Monday, October 25, 2010

Fertility: Acupuncture and IVF

Karen Reynolds, an acupuncturist at Balance Restored Center for Integrative Medicine in Mill Valley, CA and also a member of our advisory board writes our guest blog today on the topic of acupuncture with IVF. Thank you, Karen! Here it is:

As an acupuncturist and herbalist in Mill Valley, CA specializing in fertility, I often receive questions about how acupuncture helps women struggling with infertility. Recent research shows that women undergoing fertility treatment who receive acupuncture have improved reproductive outcomes. In the last 14 years, there have been many publications and studies on acupuncture in scientific, peer-reviewed journals. Two of the best-known studies were done in 1996 by Stener-Victorin and then by Paulus, et al in 2002.
The Stener-Victorin study showed that the resistance of uterine artery blood flow reduced following electro-acupuncture. This mechanism is of great value in allowing for an egg to implant more easily. The Paulus study showed that In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) patients treated before and after embryo transfer demonstrated improved pregnancy outcomes.

Since 2003 the acupuncturist, Diane K. Cridennda, and reproductive endocrinologist, Dr. Paul C. Magarelli, MD, PhD have conducted 5 studies combining acupuncture and ART (Assisted Reproductive Techniques). Their amazing research shows that with acupuncture, poor prognosis patients are more likely to fall pregnant, have lower miscarriage rates, fewer ectopic pregnancies, fewer multiple pregnancies, and more take-home babies than without acupuncture.

The research also shows that women have a greater sense of active control and involvement by adding acupuncture to their ART. Acupuncture will add an estimated 15% more pregnancies to an IVF series, which can make the difference in couple creating a family. Reducing miscarriages, ectopics and multiples is precious to a woman’s health and reduces health care costs and risks.

We know that acupuncture improves how the brain communicates with the reproductive organs and we also know it helps regulate stress hormones and induces relaxation. Acupuncture also increases nutrients and blood flow to the uterus and helps to balance hormones. All these elements are important to conception.

I do hope that providing some insight into the research and science behind using acupuncture in conjunction with ART has been helpful. In my practice women consistently share with me that acupuncture helps them weather the side effects of IVF medications more easily, calms their mind and spirit, and gives them a sense of well-being amid what is a storm in life when falling pregnant is a challenge.

Karen Reynolds specializes in the treatment of both male and female fertility, women’s health, and functional endocrinology. Drawing from her 22 years of experience as an ICU RN, she makes extensive use of lab testing, acupuncture, Chinese herbs, antioxidants, dietary changes and nutritional supplementation to optimize health, wellness and vitality for the amazing women and men who she has the great honor to treat.

If you have questions, please feel free to contact her at: or at 415.381.8500 Ext. 4. Also see her blog for additional information:

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