Doing acupuncture pre and post ET is currently one of the most studied, publicised and well-known form of acupuncture application in infertility treatment. However, by far, it is not the only one.
The protocols for using acupuncture and herbal medicine to support fertility treatment are clearly explained in a book titled Acupuncture & IVF by Lifang Liang (see Resource – Book – Infertility). Treatments complementary to IVF involve three phases: Pre-IVF, During IVF and Post-IVF.
In the Pre-IVF phase, weekly acupuncture is recommended for at least three months to alleviate the side effects of medical treatments, increase the response to hormonal stimulation and improve the patient’s reproductive organs and overall health.
In the 2nd phase, for the duration of the IVF treatment, weekly acupuncture plus pre & post transfer acupuncture is recommended. This will increase blood flow to the uterus and ovaries, reduce the stress response caused by IVF and calm the uterus to facilitate implantation.
In the Post-IVF phase, weekly acupuncture for up to three months is recommended for pregnant patients to reduce their risk of miscarriage and ectopic pregnancy. It is essential for patients with a history of miscarriage and ectopic pregnancy to receive treatment during this phase.
In my clinical practice, the above protocol can easily be modified to accommodate just about any Assisted Reproductive Technologies, such as IVF and IUI procedure.