Acupuncture Treatment Results in Higher Pregnancy Rates for
May 2006 issue of medical journal Fertility and Sterility
presents several new studies that confirm the efficacy of
acupuncture as an aid to IVF. Here are the study results:
Study #1: Acupuncture on the
day of embryo transfer (ET) significantly improves the reproductive
outcome in infertile women: a prospective, randomized trial
In this study, Westergaard LG,
et.al., set out to evaluate how the use of acupuncture effected
pregnancy rates in patients treated with IVF/intracytoplasmic
sperm injection (ICSI).
273 patients were randomly assigned to one of
One group had
acupuncture on the day of the transfer, a second group had
acupuncture on the day of the transfer and then again 2 days
after the transfer, and a third control group did not receive
The results clearly
showed that the first acupuncture group that received treatment
the day of the transfer had a statistically significant higher
rate of pregnancy than the control group (37 of 95 [39%] vs.
21 of 87 [26%]). Comparison of ongoing pregnancy rates also
favored the acupuncture group (34 of 95 [36%] vs. 19 of 87
[22%]). There was no improvement on the reproductive outcome
by adding an acupuncture treatment 2 days after ET.
Fertility and Sterility Volume
85, Issue 5 , May 2006, Pages 1341-1346
Study #2: Effect of acupuncture
on the outcome of in vitro fertilization and intracytoplasmic
sperm injection: a randomized, prospective, controlled clinical
In this study,
a joint collaboration between researchers in Germany and China,
Stefan Dieterle M.D and his colleagues set out to determine
the effect of luteal phase acupuncture on the outcome of IVF/ICSI.
infertile patients were randomly assigned to 2 groups. One
group received Traditional Chinese acupuncture and the other
half received sham acupuncture. As in the previous study,
in the group that received true acupuncture, the clinical
pregnancy rate and ongoing pregnancy rates (33.6% and 28.4%,
respectively) were significantly higher than in sham acupuncture
group (15.6% and 13.8%).
Fertility and Sterility Volume 85, Issue 5 , May
2006, Pages 1347-1351
Study #3: Influence of acupuncture stimulation
on pregnancy rates for women undergoing embryo transfer.
This study from
Australia, lead by Caroline Smith Ph.D., examined 228 women
and again compared a true acupuncture to a placebo group.
The design of this study was to treat the women three separate
times: the first session on day 9 of stimulating injections,
the second session before ET, and the third immediately after
They reported their results as follows:
The pregnancy rate was 31% in
the acupuncture group and 23% in the control group. For those
subjects receiving acupuncture, the odds of achieving a pregnancy
were 1.5 higher than for the control group, but the difference
did not reach statistical significance. The ongoing pregnancy
rate at 18 weeks was higher in the treatment group (28% vs.
18%), but the difference was not statistically significant.
They did conclude that acupuncture was safe for women undergoing
Fertility and Sterility Volume
85, Issue 5 , May 2006, Pages 1352-1358
the October 2004 meeting of the American Society for Reproductive
Medicine (ASRM) another study was presented that confirms
the value of acupuncture to the success of IVF treatment.
The research, done at Reproductive Medicine and Fertility
Centre in Colorado Springs, studied 114 women undergoing IVF.
Half of the women received acupuncture and the control group
did not. The acupuncture group showed improved outcome in
the following ways:
Acupuncture group 51% pregnancy rate
compared to 36% in control group.
Acupuncture group 08% miscarriage rate
compared to 20% in control group.
Acupuncture also was found to reduce the risk of tubal pregnancy
and increase the live birth rate. The live birth rate for each
IVF cycle was 23 % higher than the cycles for the control group.
Independent.co.uk News Report
Below is the very first paper published
on this research.
It is from the journal: Highlights in Fertility and Sterility
(Vol. 77, No. 4, April 2002)
a recent study in Germany indicate that adding acupuncture
to the treatment protocol of IVF patients greatly enhances
their chances of becoming pregnant. While the physiologic
mechanisms by which acupuncture may affect the uterus and
reproductive system have not been identified, the researchers
found that as a practical matter, at least among their small
study population, the technique worked.
In a study of
160 patients undergoing in vitro fertilization, researchers
utilized acupuncture, an important element in the 4,000-year-old
tradition of Chinese medicine, before and after the embryo
transfers of half their patients. The patients, who were all
required to have embryos of good quality, were evenly and
randomly divided into two groups similar in age and diagnosis.
The group receiving
acupuncture treatments had one treatment before transfer and
another after embryos had been transferred to their uteruses.
Sterile needles were inserted into the patients' bodies at
very specific points. According to the principles of traditional
Chinese medicine, energy flows through the body along defined
pathways, or meridians. Acupuncture is a means of influencing
this energy to induce a desired physiological effect. Points
were chosen for these patients along the spleen and stomach/colon
meridians in an effort to positively influence blood flow
and energy to the uterus and to provide a sedative effect.
Additional needles were inserted in the patients' ears to
influence the uterus and stabilize the endocrine system. Needles
were left in place for 25 minutes while the patients rested.
The control group also rested, lying still for 25 minutes
after embryo transfer, as part of the IVF protocol.
between pregnancy rates for the two groups was notable. Patients
were examined using ultrasound six weeks after their IVF procedures.
In the control group, 21 out of 80 patients became pregnant.
Of the patients who had received acupuncture treatments, 34
of 80 became pregnant. The researchers plan to conduct further
studies to try to rule out possible psychological or psychosomatic
MD, President-Elect of ASRM, commented, "If these findings
are confirmed, they may help us improve the odds for our IVF
patients' achieving pregnancy."
consider acupuncture during your pregnancy and birth. According
to the World Health Organization (WHO), acupuncture has been
found useful for relieving labor pain, nausea, vomiting, and
significantly reducing the duration of labor. There is also
strong evidence that acupuncture can help with a breech birth.
Paulus W et.al., Influence of acupuncture
in the pregnancy rate in patients who undergo assisted reproduction
therapy. Fertility and Sterility, volume 77, April 2002,