Acupuncture and IVF
I’ve always been terrified of needles, so you can see why IVF frightened me to my core. I was always the patient who passed out at the lab every time I had to have blood drawn on Day 3 for fertility tests. (Or rather infertility tests). My palms would start to sweat, my heart would speed up, and within seconds of the tourniquet being tightly bound to my arm I would get lightheaded. Then everything would turn black, and all I could hear were loud sounds. Eventually, they learned to just draw my blood when I was already sitting in a recliner. Nearly seven years of fertility treatment gains you lots of new friends and nicknames, like the “recliner girl.”
It’s ironic that without acupuncture—needles I voluntarily allowed into my body—I would never have become a mother.
Acupuncture wasn’t just a way to increase fertility by reducing stress; in my case, it was a way to help me heal. It was a spiritual journey that not only helped me conceive physically, but prepared me for the in vitro fertilization process both mentally and emotionally. Acupuncture has become a staple in most fertility clinics across the nation.
Seeking acupuncture treatment on the same day of the embryo transfer was made popular by a German study published in April 2002. This study showed that patients who received acupuncture before and after their embryo transfer had higher conception rates than patients who did not. According to Dr. Leonor Murciano of Nourishing Women in Pembroke Pines, Florida, acupuncture can help with:
- Increasing blood flow to the uterus
- Increasing lining thickness
- Increasing implantation rate
- Increasing conception rates
- Reducing anxiety and stress hormones that interfere with pregnancy
I’ll admit when I first met Dr. Murciano over six years ago, I was apprehensive. More needles? The very thought of injecting myself with fertility drugs had me physically nauseous. But her calm demeanor and understanding of women’s emotions during the time of infertility was so completely comforting. I was finally ready to surrender to the now and seek the help I needed to conceive.
For those who share my fear, let me assure you that acupuncture is virtually painless. The needles are disposable, very thin, and placed around your body to allow the energy to flow. These points are connected to different channels and meridians in the body. The Qi, our vital energy, moves through our bodies. When you put a needle in these points, it activates the channel, which in turn has different effects on your organs. Acupuncture allows for the systems in your body to harmonize.
I am thoroughly convinced I would have never had the courage to even attempt IVF if it hadn’t been for the calming effects of acupuncture. I am living proof that you can defy odds and have a baby, even when everyone tells you that you can’t.