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How Acupuncture Impacts IVF Success Rates?

Written and reviewed by
Dr. Ruchi Malhotra 88% (482 ratings)
MBBS Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery, DNB - Obstetrics & Gynecology, DGO
IVF Specialist, Delhi  •  27 years experience
 How Acupuncture Impacts IVF Success Rates?

A very frequently used treatment both before and during In-Vitro Fertlization is Acupuncture. There is hope among women that it will help increase their chances of conceiving a baby and also provide the necessary support related to reduction of stress during the time of treatment. A range of small clinical trials have been conducted to suggest that acupuncture helps to improve the outcomes of highly stressful and unpredictable treatments of fertility but recent study has found out that this is not what really happens.

The study was undertaken for more than 800 Australian and New Zealand women, who had undergone acupuncture treatment at the time of their IVF cycles but that treatment has not really ensured any significant difference in live birth rates.The finding have been published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, which support recent guidelines set by the American Society for Reproductive Medicine and two very high-quality meta-analysis.

Findings of the Study - the effects of a short course of an IVF cycle administered by acupuncture were examined. They could not come with any concrete conclusion to show that acupuncture leads to increase in live births, clinical pregnancy or result in less number of miscarriages.This study has been undertaken in 16 different IVF centres across Australia and New Zealand, the clinical trial controlled in a random manner, which compares the effects of any experimental treatment on one particular group with those of an alternative treatment for another group, mainly aims to increase the number of live births and pregnancies among 848 women, who are aged in the range of 18 to 42, undergoing an IVF cycle treatment through the use of fresh embryos for a period of four years.The first acupuncture treatment was provided right at the beginning of the In-Vitro Fertilization process, when they are given proper medication to stimulate the ovary for producing follicles.

The successful fertilization was followed by performing acupunture to recognized acupuncture points both before and after the embryo gets transferred to the womb of a woman.The control group used in this study was sham acupuncture. This is a kind of real acupuncture but the difference lies in the fact that it does not involve any needle to be inserted through the skin. For both the groups of women, the needle is being kept in place by a plastic tube but as and when the practitioner gets the needle placed on the skin, for the control group, the needle’s shaft tends to disappear right into the handle, whereas in case of the group receiving treatment, the needle gets through the skin.

The result came up that clinical pregnancy could be possible among 25.7% of women who had received acupuncture and only 21.7% of women in the sham control. Live birth could be achieved only for a mere 18.3% of women who had received acupuncture in comparison to 17.8% receiving the control.There was an increase of only 4%, especially given the low percentage of successful births through IVF. The study does not support that acupuncture can lead to an improve in pregnancy or live births for those undergoing IVF cycle.

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