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Woman in pregnant silhouetteFertility

Deciding to seek help

Some women get pregnant quickly but for others it can take longer. It is a good idea for a couple to visit their GP if they have not conceived after one year of trying.
Women over the age of 36, and anyone who is already aware they may have fertility problems, should see their GP sooner.

The GP can check for common causes of fertility problems, and suggest treatments that could help. A couple will only be diagnosed as being infertile if they have not managed to have a baby after one year of trying. There are two types of infertility:primary infertility, where someone who has never conceived a child in the past has difficulty conceiving
secondary infertility, where a person has had one or more pregnancies in the past, but is having difficulty conceiving again.
Read more information about how infertility is diagnosed at NHS Choice

Acupuncture for IVF

Before IVF

Ideally, preparation for IVF should start at least 3-4 months prior to the IVF cycle, although even one month can make a difference. It aims to bring the body to the optimal pre-conception condition to maximize the chance of success. Normally a combination of acupuncture and herbs is used during stage. Both male and female should be involved at this stage.

During IVF

Weekly acupuncture is advised to women from the first day of medication through to embryo transfer.

Acupuncture helps:

  • reduce the side effects of the drugs;
  • produce more follicles and maximize egg quality;
  • optimize the thickness of the endometrium to prepare for the transfer of embryos.

Where there is no male infertility factor, a single acupuncture treatment is still recommended prior to egg collection to relieve anxiety. Where there is male  infertility factor, acupuncture treatments should have already started from the preparation stage.

Embryo Transfer

An acupuncture treatment is recommended before and after embryo transfer to improve pregnancy rate. Ideally, this is on the same day as close to your embryo transfer appointment. Choosing points that relax uterus optimizes endometrial receptivity, thus helping embryo implantation.

After Embryo Transfer

One or two acupuncture treatments are recommended during the two-week waiting period before a pregnancy test is taken. This is primarily to support emotionally, to ease anxiety and promote relaxation.

Once pregnant

Acupuncture is recommended weekly through the first trimester, up to week 12/13 as there is a higher risk of miscarriage in IVF induced pregnancies. The treatment aims to support implantation and help promote a healthy pregnancy.

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