Ovarian reserve – acupuncture holds a promise

In this study, researchers investigated how acupuncture influenced ovarian reserve in women who had low ovarian reserve or “very few eggs left”. They used a kind of acupuncture with no needles, where very gentle electric impulses are used to stimulate acupuncture points. This study has shown improved the hormone levels including Anti-Müllerian Hormone (AMH). AMH test is a test often used by IVF clinics to estimate response to the IVF drugs. Researchers observed increased number of eggs collected with IVF. The embryo quality was also improved. Consequently, women who had acupuncture had better IVF pregnancy outcomes.

The study was published in The Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology Research.

Are you interested in learning how your fertility can be optimised with acupuncture?  Contact Dr Vitalis Acupuncture in Auckland.

Abstract/summary of the study:

J Obstet Gynaecol Res. 2015 Dec;41(12):1905-11. doi: 10.1111/jog.12810. Epub 2015 Oct 12.
Effects of transcutaneous electrical acupoint stimulation on ovarian reserve of patients with diminished ovarian reserve in in vitro fertilization and embryo transfer cycles.
Zheng Y1,2, Feng X2, Mi H2, Yao Y2, Zhao Y2, Li J2, Jiao J2, Gong A2, Sun W2, Deng X1.
Author information
Abstract
AIM:
The aim of this study was to investigate the effect of transcutaneous electrical acupoint stimulation (TEAS) on ovarian reserve in patients with diminished ovarian reserve undergoing in vitro fertilization and embryo transfer.
MATERIAL AND METHODS:
A total of 240 patients were randomly divided into the Han’s acupoint nerve stimulator TEAS treatment (TES), comforting false Han’s placebo (FHP), artificial endometrial cycle treatment (AEC), and control (CON) groups.
RESULTS:
Fifty-six patients in TES, 56 in FHP, 54 in AEC, and 60 in CON fulfilled the study, respectively. Antral follicle count and anti-Müllerian hormone levels were increased, whereas the estradiol level, follicle-stimulating hormone level, and follicle-stimulating hormone/luteinizing hormone ratio were significantly decreased after treatment in the TES and AEC groups. After treatment, the number of oocytes retrieved and average number of embryos transferred were higher in the TES and AEC than in the CON and FHP groups. Clinical pregnancy rate in the TES group was markedly higher than values obtained for the other three groups.
CONCLUSION:
TEAS and AEC treatments could improve basal endocrine levels in patients, and increase the number of oocytes retrieved and high-quality embryos. TEAS treatment could improve the clinical pregnancy rate in patients with decreased ovarian reserve during in vitro fertilization and embryo transfer cycles.
© 2015 Japan Society of Obstetrics and Gynecology.

Can acupuncture help 35+ year old pregnant women reduce pregnancy risks

pregnant maternal age

Can acupuncture help 35+ year old pregnant women reduce pregnancy risks?

Women of this age, are a high risk for developing stillbirth and fetal growth restriction among other complications.

This study, published in journal of Physiology, researchers from University of Manchester, UK concluded that the blood flow to placenta may be the reason for increased risks. Acupuncture increases the blood flow to uterus. Use acupuncture in pregnancy as preventative measure to reduce the risks for the developing baby.

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IUI plus Acupuncture = higher success rate

iui-acupuncture-european-journal
Acupuncture and herbs increased IUI success rate from 39.4% to 65.5% in this study. The difference in the success rates is even more interesting, considering that the control group, who didn’t receive acupuncture was on average 2.3 years younger. The control group was 37.1 years old and the treatment group was 39.4. Normally, you’d expect much lower pregnancy rates in 39 year olds.

Acupuncture and Chinese herbal treatment for women undergoing intrauterine insemination
Keren Sela, Ofer Lehavi, Amnon Buchan, Karin Kedar-Shalema, Haim Yavetz, Shahar Lev-ari

Unit of Complementary Medicine, Tel Aviv Sourasky Medical Center, Affiliated to the Sackler Faculty of Medicine,

Tel Aviv University, 6 Weizmann St., Tel Aviv 64239, Israel

Fertility Research Institute, Tel Aviv Medical Center, Affiliated to the Sackler Faculty of Medicine, Tel Aviv University, Tel Aviv, Israel

Aim: To assess the effect of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM, acupuncture and medicinal herbs) as a therapeutic adjuvant to ovulation induction with intrauterine insemination (IUI) procedures and evaluate its contribution to pregnancy and “take-home baby” rates.

Materials and methods: A comparative retrospective study was carried out in a university – affiliated municipal hospital. All women undergoing artificial insemination by donor spermatozoa (AID) and concomitantly treated with TCM were invited to participate. The enrolled women underwent weekly TCM in parallel with medical therapy. The treatment lasted between 2 and 36 cycles (equivalent to a time period ranging from one month to one year). The control group was comprised of women who underwent AID without TCM and whose data were retrospectively retrieved from hospital files. Pregnancy was assessed by human chorionic gonadotropin findings in blood 12–14 days after IUI. The birth rate was calculated during follow-up.

Results: A total of 29 women aged 30–45 years were enrolled in the study. The historical control group included 94 women aged 28–46 years.

Results over an average 4-5 months cumulative period:
1. Acupuncture and herbs plus IUI; average age 39.43 years
2. Control group – IUI (DI) only; average age 37.12 years

Women who combined TCM with the procedures for undergoing IUI had significantly higher pregnancy (OR = 4.403, 95% CI 1.51–12.835,
p = 0.007) and birth rates (OR = 3.905, 95% CI 1.321–11.549, p = 0.014) than the control group.

Conclusions: TCM appears to be beneficial as an adjunctive treatment in IUI procedures. Randomized controlled trials are needed to further assess the role of acupuncture and herbs in this setting.

Full text of the study here: Acupuncture and Chinese herbal treatment for IUI