I believe the highest quality of care and success comes from utilizing the best of both worlds and bridging the gap between Eastern & Western medicine in order to best support you in growing your family. Together we will create a clear path of support to maximize egg quality, uterine environment, and hormonal balance.
Preparing You for What's Next
Acupuncture treatment may commence at any time, but starting 3 months before any ART (assisted reproductive technology) cycle is the ideal. It takes 90 days for primordial follicles to develop in preparation for ovulating each month and within their journey the quality of these developing eggs can greatly benefit from positive influences. Our goal is to create a vibrant program to optimize egg health in the 3 month lead up. This involves arming you with a nutrient dense diet, quality supplements, the right forms of movement, regular acupuncture, customized herbal formulas, and a guide for cleaning up your home of endocrine disrupting chemicals. This plan also allows for ample time to deal with any apparent hormonal imbalances, which can greatly interfere with how you respond to the medicated process, as well as resolving painful periods, addressing gut health issues, sleep quality, stress management, and any other fine tuning your system may need. This timing is not always possible, as fertility plans can often shift direction rather quickly, so it is important to know that beginning support at any time is better than none at all. We will work together to form a plan for the best course of action in boosting your overall health and reproductive wellness, to compliment your reproductive endocrinologist’s care.
Acupuncture focuses on increasing blood flow to the ovaries and uterus, facilitating increased nourishment and improving the reproductive environment. This lends to potentially enhanced egg development and health, and improved circulation in the uterine cavity for supporting implantation. With the great amount of emotional strain during the process of IUI, IVF, or egg freezing , acupuncture also serves to reduce stress and anxiety levels, and improve sleep, all of which may influence a more positive outcome. We discuss nutrition, lifestyle, exercise, and stress management to create a comprehensive plan of support for the cycle that carries well into pregnancy or beyond. All these factors provide an enriched pelvic environment, due to more nutrient influx from improved blood flow to the ovaries, and a robust system better able to respond when medications are introduced that will put your ovaries to work!BOOK YOUR APPOINTMENT
Weekly acupuncture treatment is recommended leading up to, along with one timed specifically within a day or two of the insemination. Depending on your protocol and whether medication is a component, we may discuss whether Chinese herbs are right for you during the process.
During IVF or Egg Freezing
A more frequent regiment of acupuncture is encouraged in order to facilitate the stimulation of the ovaries and support follicle growth. Sessions are scheduled twice weekly during the injections phase, with one timed for the day before egg retrieval. After retrieval, many women opt to continue care to help with recovering and reseting from the impacts of the cycle, and preparing for any next steps.
For embryo transfer, pre and post transfer treatments are then timed within 24 hours on either side of the transfer itself. For those doing a frozen embryo transfer on different month from retrieval, or using donor eggs, weekly acupuncture is also encouraged leading up to transfer day to prepare the uterine lining for implantation.
In three words - Klara is a delight!! When I started working with Klara at the beginning of the pandemic, my body was completely out of whack. My hormones were all over the map, and it was causing chaos and making it seem impossible to get pregnant - which is what I was preparing to do through IVF. Klara and I would meet and she would ask me the most insightful questions to get at the root of my issues, and would teach me a variety of different ways to address them. Klara also made recommendations on what to eat and drink. I have honestly never felt better. Klara is a wonderful listener, sharp as a tack, and is so kind hearted. If you are looking for someone who knows what their stuff and is a pleasure to talk to, she is for you! Thanks for everything Klara, you are the best!!
Having a bit of a needle phobia, I had always been apprehensive about acupuncture. Dr. Klara Brown made me feel instantly comfortable and safe. She was an amazing support through my fertility treatment and I do not think I could have gotten through it all without her. I could not recommend her more highly
The growing body of research around acupuncture benefiting IVF (and thus egg freezing) is profound. The data show how acupuncture and a “whole systems” approach of Chinese medicine (including herbal medicine, dietary, and lifestyle recommendations) as an adjunct to IVF treatment in the 3 months leading up to a cycle, significantly increases the number of live birth rates as compared to no acupuncture or acupuncture just pre and post transfer strongly increases live pregnancy rates(i)(ii), indicating improved outcomes due to the benefit on the reproductive environment.
(i)Hullender Rubin, L. E., Opsahl, M. S., Wiemer, K. E., Mist, S. D., & Caughey, A. B. (2015). Impact of whole systems traditional Chinese medicine on in-vitro fertilization outcomes.Reproductive biomedicine online,30(6), 602–612.https://doi.org/10.1016/j.rbmo.2015.02.005
(ii)Zheng, C. H., Zhang, M. M., Huang, G. Y., & Wang, W. (2012). The role of acupuncture in assisted reproductive technology.Evidence-based complementary and alternative medicine : eCAM,2012, 543924.https://doi.org/10.1155/2012/543924
A large literature review of RCTs (randomized control trials) concluded that there are 4 mechanisms by which acupuncture improves IVF outcomes; modulating neuro-endocrinological factors (this basically means how the nervous system interacts with the endocrine system, ie. stress affecting your hormones);increasing blood flow to the uterus and ovaries(this is a tremendous benefit!); modulating cytokines (regulating immune system and inflammation); and reducing stress, anxiety, and depression.(iii)
(iii)Anderson, B. J., Haimovici, F., Ginsburg, E. S., Schust, D. J., & Wayne, P. M. (2007). In vitro fertilization and acupuncture: clinical efficacy and mechanistic basis.Alternative therapies in health and medicine,13(3), 38–48.
Research shows that acupuncture can help significantly improve pregnancy rates when incorporated before and after embryo transfer. A pioneering study published in Fertility & Sterility (iv) showed that women receiving acupuncture before and after embryo transfer had a 42.5 % pregnancy success rate as compared to the control group without acupuncture of 26.3%. These findings are profound and have been encouraging to both eastern and western integrative modalities of fertility care.
(iv)Westergaard, L. G., Mao, Q., Krogslund, M., Sandrini, S., Lenz, S., & Grinsted, J. (2006). Acupuncture on the day of embryo transfer significantly improves the reproductive outcome in infertile women: a prospective, randomized trial.Fertility and sterility,85(5), 1341–1346.