Guest blog by Sarah Prater, L.Ac., Founder and Acupuncturist of Tennessee Center for Reproductive Acupuncture.
We often get questions regarding acupuncture done before and after embryo transfer and wanted to explore how these treatments can be used to support an IVF cycle, why we highly recommend them, and how to add these to your upcoming cycle.
Research supports the use of acupuncture before and after embryo transfer. In a well known study, acupuncture done before and after embryo transfer resulted in higher rates of pregnancy (42.5% in the acupuncture group versus 26.3% in the control group). This study gave us the well-known “Paulus Protocol” that we base many of our pre/post transfer treatments on. Although, we typically add or subtract points depending on each patients’ diagnosis and symptoms.
In research published by our acupuncturist, Sarah Prater, similar results were seen. Patients receiving acupuncture had pregnancy rates for 57.1% versus 45.8% for those not receiving acupuncture. Additionally, this study followed patients a bit longer and discovered that the clinical pregnancy rate (gestational sac seen on ultrasound) was much higher in the acupuncture group: 55.1% versus 34.4% for those not receiving acupuncture. Even better, the overall miscarriage rate for patients who received acupuncture was only 3.4% compared to 22.7% in the non-acupuncture group. It is easy to see how these two simple treatments can have a big effect on live birth rates after IVF.
Pre and post embryo transfer treatments are done as a part of our comprehensive IVF treatment protocol. Beyond the increase in pregnancy rates, some additional benefits include reducing any symptoms from the hormones like headaches, irritability, hot flashes, etc. and helping you relax. Transfer day is a big day often filled with a mix of emotions that can range from excitement and optimism to anxiety and even fear. Acupuncture on transfer day can be such a wonderful way to relax and emotionally prepare for your transfer. The treatments are painless, and many times patients fall asleep during acupuncture.
Our patients know that we work very hard to time treatments throughout your cycle to help make sure you are getting the best benefit from each and every treatment and pre and post transfer treatments are no exception. We are willing to come in early, stay late, and even come in on weekends to help accommodate your transfer day schedule. We understand that you often don’t get your transfer time until the days leading up to the transfer and have a system in place to handle all the scheduling for your big day.
In addition to seeing our own patients before and after embryo transfer, we are proud to serve patients traveling from other cities and states for their cycles. We work with many out-of-town patients doing embryo adoption cycles at the National Embryo Donation Center here in Knoxville or with any of the other local clinics. You don’t need to have previously had acupuncture to take advantage of this service. We are always happy to answer your questions and make sure you get a spot on our transfer calendar.
We also get lots of questions about other things patients can do to support their cycles. While we don’t recommend herbs during an IVF cycle, we strongly encourage our patients to practice some kind of mindfulness practice. Our favorite programs, made just for IVF patients, are the Circle+Bloom IVF/IUI and FET programs. They have programs for each type of cycle including frozen IVF, fresh IVF, and egg or embryo donor cycles. We think these programs help you focus your mind on positive affirmations that can help support the outcome of your cycle and are a great thing to do when you find yourself endlessly searching the internet. Best to put that brain energy to work in a positive way!
So, if you are planning an IVF cycle in the coming weeks or months, please reach out and we can talk more about adding acupuncture before and after your transfer. We are available via email, phone, or through our website. We look forward to hearing from you and good luck with your cycle!
The Tennessee Center for Reproductive Acupuncture is Knoville’s first and only acupuncture clinic specializing in infertility. We draw on our over 10 years of experience to support our patients throughout the entirety of their fertility journeys and work closely with their medical teams to help improve pregnancy rates and provide support.
Sarah Prater, L.Ac. is the Founder and Acupuncturist of Tennessee Center for Reproductive Acupuncture. Sarah has had the honor of helping many women give birth to happy, healthy babies and has a diverse background that enables her to fully support you through your journey. Her passion for helping her patients expand their families shows in every aspect of her work. She takes the time to get to know you and find the treatment plan that is best for you. Sarah strives to stay up to date with current research in her field and is constantly updating her protocols to offer the maximum benefit. Her wide breadth of experience allows her to work cooperatively with reproductive endocrinologists and OB/GYN’s to provide the best care for her patients. Sarah has been practicing acupuncture since 2008 and relocated to Tennessee in 2015. She lives in Maryville with her husband and two children. She is an avid cyclist and spends as much time as she can in the mountains.