When you are struggling to conceive you start to try every single crazy thing that could help you get pregnant – green tea to increase your fertile cervical mucus, red raspberry leaf tea for increase your uterine lining – pomegranate juice, more vitamins, more supplements, eating special food, avoiding certain things, changing your personal care items, changing your cleaning supplies and food storage containers – pretty much, you name it, someone struggling to conceive has tried it. One thing that comes up frequently is acupuncture for infertility. If you look it up on Google you will find testimonials from people that claim that they got pregnant shortly after starting acupuncture, so I decided to look in to it.
First, I was very practical and looked up how much an acupuncture session would cost and if this would be covered by either mine or my husband’s insurance. Acupuncture sessions vary in cost from $60-$150+, so it’s not cheap. My insurance will cover $500 of acupuncture, at 80% per visit and my husband’s will cover 20 sessions at 80%, so it won’t cost me too much to try acupuncture.
I then started researching if it’s actually going to improve my chances of getting pregnant with IVF. I’m not a fan of needles so the idea of paying someone to stick needles into me when it isn’t medically necessary wasn’t appealing.
There were a lot of papers on PubMed discussing acupuncture and IVF. I decided to just focus on review articles because I’m very busy being a post-doc and didn’t have time to go through each study individually. I was actually surprised by the research that I found. While the results are inconsistent, the overall conclusion is that acupuncture has no positive or negative impact on IVF success rates up to acupuncture in combination with Traditional Chinese Medicine having a 2-fold or more increase in IVF success rates. Based on this alone, I was sold. If we’re already paying $10,000+ for IVF, we might as well take advantage of our insurance coverage and pay about $15/week to try to increase the odds of success.