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Acupuncture is central part of traditional Chinese medicine(TCM), an ancient system of medicine. In chinese medicine, it is believed that vital energy, called "Qi"(pronounced "chee"), flow through 20 pathways, or "meridians", which are connected by Acupuncture points. According to TCM, if Qi is blocked, the body cant function at its peak because of which all varying disease and problems starts in our body. The goal of Acupuncture is to open certain points on these pathways and release blocked Qi.
In vitro fertilisation (IVF) is a process by which egg cells are fertilized by sperm outside the womb, (in vitro). IVF is a major treatment in infertility when other methods of assisted reproductive technology have failed. The process involves hormonally controlling the ovulatory process, removing eggs from the woman's ovaries and letting sperm fertilize them in a fluid medium. The fertilized egg (zygote) is then transferred to the patient's uterus with the intent to establish successful pregnancy.
The IVF process starts with certain blood tests to check the woman’s womb, ovaries and hormone level and an ultrasound scan to check the lining of uterus and ovaries. A detailed sperm count is also carried out. Certain fertility injections and drugs are used to stimulate the ovaries to produce multiple eggs. The eggs are then recovered, and placed together with sperm in a special nutrient rich tube to achieve fertilization.
After fertilization, one to three embryos are either transferred inside the woman’s uterus to begin pregnancy or kept frozen for future use. The whole process is monitored by the Doctor himself to check the development of follicles and lining of the uterus. The IVF procedure gives approximately 30 - 35% pregnancy rate per cycle. Nearly 90% of the infertile couples can be successfully treated through IVF. This process is also made available in some cheap hospitals so that it suits all pockets without compromising on quality and results.
Infertility is deeply stressful and often touches every aspect of life. It causes isolation in the life of married couples. Women can achieve fertilization, even after their reproductive age, through In Vitro Fertilization. The IVF treatment is offered at many hospitals as an alternate solution to infertility. IVF procedure aims to replace stress and pains with a hand of friendship and support.
Four mechanisms by which it has been suggested that acupuncture improves IVF outcomes are:
Electro-acupuncture has been found to be a good alternative to conventional medical analgesia, it results in shorter hospitalisation times and lower costs.
A large number of clinical trials have been conducted around the world, which show that acupuncture can increase IVF pregnancy rates. It has also been demonstrated that acupuncture reduces anxiety related to infertility and the IVF.
Although men have a less active role to play during the IVF procedures, the sperm is every bit as important as the egg. While IVF embryologists can give a lot of help to sperm that are not so good at fertilising eggs by injecting them directly into the egg, they cannot improve the vitality of sperm. Clinical studies have shown that acupuncture can improve sperm quality , in particular morphology and motility
There are a number of acupuncture treatment options available to support you during your IVF cycle, to increase your chance of success and to improve how you feel. These range from just one or two treatments on the day of embryo transfer to a course of treatments leading up to that day, and beyond.