SPECIALTY : FERTILITY
If you’re looking for expert holistic treatment and guidance for fertility concerns; EAST Acupuncture & Integrative Medicine is a calm and supportive place with specialized treatment for men and women provided by Dr. Vanessa Stretton. Dr. Stretton has been helping people become parents since 2010!
The fertility journey can be one of the hardest paths to walk in life.
It can be filled with disappointment, heartbreak, jealousy, shame, and feelings of failure and inadequacy.
Though challenging, it can be a positive experience when you have a good team and support system.
Dr. Stretton’s approach is self-empowering, compassionate, and supportive in a holistic way; body, mind, and spirit.
Traditional East Asian Medicine can be used to help ready your body, mind, and spirit for conception and parenthood. It can be used in conjunction with artificial reproductive therapy (ART) like IUI (intrauterine insemination), IVF (in vitro fertilization), and gestational carriers/surrogates.
Whether you’ve been trying to conceive for several months to a year, have suffered pregnancy loss, or are preparing for embryo transfer, EAST Acupuncture & Integrative Medicine can be a helpful and hopeful place for you to achieve your goals.
Acupuncture & IVF
Acupuncture is a great complement to assisted reproductive technology (ART). Ideally, patients would prepare for ART treatment 3-6 months before embarking on an egg retrieval cycle to allow time to positively impact egg quality, sperm quality, and correct health imbalances (and in some cases try to conceive). By improving your fertility and overall health you may have improved outcomes and decrease chances of having to do multiple rounds of IVF.
Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine Improves: egg quality, sperm quality, overall health. It decreases stress, regulates menstruation and increases chances of success
One of the ways acupuncture helps with fertility is by increasing blood flow to the pelvis. Here's an article from the journal Human Reproduction. Acupuncture also helps fertility by decreasing sympathetic activity, in other words, turning off the stress response, also referred to as “fight or flight.” This is the same physiological response whether you’re running from a tiger or stressed about work. Acupuncture stimulates parasympathetic activity, also referred to as “rest-digest-reproduce-heal.” It’s amazing what our bodies are capable of, when not under stress.
But I only have one month!
I already had an egg retrieval, can acupuncture still help?
Yes! Some acupuncture is better than none. Acupuncture can increase chances of success with IVF even if you only receive treatment for one month prior to embryo transfer, or you only receive acupuncture on the day of embryo transfer. Click here to book a Day of Embryo Transfer appointment.
If you already have embryos, then acupuncture treatment is directed at preparing the womb and overall health for successful conception and healthy pregnancy.
Preparing for Egg Retrieval
CMAP (Cridennda Magarelli Acupuncture Protocol) is recommended twice weekly for 4 weeks leading up to embryo transfer and on the day of embryo transfer.
CMAP is a combination of 2 acupuncture protocols that were developed, studied and shown to be effective in increasing blood flow to the pelvis and pregnancy rates following embryo transfer.
This type of treatment is just one approach we can take if you’d like to do everything you can to increase your chances of success. A treatment plan can be customized to your specific preferences, goals, and timeline.
Day of Embryo Transfer
Acupuncture on the day of embryo transfer promotes relaxation of the mind and cervix and improves chances of pregnancy. Using the protocol developed and studied by Paulus et al. (2006), increases pregnancy rates by 16.2% overall.
If you’ve already had an egg retrieval, acupuncture becomes an aid to support a hospitable environment for conception and can be a valuable tool for supporting pregnancy in the first trimester and beyond. Preconception wellness is strongly recommended.
Ensuring the thickness of endometrial lining can be especially important if you have a history of thin endometrial lining, cancelled embryo transfers, pregnancy loss, or just want to do everything possible to increase your chances of conception.
Thickness of the endometrial lining is monitored by your Reproductive Endocrinologist (RE) leading up to egg retrieval. During this time of the cycle, acupuncture and or electroacupuncture 1 – 2 times per week for 2 - 4 weeks prior to embryo transfer are used to promote adequate thickness of the endometrium to support embryo implantation and pregnancy. If you have a history of thin endometrial lining, it is advised to begin acupuncture treatment at least 4 weeks before your scheduled embryo transfer.
Weekly treatment in the first trimester may decrease the risk of miscarriage by 50%.
Patients are generally treated once per week in the first trimester. During this part of the pregnancy, treatment is focused on supporting the pregnancy as well as the person carrying the baby/babies. Symptoms such as headaches, nausea, pain, anxiety, constipation, insomnia and more, can be helped naturally with acupuncture and or Chinese herbal medicine.
Treatment beyond the first trimester is encouraged at an interval based on individual needs.