Acupuncture for IVF, IUI and ICSI - Fertility treatment support with Traditional Chinese Medicine

Infertility Acupuncture and TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine) clinic in St. Albans and Pinner - Sarah Clark BScTCM, MBAcC, MRCHM, AFN
Chelsea Bridge SW8
020 7622 2252
Marlow, Bucks. SL7
01628 319 364
Pinner, Harrow HA5
020 8133 2996

Specialist in Gynaecology, Male & Female Infertility, Pregnancy, Obstetrics and Postnatal Medicine
Part of the Hong Tao Acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine Practice
Consultant Acupuncturist, Chinese Herbalist & TCM Practitioner: Sarah Clark BSc(Hons)TCM MBAcC MRCHM AFN.

Fertility Acupuncture and TCM for IVF, IUI and ICSI

Many couples who are experiencing fertility issues due to poor sperm parameters, post-surgical complications, fallopian tube obstruction/removal, autoimmune factors and many other cases of "unexplained infertility" have undergone IVF (in-vitro fertilisation) or IUI (intrauterine insemination) and successfully conceived as a result. Having acupuncture and TCM treatment to assist IVF, IUI and ICSI can greatly increase a couple's chances of successful conception and a viable pregnancy.

IUI is a type of ART (assisted reproduction technology) where the male's sperm is placed in the uterus with the help of a catheter. It ensures that more sperm are available to be able to access the egg, thereby aiding fertilisation and thus conception. It does require that the female has a healthy ovulation cycle and open fallopian tubes.

IVF is another type of ART (assisted reproduction technology) where the procedure attempts to gather the female egg and sperm in isolation and bring them together for fertilisation outside of the uterus, before then placing the fertilised egg, now an embryo, into the uterus, in the hope that the embryo will attach to the endometrium and thus conception will take place.

The Role of Acupuncture in Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART)

These procedures in ART do not focus on the quality of eggs, sperm, and/or gynaecological health and this is most likely why 50% of IVF conceptions result in miscarriage. In acupuncture and TCM, gynaecological and fertility health is the foremost focus of treatment and thus can play a vital role in supporting ART. In IVF and in some cases of IUI, fertility drugs are used to stimulate the ovaries to produce as many mature eggs as possible. If you are going through some kind of ART, it is highly advisable to also have acupuncture to initially, prepare your body for the procedure itself and then to assist in the actual measurable procedures such as follicle stimulation, response to drug treatment, improve egg quality, thicken the endometrium and assist in the embryo attachment to the uterus, all to benefit the procedure's effectiveness and furthermore to encourage and support healthy embryo growth and development through to a smooth full-term pregnancy.

Preparing for IVF or IUI

Ideally, acupuncture and TCM treatment should be started at least 3 months prior to the start treatment. For the female, by regulating the body system functions and energies, acupuncture will help improve the function of the ovaries to produce higher quality eggs, it also aids ovarian response to the follicle-stimulating drug treatment, doubling the quantity of eggs produced than with drug treatment alone. Higher quality eggs thus means healthier embryos and furthermore a greater chance of a viable pregnancy. We also regulate the hormones to encourage a thicker uterus lining (for more successful attachment and embryo implantation).

Heavy side-effects of the drug treatment including nausea and vomiting, abdominal pain, irritability, emotional sensitivity plus the increased stress can be successfully alleviated with acupuncture and TCM. Patients who have had treatment in good preparation time will find these effects will be much less severe and more manageable.

For the male, preparation is just as important to improve sperm quality and quantity. This also produces a healthier embryo, and like thetreatment given to the female, will help to reduce the chance of miscarriage once conception has successfuly occurred.

In preparation for any ART treatment, we heavily consider nutrition and dietetics and lifestyle changes, if necessary. TCM views diet and lifestyle as highly important aspects of health and a significant part of treatment process.

Acupuncture and TCM During the IVF or IUI Treatment Cycle

Down-regulating (also applicable to some IUI cases)
During the period of hormone regulation and control of ovulation, acupuncture and TCM benefits the ovaries not by stimulation, but by nourishing the root system of their growth and development for when they are ready to become active once more. Treatment relaxes the mind and spirit, and aids to calm the Liver to better manage any side-effects.

Follicle and Ovary Stimulation (also applicable to some IUI cases)
During follicle stimulation, the female can experience unpleasant side-effects that can be treated. Acupuncture and TCM will also help the ovaries respond to the drug treatment, working as an assisted action to the follicle-stimulation.

Pre- and Post-Embryo Transfer
Calming the mind, spirit and uterus is the essence at the stage prior to embryo transfer. Once it has been transferred, focus of treatment turns to Qi and Blood nourishment of the uterus; further uterus-relaxation treatment avoids any mild uterine contractions that may cause bleeding and early miscarriage.

Preventing Miscarriage

Once implantation and conception has successfully taken place, the next focus is to nourish the female to prevent miscarriage. 50% of IVF/IUI conceptions result in miscarriage, we believe this is due to the chemically-focussed procedure that looks at quantity rather than quality of both the eggs and overal fertility health of the patients. Clearly, if IVF or IUI was necessary there is a deficiency in the fertility health of either the male or female or both. In any case, acupuncture and TCM treatment can significantly promote healthy development of the baby through full-term by continuing to nourish the foetus in these sensitive and early stages of growth and development.

For more information about acupuncture and TCM to prevent and also treat cases of recurrent miscarriage, see Acupuncture for Miscarriage and Ectopic

If you have had a successful cycle of IVF or IUI treatment and would like to know how acupuncture and TCM can help you during pregnancy and for post-natal care, see Acupuncture for Pregnancy and Post-Natal

The above-mentioned procedures are a brief introduction to how and why acupuncture is used to assist in ARTs such as IVF, IUI and ICSI. Each patient however, is given holistic and individual care and attention; your treatment may or may not not include chinese herbal medicine as an adjunctive therapy to acupuncture treatment. A thorough assessment of each case is always given at the first consultation prior to treatment and throughout your course of treatment.

If you are currently having, or intending to have IVF treatment, book an appointment at one of our clinic locations and see how we can help you achieve a smooth and assisted conception, the best way that suits the both of you.









020 8133 2996
Pinner, Harrow HA5

01628 314 532
Marlow, Bucks. SL7

020 7622 2252
Chelsea Bridge, London SW8
Chinese Lotus - Symbol of wisdom and purity

Member of the British Acupuncture Council        Member of the Regsiter of Chinese Herbal Medicine        Member of the Acupuncture Fertility Network        NHS Trusts Association Complementary Practitioner

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