Infertility is hard. You start with a heart full of hope and just a tingle of excitement as you decide that the time is finally right. As time goes on, spontaneity is replaced with planning, measuring and counting. Later still and your vocabulary is full of acronyms like IVF, IUI and ICSI, and you know that the words egg pick up don’t necessarily have anything to do with the supermarket. Even social media hashtags like #ttc and #2ww have become a comfortable second language.
The festive season can be a particularly difficult time if you are having trouble conceiving or have experienced pregnancy loss. Being surrounded by people, focussed on family, friendships and celebrations can be tough going when you are feeling disappointed and sometimes really sad.
Acupuncture and IVF Research Part 1: Blinding and ‘Sham’ Acupuncture
Recent media has reported on a research paper published in JAMA (Journal of the American Medical Association) concluding that acupuncture does not increase live birth rates for women undergoing IVF treatment[i]. As with most media, the tendency to sensationalize the headline over the substance means that the real story behind the research has been overlooked. Over the years research on acupuncture and IVF has returned mixed results[ii],[iii]. Many research studies on acupuncture and IVF have actually demonstrated statistically significant benefits from including acupuncture. Whether or not the effect comes from the acupuncture itself or some effect surrounding the application of the acupuncture is important from a scientific perspective, but may be less relevant from a clinical perspective. The positive response to acupuncture seems to be enhanced in women who are regarded as ‘poor responders’ to IVF making it even more important for this group. In comparison to the cost of an IVF cycle, the cost of acupuncture is small. Just because we don’t yet understand what creates the effect doesn’t negate the fact that there are very positive effects from combining acupuncture with IVF treatment.
Whether you’re just starting your fertility journey, have been trying for a while, or are going through IVF, a Fertility Support Consultation at Well2 is an important thing to do. This is a one-off session conducted by our Naturopath and will review your individual case, providing recommendations on your specific needs.