Sunshine Coast Integrative IVF Support
A state of good fertility signals that you’re in an optimally healthy state. However, fertility rates are declining, with fertility challenges currently affecting one in six couples in Australia.
There are many reasons for this – environmental factors, stress, as well as food and lifestyle choices – there are a multitude of possibilities as to why it is taking longer than expected for you and your partner to conceive.
At the end of the day, 3 simple things lead to conception:
A healthy egg, healthy sperm and a healthy uterine environment.
For some couples, Assisted Reproductive Technologies (ART) such as IVF are the best option to get all 3 parts of the equation to meet. If this is you, you’re not alone – in 2016, the University of New South Wales reported 74,357 IVF cycles performed across Australia, with an average success rate (judged by live birth rate) of 17.9%.
At Bloom Chinese Medicine, optimising your fertility potential is our biggest passion. We believe it is essential to leave no stone unturned in discovering the root cause of your delayed conception, and are passionate about working with you to improve your chances of conception.
Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) and acupuncture have been used for decades as an adjunct to IVF, GIFT, IUI, ICSI and other ART procedures to increase successful outcomes. Our practitioners are experienced in working with couples who are trying to conceive, either naturally or with the assistance ART (including IVF), to help improve their odds as much as possible.
Already doing IVF?
Chances are, if you’re currently going through IVF, you’re probably well down the road in your fertility journey. We can help to support you throughout the entire IVF process, helping you to understand each part of your treatment and they ways we can assist. We aim to help you feel empowered, educated and informed in your journey through the world of IVF. The IVF process can be physically, mentally and emotionally challenging, and our regular appointments can help you to relax, refocus and dissolve any feelings of overwhelm that can accompany the process. At each stage, we take into account which stage of the IVF cycle you are at, and address any specific needs of that day, whilst reconnecting you with a sense of balance and calm.
At Bloom Chinese Medicine, we approach fertility & IVF support with a comprehensive and integrative view. We strive to incorporate the best empirically-tested aspects of Traditional Chinese medicine and the more mainstream, conventional Western Medicine. We combine test results, scans and charts with your overall unique picture of symptoms to assess and assist you as best we can. Our practitioners are highly trained in the areas of fertility & assisted fertility treatments.
Wherever possible, we recommend undertaking a pre-IVF preparation period of at least 3-4 months to help address any underlying issues and prepare your body for the IVF cycle. See the research below for validation on why we recommend taking this time – it really does make a difference! We focus on improving the quality of the egg and sperm, and improving the overall quality of health of YOU to naturally improve your fertility & your chances of conception. Exactly how long this takes depends on your state of health and any other factors that may be affecting your fertility.
Whilst taking home a gorgeous newborn baby is clearly a key outcome of your treatments, it’s important to note that there are many other benefits of treatment at Bloom that go beyond the pregnancy rates and live birth rates, such as reduced anxiety levels and a greater ability to cope with the stress that comes along with IVF. The effect of this cannot be understated and can make the world of difference.
Here’s what Monash IVF have to say in regards to acupuncture and IVF:
In preparation for an IVF cycle, acupuncture may assist in regulating hormones, improving the menstrual cycle and promoting ovulation whilst relieving stress by working on the central nervous system. When undertaking IVF, some acupuncturists suggest a short treatment prior to and immediately after an embryo transfer with a hope to increase the chances of implantation… because acupuncture may serve to relax the uterus at the time of transfer. Because IVF treatments can be a stressful and emotional time for women and couples, acupuncture may assist in alleviating stress and allow your body to function at its best possible health.
What Does the Research Say?
Acupuncture’s role in IVF support has been widely studied, in many different women over many different circumstances. A few of the studies have been outlined below for you to peruse.
A 2019 review found the following:
- Acupuncture may significantly benefit the outcome of IVF cycles in terms of both clinical pregnancy rates AND live birth rates.
- Acupuncture is most effective when there are multiple treatments in the months prior to the IVF cycle, rather than just pre and post transfer acupuncture
- Greater benefits are seen when your acupuncturist selects points tailored to your individual constitution – NOT using a pre-prescribed treatment protocol
- Benefits seem to be greater in women who have undergone multiple IVF cycles
This study also mentions how acupuncture appears to work via the stress-relieving and psychosocial benefits. It has a significant anxiety-reducing effect and has potential benefits like increasing uterine blood flow, endogenous endorphins and cytokines. Overall, the review concludes that acupuncture is a low-risk intervention that couples should know about to support their IVF cycles.
A 2008 meta-analysis found that acupuncture appeared to improve rates of pregnancy and live birth in 1366 women undergoing IVF. Acupuncture on the day of embryo transfer was compared with sham acupuncture and no additional treatment, and found that “combining real acupuncture with embryo transfer was associated with significant improvements in clinical pregnancy rate. Women who underwent acupuncture were 65% more likely to have a successful embryo transfer procedure, and 91% more likely to have a live birth”.
In addition, the British Medical Journey (BMJ) has stated that “adding acupuncture to IVF improved pregnancy rates more than any other recent improvement or advance in IVF technology”. These findings were followed up in 2019, with the added benefit noted that the real acupuncture group had fewer incidences of miscarriage.
Another great study performed in 2015 outlines the difference between the pre- and post-transfer treatments versus an entire course of individualised treatment (called whole systems TCM) in 1231 women. Whole Systems TCM simply referred to the kind of treatment you get from an acupuncturist in the real world (including herbs, supplements, lifestyle advice etc) as opposed to in a laboratory setting. Whole Systems TCM resulted in increased liver birth rate in all IVF cycle types compared to acupuncture just on the day of transfer, and no acupuncture at all. Whole-Systems TCM was also associated with fewer biochemical pregnancies.
A Quick Run Down of the IVF Process
If you are yet to begin your IVF journey and are unsure how it all works, here is a quick run-down in its most simplistic form:
- Stimulation of your ovaries to produce follicles
- Extraction of eggs from the follicles & retrieval of sperm
- Fertilisation, either by placing both sperm and egg together to let fertilisation happen spontaneously, or a procedure called intra-cytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) in which an individual sperm is picked out and injected directly into the egg.
- Incubation of the developing embryo
- Embryo transfer – placing the embryo in the uterus, where it can implant and grow (if successful)
- The two-week wait before your blood test, when you will find out if the cycle was successful or not.
Acupuncture at Each Phase of the IVF Process
While some research focuses on acupuncture just at the time of embryo transfer, we find that so much more can be achieved when treatments are undertaken regularly. Here is how we generally approach treatment throughout your IVF cycle.
- Before your cycle and during the stimulation/medication phase: We often recommend 1 treatment per week prior to the start of your IVF cycle, and during the stimulation phase. Clinical trials have shown acupuncture to:
- After egg collection: one treatment a day or two after egg collection may help to reduce any discomfort, bloating or tissue inflammation, and help to prepare your body for the transfer.
- On the day of transfer: at least one treatment on the day of transfer (some people prefer to do both pre- and post-transfer treatments).
- 4-7 days after transfer: this treatment is done to offer implantation support (how long after transfer depends on the age of the embryo when implanted)
- During the two week wait: one or two treatments between transfer and the test may help to reduce anxiety, calm the mind and keep your stress levels low.
- Overall: all throughout your IVF cycle, acupuncture may be helpful to manage any side effects of the medication and procedures. Symptoms such as fatigue, stress, abdominal bloating and discomfort are all common complaints during IVF. Acupuncture may also help to reduce stress and help women have greater resilience at this time.
We pride ourselves on our integrative approach to fertility and collaborate with other health professionals to provide you with the best holistic and personalised care. As a holistic Chinese Medicine clinic, we incorporate a wide array of techniques in clinic. We also refer out to our extensive network of medical and allied health professionals, when we think it will help.
Who would benefit from preconception care & IVF Support at Bloom Chinese Medicine?
- healthy single women or couples (including same sex couples!) who want to give their baby the best possible start to life
- women and couples who have been diagnosed with either primary or secondary infertility including issues with sperm quality, anovulation, amenorrhoea etc
- women and couples who have suffered one or more miscarriage
- women and couples already undertaking IVF or ART treatment who are looking for a healthy complement to improve their chances
At the end of the day, every human being is different. If you would like to find out how we may be able to help in your unique situation, please contact us below.
Maroochydore Sunshine Coast Fertility Acupuncture & Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM)
At Bloom Chinese Medicine, we believe in an integrate approach to health and wellbeing. That’s why we combine Traditional Chinese Medicine techniques like acupuncture, Chinese Herbal medicine, moxibustion and cupping with a modern approach involving blood tests, charts, nutritional analysis & supplementation, and other techniques to get to the bottom of your health & fertility concerns and heal you from the root cause. At all times, we endeavour to work in with you and your healthcare providers.
Bloom Chinese Medicine is an integrative Chinese medicine and acupuncture clinic committed to providing the best outcomes for our patients, and empowering them along their journey to optimal fertility and wellness. Centrally located in Maroochydore on the Sunshine Coast, we have visitors from local suburbs and all over Queensland. Proudly servicing Maroochydore, Mooloolaba, Alexandra Headland, Buderim, Buddina, Kawana, Minyama, Parrearra, Warana, Birtinya, Bokarina, Wurtulla, Little Mountain, Caloundra, Aroona, Bells Creek, Meridian Plains, Palmview, Sippy Downs, Mountain Creek, Kuluin, Kunda Park, Diddillibah, Twin Waters, Pacific Paradise, Mudjimba, Marcoola, Bli Bli, Coolum, Yaroomba, Yandina, Ninderry, Valdora, Peregian Springs, Peregian Beach, Doonan, Noosaville, Noosa, Noosaville, Tewantin, Doonan, and Nambour.