IUI plus Acupuncture = higher success rate

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