IVF & IUI Support
If you are undergoing procedures like Intrauterine Insemination (IUI) or In Vitro Fertilization(IVF), you want the most successful outcome. As a naturopath, I can help prepare your body for these procedures and ensure the best results.
How to Support IUI & IVF
Here are 3 tips that your fertility clinic may not offer to increase your chances of IVF success.
There is plentiful evidence that acupuncture enhances the outcome of IVF treatments.
How Does Acupuncture Help IVF?
The research suggests that it:
- reduces the risk of miscarriage
- may improve implantation and
- reduces the risk of ectopic pregnancy.
What is Acupuncture for IVF Like?
Acupuncture is relatively painless, and 100% safe if done by a qualified naturopathic doctor. The procedure involves the insertion of very fine, sterile needles in acupuncture points that support your reproductive organs. From a Chinese Medicine standpoint, acupuncture moves the qi (pronounced chee) or energy. Moving qi to the various organs improves their function. In this case, we are helping the reproductive organs by stimulating them directly with the needles. Also, we can stimulate your immune system to optimize the health of those organs.
What is the Cost for Fertility Acupuncture?
After your initial 75 minute visit ($240), acupuncture visits are $85 and last about 45 minutes.
Fertility clinics may offer this as part of their IVF protocol.
When Should You Do IVF Acupuncture?
I recommend treatment once per week for 6 weeks leading up to an IVF cycle and once within 24 hours before and once the day of the embryo transfer. Acupuncture on the day of the retrieval has not shown any additional benefit. Even if I’m not scheduled or my schedule is full, I make myself available for acupuncture before and after the embryo transfer since those treatments are time-sensitive.
A proper diet enhances your fertility efforts. Your diet can influence the overall function of your ovaries and their response to IVF drugs.
Antioxidants like vitamin A, C, E, zinc, selenium, CoQ10, and alpha-lipoic acid work together to prevent free radical damage and protect DNA. Antioxidants work in a sort of domino effect. That is, vitamin C may work on a free radical, and then vitamin E will work on the product of that and so on down the line of antioxidants. Missing even one part of the chain can result in incomplete neutralization of a free radical, leaving harmful free radicals in circulation that damage DNA and both eggs and sperm.
As well as being an antioxidant, CoQ10 helps your mitochondria work better. These are the energy powerhouses of your cells. CoQ10 is found in many foods, but particularly meat (muscle) and heart.
A high glycemic index and high glycemic load foods will create a hormonal environment that is not conducive to healthy egg development.
Folic acid is important to protect DNA from genetic mutations that cause problems like neural tube defects and cleft palate. Food sources of folic acid include dark green leafy vegetables. However, up to 60% of the population can’t convert folic acid from supplements or food sources into the active form of folic acid (5MTHF). So these people may fail to get the benefit of taking it. In fact, high levels of circulating inactive folic acid have been found to have the opposite effect and promote genetic mutations.
In the patients I work with for fertility this is huge! The whole infertility process is inherently stressful as is IUI & IVF. Stress is one of the biggest fertility killers there is because it triggers a whole cascade of blood sugar, stress hormone, and reproductive hormone imbalance.
Stress reduction techniques like yoga, meditation, breathing exercise, tai chi, massage therapy, psychotherapy, adrenal gland support, and acupuncture relieve stress and improve fertility outcomes.
What Else Can I Provide for IUI & IVF Support?
Lots! Making a body ready for pregnancy means optimal hormone levels, reducing oxidative stress, supporting the entire endocrine system, and helping you feel confident that you can do this. I have had several patients who decided to forego invasive treatment and then went on to have a healthy pregnancy naturally too!
I have been providing IUI & IVF support for women undergoing these procedures since 1999, increasing the odds of having a healthy pregnancy and a healthy baby.
For help with this or any other health problem, book an appointment here or call the clinic for more information at 416-481-0222.
by Dr. Pamela Frank, BSc(Hons), ND
Dr. Pamela has practiced as a naturopathic doctor in Toronto since 1999. She has received numerous “Best Naturopath in Toronto” awards. She is registered with the College of Naturopaths of Ontario.
Dr. Pamela Frank uses a natural treatment approach that may include acupuncture, herbal medicine, nutrition, diet, vitamins, supplements, and other natural remedies to restore balance and provide long-term resolution to almost any health problem.
Natural Treatment in IUI & IVF: A Sample of the Research
Vitamin D level is associated with IVF outcomes possibly derived by T-cell immunity, particularly Th/Tc ratios. Source: Am J Reprod Immunol. 2018 Dec;80(6):e13050. DOI: 10.1111/aji.13050. Epub 2018 Oct 6. Vitamin D level affects IVF outcome partially mediated via Th/Tc cell ratio.
Wu L1, Kwak-Kim J2,3, Zhang R1, Li Q1, Lu FT1, Zhang Y1, Wang HY1, Zhong LW1, Liu YS1.
Our observation leads to the hypothesis that the oral supplementation of CoQ10 may improve follicular fluid oxidative metabolism and oocyte quality, especially in over 35-year-old women. Source: Antioxidants (Basel). 2018 Oct 13;7(10). pii: E141. DOI: 10.3390/antiox7100141.
CoQ10 Supplementation in Patients Undergoing IVF-ET: The Relationship with Follicular Fluid Content and Oocyte Maturity.
Giannubilo SR1, Orlando P2, Silvestri S3, Cirilli I4, Marcheggiani F5, Ciavattini A6, Tiano L7.
We found that serum AMH and DHEAS levels were positively correlated with the number of mature oocytes, fertilized oocytes, and developed embryos, both in pregnant and in non-pregnant patients. Gynecol Endocrinol. 2015 Feb;31(2):125-30. DOI: 10.3109/09513590.2014.964639. Epub 2014 Sep 26.
Ovarian and adrenal androgens may be useful markers to predict oocyte competence and embryo development in older women.
Ferrario M1, Secomandi R, Cappato M, Galbignani E, Frigerio L, Arnoldi M, Fusi FM.