Acupuncture May Improve Success of In Vitro Fertilization

acupunctureIn a review of seven clinical trials of acupuncture given with embryo transfer in women undergoing in vitro fertilization (IVF), results suggests that acupuncture may improve rates of pregnancy.

An estimated 10 to 15 percent of couples experience difficulty in getting pregnant and seek fertility treatments, such as IVF. In vitro fertilization or IVF, involves retrieving a woman’s egg, fertilizing it in the laboratory, and then transferring the embryo back into the woman’s womb. IVF is an expensive, lengthy, and stressful process. As a result, approaches or procedures that increase the chances of reproduction are welcome to patients.

According to Eric Manheimer of the University of Maryland School of Medicine’s Center for Integrative Medicine and his colleagues, acupuncture has been used in China for centuries to regulate the female reproductive system.

Manheimer and his colleagues then analyzed results from seven clinical trials of acupuncture in women who underwent IVF to see if rates of pregnancy were increased with acupuncture. The study is based on data on over 1,366 women. They then compared acupuncture given within one day of embryo transfer and those with no additional treatment.

The results showed that acupuncture, given as a complement to IVF increased the possibility of achieving pregnancy. Manheimer and his team of researchers say the results indicate that 10 women undergoing IVF would need to be treated with acupuncture to bring about one additional pregnancy.

The results are geared towards a potential complementary treatment that may improve the success of IVF. However, these results were considered preliminary and there is still a need for additional trials top confirm the initial findings.