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, with several studies (but not all) showing acupuncture increases success rates with IVF treatment. Ideally patients will have a weekly visit with the acupuncturist for a month prior to their 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 have not left time for the lead-up treatment, using acupuncture on the day of transfer only, may improve your chances of a positive pregnancy outcome.
Naturopathy, Herbal Medicine and Supplements
There are a number of herbal medicines and supplements which may 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 Clinician has specifically advised you otherwise.
The use of hypnotherapy in conjunction with IVF treatment has also received some attention from researchers, and using hypnotherapy may increase IVF success rates. Hypnotherapy is also very useful in reducing stress levels. The number and timing of hypnotherapy appointments for IVF support and stress control vary from person to person depending on the individual stress levels being experienced. People using Hypnotherapy purely to enhance IVF success may only need one visit, usually conducted around 2-3 days prior to embryo transfer. People experiencing very high stress levels may be recommended several sessions.