IVF is short for In Vitro Fertilization. A very common fertility treatment, IVF is a blanket term to describe any process where an egg is fertilized with sperm outside the body, then frozen or transferred to a uterus. This can involve many scenarios, including using donor egg, donor sperm, and even egg preservation cycles.
The first step is to get eggs out of an ovary to fertilize. That might be your ovaries, or you might use an egg donor. If you have a partner who produces good quality sperm, they can provide a sample to fertilize the egg. Some people don’t have access to good quality sperm, so they purchase frozen sperm from a sperm bank and use that to fertilize the eggs.
Once fertilized, the embryo grows for about five days, then it is either transferred to the uterus of an intended parent or gestational carrier or frozen so it can be transferred later. Some people opt to have genetic testing done on the embryos so they know if any of the embryos have genetic abnormalities. Genetic testing takes about 3-4 weeks, so the embryos will need to be cryogenically frozen in the meantime.
Some people choose to use a donated embryo. Often, people who have used IVF to have children will have unused embryos frozen after they’ve completed their family. They might donate their embryo to another person or couple experiencing infertility. This is often much less expensive than going through egg retrieval, in vitro fertilization of the egg, then transferring to the uterus.
There are many different versions of IVF, but what they all have in common is that the egg is fertilized outside the body and then transferred into the uterus. Acupuncture is helpful at every step of the way with IVF. It can help reduce the side effects of IVF medications (both for the egg retrieval and the embryo transfer).
It can help improve the quality of eggs and sperm used in the process, improving the chances of genetically normal embryos. Acupuncture is well known to reduce stress and improve sleep to help people through a difficult process like IVF.
Regardless of how you plan to get pregnant, we would be delighted to be part of your care team. Contact us at Portland Acupuncture Studio to learn how we can help you get pregnant soon.