous economic as well as psychological pressure on the patients and their families. Therefore, it is important to maximize the efficiency of the procedures.
Many patients have turned to complementary and alternative medical (CAM) treatments to increase the success rate of IVF. Among these CAM treatments, acupuncture is a frequently used adjunctive therapy.
Acupuncture is based on a system of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) dating back 3,000 years, wherein fine needles are inserted at points around your body to correct imbalance in energy or ‘qi’, which is said to flow around your body in ‘channels’ or ‘meridians’.

Acupuncturists believe that there are 400 different acupuncture points around the body and that stimulating these with tiny needles can get your energy flowing.

Traditional acupuncture involves inserting disposable sterilized needles into the skin at acupoints along the meridians. The needles can then be stimulated by hand or by a small electric current in the case of electroacupuncture (EA). In a conventional acupuncture treatment, four to ten points are needled for 15–30 minutes. Acupuncturists emphasize a sensation called “de qi,” which is characterized both by the patient feeling soreness, numbness, or heaviness at the needling point or along the meridians and by the acupuncturist sensing a sinking and compactness below the needle; it is considered to be an important factor for obtaining therapeutic efficacy . Laser acupuncture is a new form of this treatment; it combines modern science and technology with traditional methods by using a low-energy laser beam to directly irradiate acupoints. 

Acupuncturists aim to rebalance your energy flow and prime your body for fertility. The British Acupuncture Council believes acupuncture may boost female fertility by doing three key things:

  • Regulating fertility hormones - stress and other factors can disrupt the function of the hypothalamic pituitary-ovarian axis (HPOA), causing hormonal imbalances that can negatively impact fertility. Acupuncture has been shown to affect hormone levels by promoting the release of beta-endorphin in the brain, which affects the release of gonadotrophin releasing hormone by the hypothalamus, follicle stimulating hormone from the pituitary gland, and oestrogen and progesterone levels from the ovary.
  • Increasing blood flow to the reproductive organs - stress also stimulates the sympathetic nervous system, which causes constriction of ovarian arteries. Acupuncture inhibits this sympathetic activity, improving blood flow to the ovaries  enhancing the environment in which ovarian follicles develop. It also increases blood flow to the uterus  improving the thickness of the endometrial lining and increasing the chances of embryo implantation.
  • Counteracting the effects of polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) - PCOS is one of the most common causes of female infertility. By reducing sympathetic nerve activity and balancing hormone levels, acupuncture has been shown to reduce the number of ovarian cysts, stimulate ovulation, enhance embryo implantation and regulate the menstrual cycle in women with PCOS . It may also help to control secondary effects such as obesity and anorexia. 

Acupuncture has been successfully used in the treatment of female infertility. Efficacious IVF/ICSI demands optimal endometrial receptivity at the time of embryo implantation. Uterine receptivity is regulated by a number of factors, including uterine perfusion. It has been seen that  acupuncture can reduce the uterine artery blood flow impedance, and hence increases the uterine perfusion.
Infertility also causes stress, leading to a release of stress hormones. It has been seen that stress reduction improves fertility.

The use of acupuncture to reduce anxiety and stress, possibly through its sympathoinhibitory property and impact on β-endorphin levels. It has been  found that sympathetic activation during acute mental stress was eliminated after acupuncture.

Many Studies have proven that acupuncture increases clinical pregnancy rate and live birth rates.

Therefore we recommend acupuncture as an adjuvant therapy with IVF/ ICSI as it increases the chances of fertility by decreasing the stress, increasing the uterine perfusion, which in turn increases the embryo implantation and thus raises the clinical pregnancy rate and live birth rate.

We at Corion Fertility Clinic, do promote Acupuncture to our patients as an adjuvant therapy. The therapy helps alleviate anxiety from our patients. Stress levels are also reduced and this helps our patients to cope with the various ART treatments with ease.

Acupuncture has significantly improved our success rates. A special mention is use of acupuncture in Poor Ovarian reserve patients struggling to enjoy the joy of motherhood. Acupuncture has improved their response to medication, thus increasing number of eggs retrieved as well as improving quality of embryos transferred.

Please contact us at +91 22 2639 5588 / 2639 5599 / 86929 66000 or email us - reachus@corionfertilityclinic.com for further consultations.

By- Dr. Hitesha Ramnani
      Clinical Associate @ Corion Fertility Clinic

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