Fertility specialists usually recommend couples who want to conceive to try other alternatives first before going for IVF. Not only IVF procedures can be very expensive but it also takes lots of effort and can be painful. This article will discuss other alternatives to IVF for couples who want to get pregnant.
What are the alternatives out there other than IVF?
Acupuncture is one of the best traditional procedures that couple use for getting pregnant. Nowadays, it has been proven by research that acupuncture is very effective in preparing couples toward IVF or natural pregnancy. Acupuncture will enhance blood flow to the uterus and increase beta-endorphin levels in the body. It will also improve the quality of semen as well as eggs. Acupuncture normalises the dysfunction of Hypothalamus Pituitary (Ovarian Axis), which then enhances ovarian function and creates more follicles and improves egg production.
Acupuncture for fertility treatments can also regulate menstruation, improve ovarian function, reduce stress and balance the endocrine system.
Dr Christine is specialised in acupuncture for fertility for over 25 years now. It is recommended for a couple who want to get pregnant to try at least 3 months of acupuncture before going to IVF.
- IUI (Intrauterine Insemination)
Also called as artificial insemination, is done by placing sperms (partner or donor) through the neck of the womb (ie. cervix) into the woman’s uterus. This procedure is similar to Pap smear and is not painful. It is believed that it would be easier for sperms to reach the egg if it placed inside the uterus.
According to research, the success rate is around 10 to 20% for women with age below 40 in one cycle. If the cycle is increased up to 6 cycles then it could reach up to 80% success rate.
In addition, the cost is much more affordable than IVF. In Australia, IUI is eligible for Medicare rebate. The out of pocket cost will be around $1,901, whereas, in the US, the cost of IUI starts from USD 633. In comparison to IVF which cost around $10,000 per cycle, this could save lots of money for a couple.
- Natural herbs or Chinese Medicine (TCM)
Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) has been used for hundreds of years and has been proven effective for couples who want to conceive. It is best to use Chinese medicine in conjunction with acupuncture. According to the study, when combining IUI with TCM and acupuncture treatment, the success rate of getting pregnant increased to 65.5% in comparison to those who did not receive acupuncture or herbal medicine.
- ZIFT and TET (Zygote Intrafallopian Transfer and Tubal Embryo Transfer)
Women will need to undergo controlled ovarian hyper-stimulation using fertility drugs to produce multiple eggs. Then, these eggs are collected as well as male sperms. After fertilisation has taken place in the lab, then the embryo is transferred into the Fallopian tubes. In ZIFT, eggs retrieved and fertilised on one day and transferred the following day; whereas TET gives few more developmental days before it is transferred.
- GIFT (Gamete Intrafallopian Transfer)
GIFT follows the same procedures as ZIFT and TET at the beginning stage. However, the sperms and eggs are collected and then mixed together but no effort is made to fertilize the egg in the laboratory. After this, the combined material then placed in catheter via laparoscopy and injected into woman’s fallopian tubes. The couples then hope that the fertilization will happen naturally inside women’s uterus.
Last but not least, it is highly recommended for couples who want to conceive to adopt a healthy lifestyle. This means drinking less alcohol, less coffee, regular exercise and having healthy diet meal plans. You can find many articles on this website that can be used as a reference for your healthy meal plans. Taking acupuncture treatment in conjunction with Chinese herbal medicine is highly recommended as this will boost your immune system, reduce stress as well as increase blood flow to the uterus and improve eggs and sperms quality in the long term.