A study published in December 2022 demonstrated the benefits of transcutaneous electrical acupoint stimulation (TEAS). In this study, they compared Co Q10 alone or in combination with TEAS plus a control group (no treatment).
The study concluded CoQ10 alone or in combination with transcutaneous electrical acupoint stimulation (TEAS) are effective methods for IVF/ICSI-ET adjuvant therapy, which can significantly improve ovarian reactivity, increase the numbers of retrieved eggs and superior embryos, and improve endometrial receptivity. Adjuvant TEAS on the basis of CoQ10 can significantly enhance pregnancy rates, but CoQ10 alone failed to present such an obvious effect.
Another TEAS on frozen embryo transfers (FET) study was published in October 2014 concluded higher embryo implantation, clinical pregnancy, and live birth rates in women who received transcutaneous electrical acupuncture point stimulation (TEAS) prior to their frozen embryo transfer.
This is a significant finding since there are many more FET cycles now since the advancement vitrification (freezing embryos) and chromosomal screening (PGT-A).
In this study, women received treatment on their abdomen and lower inner leg over 3 cycles leading up to their transfer.
This study reaffirms our recommendations at Acubalance of having a series of acupuncture treatments leading up to retrieval or transfer day because acupuncture has an accumulative effect and receiving two to three treatments a week for several weeks before a transfer is more beneficial than just having a treatment on the actual transfer day, fresh or frozen.
If you have a fear of needles then using transcutaneous electrical acupoint stimulation (TEAS) can be provided along with your laser acupuncture. We recommend TEAS instead of electrical acupuncture (EA) only if you have a fear of needles. Otherwise, the benefit of using electrical acupuncture (EA) to stimulate acupoints is what we recommend along with laser for fertility.
Transcutaneous electrical acupoint stimulation (TEAS)
No Needle Stimulation
At Acubalance we recommend twice weekly acupuncture/electroacupuncture (EA) or TEAS treatments combined with laser for fertility leading up to your frozen embryo transfer. We also provide on the day of embryo transfer acupuncture & laser acupuncture onsite at Olive Fertility Centre to increase relaxation and support uterine receptivity.
So what can you do to help with improving your FET success?
Talk to us and find what you can do to prepare for your upcoming IVF or FET cycle and learn more about some of the approaches discussed below to support your chance of success.
Our general approach is to combine Low-level laser therapy (LLLT) with Electro Stim Acupuncture (EA), acupuncture with a tens machine applied to the needle (adds a gentle electric pulse to the needle), performed a few times a week leading up to transfer. If you have a fear of needles, we can use our transcutaneous electrical acupoint stimulation (TEAS) device instead of needles combined with LLLT.
One of the reasons this combination can provide benefit as seen in the studies is because Electro Stim Acupuncture (EA) and low-level laser therapy (LLLT) helps increase blood flow to the reproductive system. More blood flow to the ovaries carries more IVF drugs to the ovaries (important during a fresh cycle) and more blood to the uterus to help build lining and uterine receptivity.
In patients undergoing FET, TEAS or Electro Stim Acupuncture (EA) may have beneficial effects on endometrial HOXA10 expression (this faciliates the handshake between the embryo and uterus needed for implantation) and ultrasound markers of endometrial receptivity. These findings may explain the improvement in the clinical outcome of FET associated with the use of TEAS.
Low-Level Light Therapy (LLLT) also known as photobiomodulation, combined with your acupuncture in the weeks leading up to your transfer may influence the ability of the uterus to be receptive to the embryo being transferred. A study performed on In-vitro endometrial cells exposed to specific Low-Level Light Therapy (LLLT) showed how specific light was able to increase the proliferative and functional capacity of the cultured endometrial cells.
Another frozen embryo transfer (FET) study published in 2020 looked at adding Low level laser therapy (LLLT) / photobiomodulation therapy (PBMT) for women who had recurrent implantation failure (RIF). They delivered the photons (light) intravenously and it is thought this approach of delivering it directly to the blood has a systemic effect. There are other ways to provide this systemic effect using LLLT on different areas of the body through the skin and over largely vascularized areas.
The women received a series 10 LLLT treatments intravenusly over 2 weeks. Frozen-thawed embryo transfer for patients who received laser treatment proceeded the following menstrual cycle. The authors of the study reported that the use of LLLT in women who have experienced implantation failure in two or more unsuccessful FET cycles resulted in the improvement of microcirculation and the release of growth factors and cytokines in the peri-implantation endometrium, thus improving endometrial receptivity. This suggest that pre-treatment with LLLT in the time before preparing the endometrial lining for the frozen-thawed embryo transfer is an alternative choice for recurrent implantation failure affected patients.
At Acubalance, we suggest 3 cycles of LLLT treatments at 2 per week leading to the FET and at a minimum to start your LLLT + acupuncture when you start your estrace. The recommended frequency is 2-3 sessions per week over the three weeks leading up to your FET day. For added benefit, we also combine stimulation of acupoints with LLLT to help prepare the endometrium for your FET.
We can also prescribe you a vaginal probiotic prophylactically as data is growing that it can increase implantation success in some women. Chinese herbs may also be an approach to help with implantation.
As you can see, it takes a holistic and integrative approach to help optimize both egg and sperm quality and to support uterine receptivity for implantation success. You can find out more about how you can prepare for your IVF/FET cycle at your next consult or discovery call.
If you have a history of thin lining or other fertility issues (fibroids, endometriosis, unsuccessful cycles) then we would tailor your plan accordingly.
We are also available to provide IVF Acupuncture combined with laser acupuncture onsite at Olive Fertility Center for you on your transfer day. Once you know your transfer day, call us at least 24 hours in advance so we can plan to have an Acubalance practitioner there for you.