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What are the common questions asked about Acupuncture/ Hypnotherapy and IVF?

In Ireland 1 in 6  couples have difficulty conceiving. The most common treatments include IUI (intrauterine insemination) or

IVF (in vitro fertilisation), with drugs to encourage ovulation. Acupuncture/Hypnotherapy is increasingly and successfully being used as an adjunct to modern fertility treatments.

Here are some commonly asked questions about how to go about incorporating Acupuncture/Hypnotherapy into your e.g. IVF process.

When is it best to start Acupuncture/Hypnotherapy treatment?

Pre­Conception: If there is time, I generally recommend 3 months of pre­conception care coming for weekly or 2­weekly treatments. There is a one off Hypnotherapy session. I will make up a Hypnotherapy CD specific to yourself so that you can Hypnotise yourself compounding the relaxation techniques/suggestions. During this time I can also look at any lifestyle changes that need to be made. Using Software (Acugraph) that allows you to see your progress on a weekly basis.

When should I come during the IVF process?

Pre­Egg Collection: In the month before egg collection you will need to attend once a week. Acupuncture during this time regulates the stress hormones which may have an impact on follicle development and implantation of the embryo.

Post­Egg Collection: Have an acupuncture treatment within 24 hours of egg collection.

Pre and Post Embryo Transfer: Have an acupuncture treatment just before and just after embryo transfer.

The 2 week wait: Have a treatment during this time, especially if you are feeling anxious.

Why have acupuncture after egg collection?

The IVF side effects are often more marked after this procedure. Hormone levels are still very high so you may experience cramping, headaches, breast soreness and mood swings. The empty follicles often fill up with fluid, so a feeling of bloating may persist. These side effects tend to subside more quickly with acupuncture treatment.

Acupuncture also reduces inflammation and tissue trauma so helps prepare a more conducive environment for the arrival of an embryo in a few days.

Why have Acupuncture before and after embryo transfer?

Clinical trials show a beneficial effect of acupuncture when given just before and just after the transfer. Pregnancies were documented in


Pregnant Lady

34 of 80 patients (42.5%) in the acupuncture group. Compared to just 21 patients (26.3%) in the control group.

How does Acupuncture/Hypnotherapy work to increase IVF success?

This is a topic of much discussion and on­going research. Preliminary studies show that a series of acupuncture treatments in the weeks before egg collection have a regulatory effect on the level of stress hormones. It is unclear whether the beneficial impact is on follicle development or embryo implantation, but women who received acupuncture in these trials had greater pregnancy rates than those who did not. The acupuncture points used have a moderating effect on the immune system, and this may prevent rejection of embryos. Hypnotherapy relaxes the body/mind & helps you be more positive, including visualisation techniques.

Can Acupuncture help with ‘poor egg quality’?

Egg quality related to age is hard to overcome. However, acupuncture does increase blood flow to the ovaries, thereby enhancing nourishment of the developing follicle and appears to increase responsiveness to IVF drugs.

What if you have responded poorly to the IVF medication in my last 4 cycles, and produced

few eggs? Can Acupuncture help?

One group of researchers found that it was the IVF poor responders who gained the greatest benefit from the acupuncture administered in the month before egg collection.

I hope that this has been of benefit to anyone who is under going IVF treatment and think that acupuncture and hypnotherapy would be of benefit to them. If you have any questions please feel free to leave a comment and I will answer it.

David Hennessy

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