IVF Acupuncture Research

Acupuncture and Assisted Conception - Cheong Y et al Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2008 Issue4 Cochrane Review

Conclusions The data from this meta-analysis suggests that acupuncture performed on the day of ET does increase the clinical pregnancy rate of IVF treatment; however, this could be attributed to placebo effect and the small number of patients included. Further larger RCTs are necessary to confirm the results.

Influence of acupuncture on idiopathic male infertility in assisted reproductive technology. - Zhang M et al

This trial looks at sperm behaviour in an IVF setting. It was a “before and after” study involving 82 infertile men with pathological semen abnormalities and who’s sperm achieved a poor fertilization rate in at least 2 IVF/ICSI cycles. They were given acupuncture twice a week over 8 weeks and the IVF/ICSI cycles were repeated. The fertilization rates after acupuncture (66.2%) were significantly higher than that before treatment (40.2%) (P < 0.01).

Understanding Women's views towards the use of Acupuncture while undergoing IVF treatment.- Smith C and De Lacey S, 2008 In press FSA conference 2008

Conclusion; Acupuncture is an effective and low intensity procedure for increasing women's resilience in the repetitive and stress inducing time of pregnancy attempts, with or without medical treatment. The instrumental role of the acupuncture therapist in increasing resilience is a finding that has not emerged in previous studies and has implications for patient management.

Building resilience: An exploration of women's perceptions of the use of acupuncture as an adjunct to IVF - De Lacey S, Smith C and Paterson C, BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine 2009, 9:50 BioMed Central

This preliminary exploration, whilst confined to a small sample of women, confirms that acupuncture is indeed perceived by infertile women to have an impact to their health. All findings outlined here are reported cautiously because they are limited by the size of the sample. They suggest that further studies of acupuncture as an adjunct to IVF should systematically explore the issues of wellbeing, anxiety, personal and social resilience and women's identity in relation to sexuality and reproduction.

An assessment of the demand and importance of acupuncture to patients of a fertility clinic during investigations and treatment - Hinks J and Coulson C, Hum Fert 2010 Vol 13, S1 Pg 3-21 Human Fertility

Conclusions: .Previous unpublished work at BCRM showed that 85% of the patients found the named nurse system important as a coping mechanism to support them by providing continuity of care through stressful treatment. The responses to the questionnaires indicate a clear demand for acupuncture and suggest that acupuncture may be valuable to improve the general wellbeing of women during infertility investigations and treatments. If acupuncture provides an effective coping mechanism, this could support patients to persevere with increased numbers of ART(Assisted Reproductive Technologies) cycles, thereby increasing their ultimate chance of a successful pregnancy.

Acupuncture lowers pregnancy rates when performed before and after embryo transfer

Objective - Acupuncture performed onsite before and after embryo transfer has been reported to improve in vitro fertilization (IVF) outcome in patients with good quality embryos. The purpose of this investigation was to evaluate whether acupuncture before and after embryo transfer would alter pregnancy rates in patients undergoing IVF regardless of embryo quality if the treatment was performed offsite.

Design - Multi-center, prospective, randomized study.

The effect of acupuncture in assisted reproduction techniques - Teshima D. R. K et al, Fertil Steril 2007 Vol 88, Suppl 1, pg S330 Fertility and Sterility

CONCLUSIONS: Although there was a higher pregnancy rate in the acupuncture group, this difference was not statistically significant, probably because of the small number of patients in both group. Acupuncture seems to be an important coadjuvant in the treatment of infertility with IVF or ICSI, and further research is needed to demonstrate its precisely effect.

Laser acupuncture before and after embryo transfer improves ART delivery rates

SUMMARY: This study reports an increase in implantation rates (IR) with the use of laser acupuncture, however there was no significant difference in 'ongoing pregnancy rates (OPR)' between needle acupuncture and laser acupuncture.

Acupuncture & IVF poor responders: a cure? - Magarelli P. et al

Conclusions: Significant increases in pregnancy outcomes were confirmed by this study and the data uniquely supported the advantage of acupuncture in patients with normal PI (prior studies were done on patient with PI). We also demonstrated that both acupuncture treatment protocols could be used together with a synergistic effect. Finally, this study is the first to demonstrate that the use of acupuncture in patients with poor prognoses (elevated Peak FSH, longer history of infertility, poor sperm morphology) can achieve similar pregnancy rates to normal prognosis patients.

Acupuncture performed before and after embryo transfer improves pregnancy rates - Youran D et al Fertil Steril 2008 Vol. 90, Suppl 1, pg S240 Fertilty and Sterility

CONCLUSIONS: Although other studies regarding acupuncture have been inconclusive, perhaps these positive results are related to two important factors. The treatments were performed on-site, eliminating the stress of travelling to another site before and after the embryo transfer. Also, the acupuncture treatment protocol did not follow the traditional Paulus protocol, thereby suggesting there is still more research to be done on how best to treat infertility issues with acupuncture

Use of Acupuncture before and after embryo transfer - Dalton-Brewer N et al, Hum Fert 2010 Vol 12 No 4 212 - 255 Human Fertility

Conclusions: Results for women aged 35–39 years and those over 40 years were markedly better than controls suggesting that acupuncture intervention of this type may be more effective in older women. No side effects or complications were experienced by women receiving acupuncture. Acupuncture is a safe, adjunct therapy in IVF and in other randomised clinical trials has been shown to significantly improve outcomes when used at the IVF centre before and after embryo transfer. Our preliminary data are encouraging and suggest that a trial involving older women may be effective.

The effect of acupuncture on outcomes in in-vitro fertilization (IVF) - Udoff L. C. et al, Fertil Steril 2007 Vol 86, Issue 3, pg S145 Fertility and Sterility

CONCLUSION: It is feasible to conduct a randomized, blinded, sham control trial to study the impact of acupuncture on IVF success rates. Such a protocol is well accepted by patients. Preliminary data shows a statistically significant improvement in the biochemical pregnancy rate with acupuncture treatment. Additionally, acupuncture was associated with a strong trend towards higher clinical pregnancy rates and take home baby rates, though more patients will need to be studied to reach any final conclusions.

A randomized, controlled, double-blind, cross-over study evaluating acupuncture as an adjunct to IVF - Quintero R et al, Fertil Steril 2004 Vol 81 Suppl 3, pg S11-12 Fertility and Sterility

Conclusions: Our study shows a significantly lower amount of gonadotropins used when IVF is combined with standard acupuncture. A 70% pregnancy rate was also achieved with standard acupuncture and IVF, compared to 25%. Larger prospective trials are necessary.

Effects of acupuncture on pregnancy rates in women undergoing in vitro fertilization: a systematic review and meta-analysis - Cui Hong Zheng et al., Fertility & Sterility, Volume 97, Issue 3 , Pages 599-611, March 2012

Acupuncture improves CPR and LBR among women undergoing IVF based on the results of studies that do not include the Streitberger control. The Streitberger control may not be an inactive control. More positive effects from using acupuncture in IVF can be expected if an appropriate control and more reasonable acupuncture programs are used.

Effects of acupuncture on rates of pregnancy and live birth among women undergoing in vitro fertilisation: systematic review and meta-analysis. - Manheimer E et al. BMJ 2008;336 pg 545-549 British Medical Journal

The authors concluded, “The odds ratio of 1.65 suggests that acupuncture increased the odds of clinical pregnancy by 65% compared with the control groups… In absolute terms 10 patients would need to be treated with acupuncture to bring about one additional clinical pregnancy. These are clinically relevant benefits.”

Acupuncture changes reproductive hormone levels in patients with ovarian deficiency - prospective observational study

Conclusion: electroacupuncture could decrease serum FSH and LH levels, and increase estrogen levels in women with ovarian deficiency with little to no side-effects.

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