There is now a significant amount of research suggesting that complementary therapies can play an important role in increasing the success of fertility treatment. This research has examined both specific complementary therapies as well as the interplay between fertility and environmental and lifestyle factors.
The use of acupuncture in conjunction with IVF has been well researched, and it is now well accepted that acupuncture increases success rates with IVF treatment. Ideally patients will have a weekly visit with the acupuncturist on a weekly basis for a month prior to the embryo transfer taking place. This lead up to treatment assists with stress levels, provides the opportunity to familiarise with both the acupuncture treatment and the practitioner and allows the practitioner to correct any imbalances present. On the day of the embryo transfer two acupuncture treatments are conducted, one immediately prior to and one immediately after the transfer. In cases where there is a history of miscarriage one or two treatments in the weeks following may also be recommended. If you are about to begin your IVF cycle and haven’t left time for the lead up treatment, using acupuncture on the day of transfer only will still improve your chances of a positive pregnancy outcome.
Naturopathy, herbal medicine and supplements
There are a number of herbal medicines and supplements which can increase fertility, however it is important to be assessed and prescribed these as an individual as the same supplements can interfere with fertility if used incorrectly or if they are not appropriate to you as an individual. It is important to seek good advice if considering the use of herbal medicines or supplements in conjunction with IVF treatment as many herbal medicines and other supplements can interact with the drugs you will be prescribed as part of your IVF treatment. For this reason it is important to consult with a naturopath experienced in this area. Herbal medicines should only be used in between IVF cycles and must always be discontinued at the beginning of an IVF cycle unless your Fertility Specialist has specifically advised you otherwise.
Monash IVF partners with Bump Acupuncture and Nutrition. Bump specialises in fertility acupuncture and nutrition and also run 28 day online fertility lifestyle programs. To fine out more about Bump please visit their website. To find out more about the fertility lifestyle program click here.
The process of undergoing fertility treatment can be challenging and stressful. At Monash IVF we have a professional team of counsellors comprised of psychologists and social workers in both Victoria and Queensland. They work closely with other members of the team to maintain their scientific knowledge and to educate staff about the psychological aspects of infertility.
Counselling is available at all stages of the treatment process: before, during and after a treatment cycle. It can be helpful to address issues around decision making, dealing with disappointment and grief and learning strategies for coping.
Many people are reluctant to access counselling as they associate it with having a crisis, at Monash IVF we encourage people to use our services as we like to work on a model of prevention and assist people with strategies to prepare for any difficult situation that may arise.