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Acupuncture Improves IVF Success

Acupuncture Improves IVF Success

Acupuncture may increase the likelihood of achieving pregnancy for women undergoing IVF treatment, studies suggest.
Professor Rob Norman, from the Research Centre for Reproductive Health at the University of Adelaide, said an unpublished meta-analysis of trials involving 900 patients showed acupuncture doubled IVF pregnancy rates.

“The review shows overwhelmingly that acupuncture works,” he said. “It does no harm and it may well do good.”
The review included results of a trial conducted by Dr Caroline Smith (PhD) at the university’s fertility clinic, Repromed, in which 228 women undergoing IVF were randomized to receive acupuncture or non-invasive sham acupuncture.

The pregnancy rate was 31% in the acupuncture group and 23% among controls, but the increased odds of achieving pregnancy did not reach statistical significance (Fertil Steril 2006;85:1352-58).
However, two other newly published studies showed positive results.

Danish researchers reported significantly higher rates (36%) of ongoing pregnancies among those receiving acupuncture with IVF or intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI), compared to those (22%) with IVF/ICSI alone (Fertil Steril 2006:85:1341-46).

And a Chinese study of IVF patients reported 28% vs 14% ongoing pregnancy rates for acupuncture vs placebo respectively (Feril Steril 2006;85:1347-51).

Professor Norman said acupuncture – administered 20 minutes before and after embryo transfer – should be conducted by an expert associated with an IVF unit.
Commenting, Professor Gab Kovacs, medical director of Monash IVF in Melbourne, said any method which might improve IVF success should be explored. But while acupuncture was unlikely to be harmful, it should at present only be offered in a well-monitored, clinical trial context, he added.

By Rada Rouse, Medical Observer.

Health Dimensions ©2004