Choosing to get poked by more needles during Mini-IVF may sound like the last thing you’d want to do, but when it comes to acupuncture, there really is a point. Or two. Or dozens. Acupuncture has plenty of benefits (and thousands of years of history as proof!) with very few, if any, risks. And while nothing is guaranteed, regular treatments of precisely placed needles may offer you a beneficial boost when it comes to increasing the chances of a successful pregnancy.
Does acupuncture for fertility hurt? No.
If you’ve never had needles put into you outside of the doctor’s office or tattoo parlor, you might be hesitant to even consider acupuncture, because, well, needles typically are painful.
But: “One of the biggest misconceptions about acupuncture is that it hurts,” said Dr. Anne Davis, the Medical Director of Pearl Mini-IVF. “And I can say from personal experience, when I used acupuncture during my own fertility treatments, that it really doesn’t.”
In fact, it’s way less like getting a shot and way more like getting a massage. Part of the appeal of acupuncture, and a big part of why it can help improve fertility, is that having all those little tiny needles stuck millimeters deep into your skin can actually be extremely relaxing. (Be sure to check out our blog on reducing stress!)
Acupuncture reduces endorphins and relieves stress by stimulating deep nerve endings right below the skin.
Not to mention, it’s done in a quiet, warm space where there’s nothing for you to do but lay still and focus on your breath, body, and mind. (If meditation has never been your jam, you might find acupuncture demands you to chill out.)
The process of being still can be a transformative experience, and anything that helps you relax will always be beneficial when it comes to your fertility.
“The relaxation alone and the hour you spend on yourself has a huge benefit,” said Dr. Davis.
Can acupuncture really help with fertility?
The jury’s still out on whether acupuncture drastically improves the success rates of pregnancy during Mini-IVF, but studies have shown there’s virtually no harm in it (if done by a reputable person, not your neighbor—unless your neighbor is a certified acupuncturist).
There’s a very good chance it will help, even if it means simply lowering your stress levels, something we all could use these days.
Once a week is recommended, but remember that the goal is to reduce stress, not add.
If once a week appointments are too much to schedule or afford, every other week or even once a month can still make a difference.
Any time you set aside to focus on yourself is time well-spent. And relaxation while possibly improving your chances of getting pregnant? That’s definitely a win-win.
When should I do acupuncture during my IVF cycle?
You can do acupuncture before, during, and after an IVF cycle. You can even do a treatment on the day of your retrieval.
A lot of acupuncturists have specialized techniques to help hopefully increase blood flow to the uterus, which allows for better opportunities for the embryo to implant.
Who are the best acupuncturists for fertility in San Diego?
Pearl Mini-IVF in San Diego is actively setting up relationships with multiple acupuncturists in the area, so wherever you are, you’ll be able to find a great L.Ac. (Licensed Acupuncturist) that’s convenient for you.
How much does acupuncture for fertility cost?
In terms of cost, most acupuncturists will offer special packages that allow you to do a course of treatment as opposed to paying for individual sessions. Many also have sliding scales, and we at Pearl are happy to make recommendations to fit your budget.
What are the risks of acupuncture during an IVF cycle?
The only risk to really be aware of? Don’t do it if you don’t want to. “I wouldn’t recommend a patient force themselves to do acupuncture or be talked into it, because that’s going to increase stress, and then stress becomes the risk. This has to be something you want to do, that you’re excited about, and that you look forward to doing,” said Dr. Davis.
But if you’re curious about expertly placed needles barely penetrating your skin to help increase your chances of getting pregnant, there’s definitely a point.