A Closer Look at Acupuncture for Fertility vs. IVF
Acupuncture for fertility is an alternative medicine that may be used alongside other infertility treatments to increase the chances of conceiving.
At Houston Fertility Center, Dr. Sonja B. Kristiansen offers IVF and acupuncture to give those who have had difficulty conceiving the greatest chances of becoming pregnant. Dr. Kristiansen offers both treatments individually or together depending on the unique needs of each patient.
Here, Dr. Kristiansen explains acupuncture for fertility versus IVF at her practice in Houston, TX to help determine the best treatment plan for each patient. Contact Houston Fertility Center to find out which treatment is right for you.
Increasing Fertility with Acupuncture and IVF
The reproductive system is driven by hormones regulated by the endocrine system. Issues with infertility can arise when the hormones are unbalanced or from other medical conditions.
For some, a continuously high level of stress is enough to throw this delicate balance off, making it difficult to conceive. Others may have different conditions, such as polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), that causes the reproductive hormones to become unbalanced.
Through acupuncture for fertility and IVF, or in vitro fertilization, it may be possible to address hormonal issues, increase fertility, and successfully conceive.
Let's take a moment to learn more about each treatment.
Acupuncture for Fertility
Acupuncture for fertility is a form of holistic medicine that is administered by inserting very fine tipped needles into key areas of the body determined to be the location of imbalances. When the needles enter specific areas of the body, it is believed that blood flow will increase within the tissues and stimulate the endocrine glands to release necessary hormones.
When used for fertility, acupuncture aims to specifically increase blood flow to the reproductive organs, decrease stress, and help balance reproductive hormones.
Increasing blood flow to the reproductive organs is believed to help improve egg health and possibly lead to healthier, thicker uterine linings. Additionally, balancing the hormones may help with ovulation, the process through which eggs are released from the ovaries for fertilization.
In Vitro Fertilization
In vitro fertilization, or IVF, is an infertility treatment in which the egg is fertilized outside of the body through a multi-step process.
IVF begins with hyperstimulating the ovaries through a series of medications given to encourage the release of multiple eggs instead of only one, as is most common during ovulation.
Once the eggs have matured, they are gathered from the ovaries using a long needle inserted into the vagina. The harvested eggs are prepared and sperm collected from the woman's partner or a donor are prepared as well.
Next, the sperm and eggs are combined to allow for fertilization. The fertilized eggs are monitored and any resulting embryos are incubated for up to five days. One or more embryos are then transferred into the uterus. If successful, pregnancy will follow.
Acupuncture Alone Cannot Treat the Same Issues as IVF
When considering acupuncture for fertility versus in vitro fertilization, it is important to understand that acupuncture performed alone cannot overcome all infertility issues. For instance, women who have had difficulty becoming pregnant due to such conditions as endometriosis, pelvic inflammatory disease, and polycystic ovary syndrome may not rely solely on acupuncture for their infertility.
For women with such conditions, IVF often provides their best option for successfully conceiving.
With that said, many women, including those with endometriosis, pelvic inflammatory disease, and polycystic ovary syndrome, can benefit from combining acupuncture for fertility with IVF.
Acupuncture is a good complement to IVF treatment because it may increase fertility by reducing stress and stress-related hormones, as well as increase blood flow to the reproductive organs.
Learn More about Your Treatment Options
If you would like to learn more about infertility treatments, or find out which treatment is right for you, please call (713) 862-6181 to schedule a consultation with Dr. Kristiansen.