Egg Quality and Grading
Acupuncture and Egg Quality
Embryo quality and embryo selection are one of the most important factors determining the outcome of an IVF treatment cycle. Pregnancy is more likely where there are four or more embryos from which IVF clinics select the best embryo(s) for transfer. Embryos that are either slow to develop may be less likely to implant.
During cell division, little pieces may break off and result in a fragmented embryo. A small amount of fragmentation is normal, but significant fragmentation has been associated with chromosomally abnormal embryos.
Some IVF clinics suggest that up to 10% fragmentation is considered good quality, whereas embryos with more than 20% fragmentation are considered suboptimal. While a successful pregnancy can be achieved with a fragmented embryo, highly fragmented embryos are less likely to implant.
Acupuncture increases the blood flow to the ovaries to nourish the developing follicles and create better egg quality and stronger embryos. It also normalizes the function of the Hypothalamus-Pituitary-Ovarian axis to regulate and improve the body’s natural hormonal production which in turn improves ovarian function and egg quality.
Acupuncture relaxes the body and reduces stress levels. Elevated stress can prohibit conception by blocking blood flow to the reproductive organs and causing an imbalance in hormonal production which may causeirregular menstrual cycles, lack of ovulation, high FSH levels, poor ovarian production, and diminished egg quality.
Acupuncture research highlights that there is a significant improvement in pregnancy success rates in women undergoing IVF that have acupuncture before and after embryo transfer.
Acupuncture and Embryo Grading
The majority of embryos produced are cultured for 5 days after egg harvest. As embryos develop, they are closely watched by our embryologists and each is assigned a grade.
Many IVF clinics use the Gardner system to grade 5-day old blastocysts which uses the ranking AA-quality (considered the best and rarely seen in the laboratory) to DD-quality (those felt unsuitable for transfer). Day-3 embryos are ranked by the number of cells that are present along with a score from 1 to 4 (1-best, 4-worst).
How Acupuncture can Enhance Fertility and Egg Quality?
- Improves sperm parameters
- Improves pregnancy rates of natural conception and IVF treatment
- Regulates menstrual cycles
- Regulate hormones by reducing stress
- Reduces miscarriages
- Lessens uterine contractions after embryo transfer
- Improves blood flow to ovaries and uterus
- Improves ovarian function; encourages production of follicles; enhances their quality
- Improves thickness of uterine wall lining
- Aids relaxation
- Lessens side effects of fertility medication
- Enhances immune system
The London Acupuncture Space has undergone specialist acupuncture training in Fertility Acupuncture and Obstetrics Acupuncture with Zita West and at the Royal College of Physicians in London.