In a nutshell
This study looked at whether acupuncture can improve pregnancy rates after in vitro fertilization (IVF). This study found that acupuncture did improve IVF outcomes.
IVF is a treatment for infertility where a woman's ovaries are stimulated to collect eggs. After the eggs are fertilized, the embryos are introduced into the womb in a process called embryo transfer (ET). Around 30 to 35% of IVF cycles result in a pregnancy. IVF is expensive, and it can be emotionally difficult and stressful for a woman’s body. Some fertility centers use complementary therapies to try and increase the success of IVF, such as acupuncture.
Acupuncture is a technique used in traditional Chinese medicine. The purpose of acupuncture is to restore a healthy flow of qi (life force) through the body by using needles at blocked points. Acupuncture has been used to regulate hormones, increase blood flow to the uterus, and reduce anxiety. Whether acupuncture can improve pregnancy rates with IVF is unclear.
Methods & findings
This study included 72 women undergoing IVF for unexplained infertility. 36 women received three acupuncture sessions. The sessions occurred a week before ET, 30 minutes before ET, and 30 minutes after ET. 36 women did not receive acupuncture (control group).
Women given acupuncture were significantly more likely to have a positive pregnancy test compared to the control group (63.9% vs. 33.3%). They were also significantly more likely to give birth to a live baby (52.8% vs. 30.3%).
Women in this study were also given questionnaires to evaluate their anxiety using the STAI-1 scale. Before the ET, the two groups had similar levels of anxiety (57.3 points vs. 57.0 points). After the ET and acupuncture sessions, the acupuncture group had significantly lower anxiety (28.8 points vs. 41.1 points). Patients who had positive pregnancy tests had significantly less anxiety before the ET.
The bottom line
This study concluded that women who received acupuncture during IVF had less anxiety and higher pregnancy rates.
The fine print
This study had a small number of patients. Also, the control group did not receive placebo acupuncture. This may affect the results. More studies are needed.
If you are undergoing IVF, talk to your doctor about acupuncture and other similar therapies.
Published By :
Taiwanese journal of obstetrics & gynecology
Mar 01, 2020