Acupuncture for freezing eggs
How acupuncture and TCM can help you through the egg freezing process
An increasing number of women in their 30s and 40s are looking into ways that they can freeze their eggs in order to preserve their fertility. For some women the time will not be quite right to have children – they may be happily pursuing a rewarding career and travelling the world, whilst others may not have yet met the right partner. With so many women choosing to have children later in life, egg freezing is becoming a more and more popular option. In this article we will explore the fascinating topic of egg freezing and provide interesting insights about how acupuncture and traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) can help to support you through the egg freezing process.
So what does egg freezing process actually entail?
There are two parts to the egg freezing process: Egg Collection and Egg Freezing
1) Egg collection
During your menstrual cycle only one egg will normally be released. When embarking on the egg collection phase your ovaries will be stimulated in order to produce a larger number of eggs. The eggs will then be collected in a relatively pain free process using ultrasound guidance.
2) Egg Freezing
Once the eggs have been collected they will be assessed by an embryologist and any suitable eggs will be frozen in a process known as vitrification – this is a fast freezing process. Once the eggs have been frozen they can be used for up to 10 years – the legal time limit in the UK.
What next? When you are ready to use your eggs and to try for a family they will be thawed and then inseminated with sperm. Following fertilisation, the eggs develop into embryos and one will be inserted into your uterus and will hopefully develop into a baby.
Acupuncture for freezing eggs – how can it support you through the egg freezing process?
Acupuncture has been used for thousands of years to naturally enhance the fertility of both men and women. It is a research backed way to boost fertility. Acupuncture entails inserting sterile, stains steel needles into specific areas of the body. According to TCM practitioners this treatment helps to gently shift the movement of Qi – or Vital Energy – as it flows around the body. An improved flow of energy leads to improved blood flow and circulation which in turn leads to well nourished tissues and organs.
Acupuncture for freezing eggs – what will happen?
When treating a woman who is about to undergo an egg freezing process an acupuncturist will first take a detailed medical history. After conducting a tongue diagnosis and reading the pulses the practitioner will then be able to identify any areas where the Qi may be stuck and decide on a course of treatment, particularly focusing on boosting the flow of blood to the ovaries. Sometimes they will recommend the use of Moxa – a herb that warms up specific areas of the body in order to further nourish Qi and blood.
Recent research demonstrates that acupuncture supports healthy egg development by maintaining the delicate balance of hormones and increasing ovarian blood flow. In addition it has been shown to improve the quality of eggs. Acupuncture is therefore a highly effective adjunct treatment for anyone preparing to embark on the journey of egg freezing.
In the lead up to an egg freezing process acupuncture treatment will commonly entail inserting needles in the lower abdomen, arms, legs, hands and feet. The treatment is pain free and many women find it to be a very relaxing experience – read on to find out why this is so important!
Chinese Medicine for freezing eggs – the importance of relaxation
According to TCM theories being relaxed underpins all parts of our good health and wellbeing – when we are stressed our emotions affect our Liver which results in poor blood flow and stuck energy – a situation known as Liver Qi Stagnation.
Stress and ageing can both lead to a decline in blood flow to the uterus and ovaries. Acupuncture can increase blood flow by slowing down the nervous system which in turn causes the blood vessels to dilate. When these blood vessels dilate, they release a flood of nutrient rich blood to the ovaries and uterus which enables them to optimise their function.
Freezing your eggs can provoke all sorts of emotions within you and your acupuncturist will be able to offer a kindly and confidential ear and provide encouragement and reassurance when you need it most.
Chinese medicine for freezing eggs – herbal treatments
In addition to acupuncture, a number of natural Chinese herbs are able to help to boost the flow of blood to the ovaries
- Vitex is popular herb that helps to regulate the menstrual cycle and supports ovulation. In addition it works to balance hormone levels and and optimises the function of the ovaries.
- Maca helps the body to cope and to remain calm during times of increased stress and research demonstrates that it helps to naturally support fertility.
- The humble Cinnamon is a wonderfully effective herb. As well as being delicious it improves fertility in both men and women. TCM practitioners use cinnamon to warm the interior and nourish yang energy, which must be abundant for fertility.
- The herb Tribulus can be used to improve the function of the ovaries. In addition this herb can help to regulate abnormal menstrual cycles and promote ovulation.
Diet and lifestyle advice
Stress has a negative impact on fertility. In addition to damaging Liver Qi it can also interrupt your Spleen energy. This means that your ovaries will not get the nourishment that they need. Make time to rest, try to set and follow a regular sleeping pattern and your stress hormones will be reduced. Consider taking up quiet and relaxing activities such as yoga or listen to a guided meditation. Let’s slow everything down and make the time to relax. Your ovaries and eggs will thank you!
Let’s do a tiny bit more exercise If you are carrying a tiny bit of excess weight around your abdomen area now is the time to act. We want to ensure that the flow of energy all around your ovaries is at its best, so why not dig out that old hula hoop and get some movement going around your abdomen. Alternatively dig out your favourite song, draw the curtains and dance like no one is watching. If you make it fun exercise won’t seem a chore.
What you eat has a massive impact on both the health of your ovaries as well as your eggs. So let’s flood your system with good things by eating a nutrient dense diet. This means lots of leafy greens, whole grains, fresh vegetables and lean meat. Treat yourself to a delicious and nutritious diet and your eggs will reap the benefits!
Vitex Agnus Castus is a popular herbal supplement used to treat a variety of health problems related to the Menstrual Cycle such as Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS) and Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD). This traditional Vitex Agnus Castus Chasteberry herb is primarily used to support women who are transitioning through menopause and relieve PMS symptoms such as menstrual cramps, breast tenderness, bloating, irritability and mood swings.
For more information about how Chinese Medicine can help to support you through the egg freezing process, book your free consultation with our Chinese Medicine experts today
* These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. We can’t guarantee the treatment result, as the symptoms of conditions are unpredictable and vary greatly from person to person. The treatment length and recovery time also varies for individual. Please visit our clinics website: GinSen where a specialists will discuss your care and provide a consultation, and the treatment will be designed to meet your individual needs.