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Benefits of Acupuncture During IVF and Pregnancy

Posted: 08/24/23

Acupuncture is a complementary therapy that can be done in conjunction with fertility treatment to help improve outcomes. Intended parents often inquire about incorporating acupuncture into their treatment plan, either for the intended mother as she prepares for an egg retrieval or embryo transfer (using donor eggs) or for the surrogate who will be carrying the baby for the intended parents.

Our team at Egg Donor & Surrogate Solutions recently spoke with Dallas-based acupuncturist Emily Guevara, who specializes in fertility and women’s health, and asked her to share more about acupuncture and its benefits.

EDS/SS: What is acupuncture? And more specifically – fertility acupuncture? Emily: Acupuncture is a whole system of medical care. It can be used to treat most issues such as hormonal imbalance, headaches, allergy and pain, but where acupuncture and Chinese medicine really shine is in the prevention of disease. An acupuncture treatment consists of the use of small needles that are placed into acupuncture points along meridians of the body. Placing these needles in such a way elicits chemical changes that help balance hormones, reduce cortisol, improve blood flow and oftentimes eliminate pain. It has very minimal side effects, such as bruising or bleeding, and most everyone can benefit from its effects.

Fertility acupuncture follows the same concepts. We work mainly on reducing stress, improving blood flow and balancing hormones. Sessions are tailored to each individual patient depending on where she is in her cycle.

EDS/SS: How does stress affect fertility and how can acupuncture help reduce stress?

Emily: Chronic stress can greatly impact fertility in a negative way. It can begin to affect what’s called the hypothalamic-pituitary-ovarian axis, which is the avenue hormones travel through that control follicular growth, uterine lining and hormonal balance with regard to our cycles. In addition, chronic stress can constrict blood vessels, increase cortisol and negatively impact our immune system. Stress has a systemic impact and over time can cause a lot of damage.

Unfortunately, we live in such a fast-paced culture that people are finding it harder and harder to truly experience relaxation and peace. Implementing regular breathwork, yoga, nature walks and meditation, along with acupuncture, can help remind the body of this restful state. It is in this restful state that our system repairs and recovers and where deep healing happens. I believe not having this in our lives on a regular basis is a huge contributor to infertility, especially in women over 35.

EDS/SS: Besides helping to alleviate stress, what are the benefits of acupuncture for someone who is undergoing an IVF cycle to help prepare for an egg retrieval or embryo transfer?

Emily: The main benefits of acupuncture for someone undergoing IVF are increased blood flow to the ovaries and uterus, as well as the reduction of cortisol levels. Regular acupuncture in conjunction with an IVF cycle has been shown to improve follicular response, reduce the side effects of medication, reduce stress and improve blood flow. It is a wonderful compliment to the IVF process for almost everyone.

EDS/SS: Is acupuncture safe during pregnancy?

Emily: This is a great question because I do not think people realize they can get acupuncture during pregnancy and yet it is so beneficial, especially during a period of life when we are trying to be as healthy as possible. I recommend acupuncture weekly throughout the first trimester, then reducing to monthly sessions until week 37, at which point we can begin preparing the body for delivery.

EDS/SS: What are some other things you recommend patients do to help ensure optimal health during an IVF cycle and pregnancy?

Emily: Nutrition, hydration, sleep and stress management are the fundamentals of good health. When these areas of our lives are addressed properly, we have less oxidative/damaging stress on our cells, and therefore, they function better. We have more energy, and our circadian rhythm is in sync with how it should be, which impacts every hormonal cycle in our bodies. I believe these four areas, especially sleep and nutrition, are vital when trying to get pregnant and to sustaining a healthy pregnancy.

EDS/SS: What do you enjoy most about working with patients to support them on their journey to conceive?

Emily: I enjoy overcoming challenges together and seeing my patients grow. I get to be their cheerleader and encourage them through times that can be very difficult for some. When we reach the other side, it really is a huge sense of accomplishment and pride.

EDS/SS: Is there anything else you want to add?

Emily: In a time when people may need another ear to hear them or just a safe space to unplug, acupuncture can be a valuable tool.


About Emily Guevara

Emily Guevara is a boardcertified fertility and women’s health acupuncturist based in Dallas, Texas.
She graduated from the prestigious AOMA Graduate School of Integrative Medicine in 2008 and has since focused solely on caring for women. Emily has been serving her community for over 15 years and enjoys spending time understanding the nuances of women’s health needs. Emily has a passion for providing education on how nutrition and lifestyle choices can affect our health and combines her knowledge of functional and Chinese medicine to help support her patients. You can contact her at or (214) 3063529.


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