It’s only natural for couples undergoing fertility treatment to feel a little anxious about their fertility journey, the status quo and what lies ahead. Recognising the benefits of relaxation for their patients, TFP Simply Fertility works closely with Chelmsford acupuncturist Mark Riley, who has been treating women during their IVF cycles for 14 years.
Mark treats IVF patients using a practise based on tried and tested protocols, and has been Simply Fertility’s in-house acupuncturist for three years. Patients can choose how often they attend for hourly sessions: some decide to see him for the duration of their treatment, others for a shorter course including an hour immediately prior to and immediately after embryo transfer.
“Acupuncture helps patients to keep calm, relaxed and stress-free as possible. It also nourishes the foetus by increasing blood flow to the uterus,” explains Mark, who has been qualified for 15 years. “On their first visit, I talk to patients about what stage they have reached in their IVF treatment. They can be nervous about acupuncture, and often ask whether it hurts. It doesn’t – and everyone I have spoken to finds it a very positive experience.
“The needles for acupuncture are nothing like those used for an injection – they are just a couple of hairs’ width and people typically feel a tingling or dull ache at the acupuncture points, then feel very relaxed afterwards. Expectant fathers are often treated separately as well.”
Mark attends many of the clinic’s open days to speak to prospective patients about acupuncture and its benefits. “A lot of people are aware of it and have done research already. They are anxious about the IVF process and find it very helpful to have another dimension of support on their journey.”
There are a specific set of acupuncture points used for IVF and fertility treatment – the lower leg and feet, hands, top of the head and outer shell of the ear. “Studies have shown that it can increase the chances of conception rates and the outcome of IVF by up to 45%*,” advises Mark. “This is especially true of treatment directly before and straight after embryo transfer. I believe Simply Fertility is the only clinic offering this service in-house in Essex.”
Lynne was treated by Mark while receiving IVF treatment at Simply Fertility. She says: “From the very first appointment it was clear that Mark takes great pride in his work, and his caring nature continued throughout our treatment. Mark was flexible in his approach, providing care on a Sunday morning and later that same day, which complemented the weekly treatments that I had had in the run up to our egg retrieval.
“Mark continued treating me for the next five months, supporting my pregnancy both physically, but also my mental state throughout. The sessions are both therapeutic and beneficial, aiming to relax the patient as well as providing key support to the body. He is personable, warm and his sessions are kept at an affordable cost, allowing his treatment to run concurrently with that provided by Simply Fertility. We are in no doubt that the acupuncture played a part in the process, and our beautiful daughter was born in October this year.
“I would not hesitate to recommend both Mark and acupuncture to anyone considering fertility treatment.”
* Effects of acupuncture on rates of pregnancy and live birth among women undergoing in vitro fertilisation: systematic review and meta-analysis research, conducted in the USA and published in the BMJ, looked at seven trials carried out in four western countries since 2002, involving 1,366 participants.