Is Acupuncture worth it for IVF? — The Bump
Infertility

Is Acupuncture worth it for IVF?

Hi everyone! My first egg transfer is scheduled for the beginning of November so I just had my first acupuncture treatment. I've read that the best results come from someone getting treatment 1-2 x a week. If you did acupuncture, how often did you go? If I go every week that's a $1,000 price tag on top of the already expensive IVF treatments. Is it really worth it? I'm so torn. Acupuncture is supposed to relieve stress, but this is stressing me out.

Re: Is Acupuncture worth it for IVF?

  • ttc3yttc3y member
    @knottie… I found an acupuncturist who uses the community acupuncture financial model. I would see her and pay $30/ session. Basically you share a big dimmed room with other patients and lie on recliners. The chairs are socially distanced and everyone wears a mask for treatment during COVID. The needles would go on your head, limbs, or upper chest. She never required us to remove clothing. 

    I hired another acupuncturist on the day of the transfer who did the Paulus protocol. He came to the clinic for pre and post treatment. He cost $250 for the trip and two sessions.

    I would recommend googling “community acupuncture near me” to find an acupuncturist who offers an affordable financial model. Finding my acupuncturist who is affordable definitely made things easier for me to go 1-2x/week during the 3 years we were dealing with our fertility issues. I hope this helps. 
    atlgagrl
  • Do check with your insurance as well, some will cover acupuncture. But along with so many other things (herbs, various diet changes, etc.), I don't think acupuncture has a strong, scientifically backed correlation with success. It's one of those things that you may want to do to feel like you did "everything", but it's not necessary. I spent years going to infertility support groups and hearing about the fertility acupuncture, the Chinese medicine shipped in, eating pineapple core but no gluten, and so on and so on that everyone was trying. Sometimes it made them feel better (we got one more egg this time! My embryo was a slightly higher grade!), but personally it sounded to me like very expensive placebos and I saw those same women month after month, just as much as those who didn't do those things. Some doctors will give you a list with their protocol and will have various supplements and lifestyle requirements, others have much less. You can read the scientific research to see what's actually supported by evidence (Google scholar is a good place to start looking), and decide from there what you need to do for yourself and your own peace of mind. Acupuncture is one thing that's low risk, can be relaxing, and can be affordable if insurance covers it or there's a community practice near you. Do the things you want to do and don't worry about the others.

    For reference, I went through 7 years of infertility, trying some natural treatments, surgery for endometriosis, and all the charting and OPKs with no luck. Eventually, we did IVF when I was 41 years old. The only supplements and such I was asked to do was vitamin D (I am clinically deficient), a probiotic, and prenatals, zero other lifestyle changes other than the meds and procedures for IVF and standard precautions with that. Even at 41, with 7 years of infertility and endometriosis, and no acupuncture or CoQ10 or whatever else people take, our IVF worked on the first try.

    So, is it necessary? Absolutely not. But if you feel like it is something you want to try because it might tip the scales that much more in your direction, or if you're always going to wonder (if the IVF doesn't work) if it only would have worked if you'd tried X, then go for it. Think about it this way: if the IVF doesn't work (and yes, you just lost tens of thousands of dollars), would you feel better knowing you tried acupuncture (and yes, lost those thousands, too), or would you feel like you "wasted" a cycle because you didn't spend that extra bit on the acupuncture? If it doesn't work, which will you regret more- not doing acupuncture, or spending that money and still not having success?
    atlgagrl
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  • ttc3yttc3y member
    @00kim00 I’m sorry to hear that your fertility journey was so difficult and long and acupuncture was not effective for you. 

    I will say that the Paulus protocol does have good evidence base to support an IVF embryo transfer. 

    As for acupuncture helping fertility in other ways, I found that acupuncture helped me regulate my cycles at multiples points in my life. (Pun quasi intended…ha ha) However, that is my personal experience and I don’t have as much science evidence based to back that up as much. Ultimately, we had to do IVF because we were also dealing with male factor infertility and there is not a lot of natural or conventional solutions to help with that. But I consistently used acupuncture throughout our fertility journey and felt was a corner stone to our success. I’m happy to report that after our first transfer, we are successfully pregnant at 12 weeks and 3 days today. 
    atlgagrl
  • Wow, very insightful perspectives while disagreeing and respecting other point of view. 
    I wish everyone can discuss topics like this on internet.
  • alp63alp63 Newbie
    edited August 26
    I had acupuncture during ivf. My friend who did the same thing recommended someone who specialized in fertility. She loves it!
    I had the same issue as you where it was too expensive. Thankfully a friend, who is a newly licensed acupuncturist, gave me some advice - she said to go to any acupuncturist in your network that you like. All acupuncturists can perform fertility treatment because acupuncture is about balancing the body. Then I got mine done for cheap because I found someone in-network.

    Whether it works -- acupuncture had help me regulate my cycle many years ago. For fertility usually they need 2 months lead time to help fix any imbalance in your body. If you are already doing IVF then they will help support the implantation. I went once a week for an hour. Another acupuncturist requested twice a week because it was 30min sessions.
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