Shows Promise in Improving Rates of Pregnancy Following IVF
A review of seven clinical trials of
acupuncture given with embryo
transfer in women undergoing in vitro fertilization (IVF) suggests that
acupuncture may improve rates of pregnancy. An estimated 10 to 15
percent of couples experience reproductive difficulty and seek
specialist fertility treatments, such as IVF. IVF, which involves
retrieving a woman's egg, fertilizing it in the laboratory, and then
transferring the embryo back into the woman's womb is an expensive,
lengthy, and stressful process. Identifying a complementary approach
that can improve success would be welcome to patients and providers.
According to Eric Manheimer of the
University of Maryland School of
Medicine's Center for Integrative Medicine and colleagues who conducted
the systematic review, acupuncture has been used in China for centuries
to regulate the female reproductive system. With this in mind, the
reviewers analyzed results from seven clinical trials of acupuncture in
women who underwent IVF to see if rates of pregnancy were improved with
acupuncture. The studies encompassed data on over 1366 women and
compared acupuncture, given within one day of embryo transfer, with
sham acupuncture, or no additional treatment.
The reviewers found that acupuncture given
as a complement to IVF
increased the odds of achieving pregnancy. According to the
researchers, the results indicate that 10 women undergoing IVF would
need to be treated with acupuncture to bring about one additional
pregnancy. The results, considered preliminary, point to a potential
complementary treatment that may improve the success of IVF and the
need to conduct additional clinical trials to confirm these findings.
- Manheimer E, Zhang G, Udoff L, et al.
Effect of acupuncture on
rates of pregnancy and live birth among women undergoing in vitro
fertilization: systematic review and meta-analysis. British
Medical Journal. Published online February 2008.
- National Institutes of Health - NCCAM's
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