IVF treatment and acupuncture

The success of IVF treatment depends on whether the embryo is attached to the uterus or not. Many supportive treatments recommended to increase the success of IVF treatment are also aimed at this purpose. Acupuncture, a traditional Chinese treatment method, is one of these supportive treatments. The effectiveness of using acupuncture as a supportive treatment in IVF treatment, like most supportive treatments, has not been scientifically proven. While there are studies that argue that the use of acupuncture as a supportive treatment in IVF applications increases pregnancy and live birth rates, there are also studies that argue that it has no effect.


Acupuncture treatment;

3-4 months before IVF treatment,
Once a week from the start of IVF treatment to the transfer,
Embryo transfer day,
1-2 times in the 2-week period when the pregnancy test result is expected,
In vitro fertilization, especially in patients who have had a miscarriage before within the first 12 weeks of their pregnancy,
can be applied in different periods.
But most common day of embryo transfer; It is preferred to apply 2 times, half an hour before and half an hour after the transfer.

It is argued that the beneficial effects of acupuncture are through the following mechanisms:

-Reducing stress by increasing the production of morphine derivative-opioid substance in the body,

Increasing the release of GnRH by regulating the release of certain substances in the brain such as -ß-endorphin and serotonin, and as a result, secreting gonadotropin and ovarian hormones,

– By reducing the sympathetic activity in the uterus, reducing the resistance in the uterine vessels, increasing the uterine blood flow and providing relaxation in the uterus.
It has been determined that acupuncture applied to SP(spleen)6, SP8, SP10, ST(stomach)29, ST36 application points increases uterine blood supply. It is known that uterine contraction during embryo transfer increases the probability of embryos being expelled from the uterus and therefore reduces pregnancy rates. It is believed that if the transfer time of acupuncture is done, it increases pregnancy rates by reducing these contractions in the uterus.

Conversely, there are studies that show that acupuncture does not reduce uterine contractions. Moreover, although there is relaxation in the uterus; Embryo implantation takes place within 2-5 days after transfer. It is also unclear whether the beneficial effect of acupuncture persists from the time of transfer to embryo implantation.

As a result; In the perspective of evidence-based medicine, it is premature to make a final decision as there is not enough information about the benefit of using acupuncture in IVF treatments. As with most alternative treatments, it would be the most rational way to look critically at the use of acupuncture in IVF treatment, to warn patients that there is no miraculous benefit, and to wait for the knowledge to be gained after the studies to be done.

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