How many acupuncture treatments do you need to improve IVF outcomes?
Our own analysis of IVF acupuncture studies has shown that the treatment protocol for IVF patients needs to take into account your specific situation.
Furthermore, the results can be significantly improved when we use the comprehensive approach of TCM diagnosis and make use of both acupuncture and herbal medicines 3+ months leading to IVF. And our colleagues who did their research agree. Furthermore, below is a study published this month suggesting that three acupuncture sessions around the day of embryo transfer are insufficient intervention.
There are situations where you will not have enough notice, or you will learn about acupuncture late in the IVF process. It may be not too late. You can still benefit from a shorter course of treatment. As an example, studies have shown that when done correctly, even four acupuncture sessions can improve uterine blood flow. If you’re willing to benefit from this treatment, please get in touch with us as early as possible. If you started IVF and you feel like it’s too late don’t worry. There are still ways how we may help improve your chances of success. When we apply the correct approach, we can make a difference even after you’ve started IVF.
If your fertility is on the rapid decline because of your age, or other factors, delaying IVF to boost your fertility may not be wise. We take every aspect of your reproductive and general health into consideration. During your initial appointment, we discuss all options with you so you can choose.
We’ve prepared a lecture on the strategies of designing optimal individualised acupuncture protocol. This lecture soon will be available via a leading continuing medical education provider shortly.
Get in touch if you’re interested to learn about the optimal protocol for IVF Acupuncture.
This study shows acupuncture in IVF patients decreases the risk of ovarian hyperstimulation. And while it has some limitations, we need to take the results into account while choosing the right acupuncture protocol for each IVF patient.
The study was published in Chinese Journal of Integrated Traditional and Western Medicine.
[Effect of electro-acupuncture on clinical outcomes and ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome in in vitro fertilization and embryo transplantation].
Hong YL, Tan Y, Yin YY, Zou YJ, Guo YH, Nie XW
Department of Gynecology, Nanjing University of Chinese Medicine, China.
Zhongguo Zhong xi yi jie he za zhi Zhongguo Zhongxiyi Jiehe Zazhi = Chinese Journal of Integrated Traditional and Western Medicine / Zhongguo Zhong xi yi jie he xue Hui, Zhongguo Zhong yi yan jiu Yuan zhu ban [2014, 34(11):1292-1296]
OBJECTIVE: To observe the effect of electro-acupuncture (EA) on clinical outcomes and the occurrence of ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome (OHSS) in in vitro fertilization and embryo transplantation.
IVF Frozen Embryo Transfer (FET) patients benefit from Acupuncture. This helps us understand how Acupuncture benefits fertility.
Electro stimulation on acupuncture points leading to the IVF transfer improves the quality/receptivity of the uterine lining. A study published in the latest issue of peer-reviewed British Medical Journal (Acupuncture in Medicine) found the rates of embryo implantation, clinical pregnancy and live birth rates were higher in patients who received acupuncture leading to the transfer. They also found significant measurable changes in the endometrium (uterine lining):
- Acupuncture improved the chances of triple-line pattern endometrial lining. It has been shown in studies that triple-line pattern is associated with good IVF outcome.
- Endometrial perfusion (blood supply to the uterine lining) is an important factor in the process of implantation. The study found greater endometrial and subendometrial vascularisation following a series of acupuncture treatments leading to embryo transfer.
- Acupuncture improved HOXA10 expression. Higher HOXA10 is associated with greater endometrial receptivity and good pregnancy outcomes. HOXA10 expression is lower in the uteri of women with hydrosalpinx, PCOS, and endometriosis.
How much acupuncture should you have to see those enhancements to your fertility? Women in this study had six acupuncture sessions per cycle for three menstrual cycles.
See the abstract of the study below. Read more
Acupuncture has been shown to increase the uterine blood flow (decrease uterine blood impedance). But does the uterine blood flow really matter when you’re having an IVF? This study provides the answer. The researchers used special ultrasound technique to measure uterine blood flow. They found that it had an immense effect on both pregnancy and implantation rates. IVF with women, who had the lowest blood flow (PI>3) on the day of transfer, unfortunately didn’t result in any pregnancies.
Fertil Steril. 1992 Feb;57(2):372-6. Read more
This study shows that there is a significant benefit to integrate acupuncture with IVF treatment for patients with two or more failed IVF cycles. It is one of the few studies using sham acupuncture to ensure that the effect of acupuncture is real, not just a placebo. The study was published in a reputable, pier-reviewed journal Acupuncture in Medicine, BMJ journals.
Influence of acupuncture on the outcomes of in vitro fertilisation when embryo implantation has failed: a prospective randomised controlled clinical trial.
Isoyama Manca di Villahermosa D, Dos Santos LG, Nogueira MB, Vilarino FL, Barbosa CP.
Faculty of Medicine of ABC, Clinic for Human Reproduction, , Santo André, São Paulo, Brazil.
To evaluate the effectiveness of acupuncture and moxibustion as an adjuvant treatment in women undergoing in vitro fertilisation (IVF) when embryo implantation has failed.
A prospective, randomised controlled clinical trial was conducted with 84 infertile patients who had had at least two unsuccessful attempts of IVF. The patients were randomised in three groups: control (n=28), sham (n=28) and acupuncture (n=28). The sample size was calculated by assuming a pregnancy rate of 10% when embryo implantation had failed. The pregnancy rates of the current IVF cycle were evaluated by measurement of blood beta human chorionic gonadotrophin (beta hCG) and subsequent transvaginal ultrasound. Acupuncture was performed on the first and seventh day of ovulation induction, on the day before ovarian puncture and on the day after embryo transfer. In the acupuncture group, patients were treated with moxibustion at nine acupuncture points (BL18, BL22, BL23, BL52, CV3, CV4, CV5, CV7, GV4) and needling at 12 points. In the sham group needles were inserted in eight areas that did not correspond to known acupuncture points.
The clinical pregnancy rate in the acupuncture group was significantly higher than that in the control and sham groups (35.7% vs 7.1% vs 10.7%; p=0.0169).
In this study, acupuncture and moxibustion increased pregnancy rates when used as an adjuvant treatment in women undergoing IVF, when embryo implantation had failed.
This systematic review on Acupuncture and IVF is especially interesting. The studies of the well researched German protocol show acupuncture to be effective on the day of embryo replacement. This systematic review shows that acupuncture during ovarian stimulation also plays significant role in increasing the pregnancy outcomes of IVF.
The aim of this paper was to provide reliable evidence by performing a systematic review and meta-analysis for evaluating the role of acupuncture in assisted reproductive technology. All randomized controlled trials that evaluated the effects of acupuncture, including manual, electrical, and laser acupuncture (LA) techniques, on the clinical pregnancy rate (CPR) and live birth rate (LBR) of in vitro fertilization (IVF) or artificial insemination were included. The controlled groups consisted of no acupuncture and sham acupuncture groups. The sham acupuncture included sham acupuncture at acupoints, sham acupuncture at non- or inappropriate points, sham LA, and adhesive tapes. Twenty-three trials (a total of 5598 participants) were included in this paper. The pooled CPR from all acupuncture groups was significantly higher than that from all controlled groups, whereas the LBR was not significantly different between the two groups. However, the results were quite distinct when the type of control and/or different acupuncture times were examined in a sensitivity analysis. The results mainly indicate that acupuncture, especially around the time of the controlled ovarian hyperstimulation, improves pregnancy outcomes in women undergoing IVF. More positive effects from acupuncture in IVF can be expected if a more individualized acupuncture programs are used.
Full text of the study can be found here.
Fertil Steril. 2012 Jan 11
Effects of acupuncture on pregnancy rates in women undergoing in vitro fertilization: a systematic review and meta-analysis.
Zheng CH, Huang GY, Zhang MM, Wang W.
Institute of Integrated Traditional Chinese and Western Medicine, Tongji Hospital, Tongji Medical College, Huazhong University of Science and Technology, Wuhan, Hubei, People’s Republic of China.
To evaluate the effect of acupuncture on in vitro fertilization (IVF) outcomes.
Systematic review and meta-analysis.
Women undergoing IVF in randomized controlled trials (RCTs) who were evaluated for the effects of acupuncture on IVF outcomes.
The intervention groups used manual, electrical, and laser acupuncture techniques. The control groups consisted of no, sham, and placebo acupuncture.
MAIN OUTCOME MEASURE(S):
The major outcomes were clinical pregnancy rate (CPR) and live birth rate (LBR). Heterogeneity of the therapeutic effect was evaluated with a forest plot analysis. Publication bias was assessed by a funnel plot analysis.
Twenty-four trials (a total of 5,807 participants) were included in this review. There were no significant publication biases for most of the comparisons among these studies. The pooled CPR (23 studies) from all of the acupuncture groups was significantly greater than that from all of the control groups, whereas the LBR (6 studies) was not significantly different between the two groups. The results were different when the type of control was examined in a sensitivity analysis. The CPR and LBR differences between the acupuncture and control groups were more obvious when the studies using the Streitberger control were ignored. Similarly, if the underlying effects of the Streitberger control were excluded, the LBR results tended to be significant when the acupuncture was performed around the time of oocyte aspiration or controlled ovarian hyperstimulation.
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.
Increase of success rate for women undergoing embryo transfer by transcutaneous electrical acupoint stimulation: a prospective randomized placebo-controlled study
To evaluate the effect of transcutaneous electrical acupoint stimulation (TEAS) on pregnancy rates (PR) in women undergoing ET.
Prospective, randomized, single-blinded placebo-controlled clinical trial.
Research and laboratory facilities.
A total of 309 patients, less than 45 years old, undergoing cryopreservation embryos transplant or fresh cycle IVF with or without intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI).
The subjects were randomly allocated to three groups: mock TEAS treatment: 30 minutes after ET (group I, n = 99); single TEAS treatment: 30 minutes after ET (group II, n = 110); and double TEAS treatments: 24 hours before ET and 30 minutes after ET (group III, n = 100).
Main Outcome Measure(s)
Clinical PR, embryos implantation rate, live birth rate.
The clinical PR, embryos implantation rate, and live birth rate of group I (29.3%, 15.0%, and 21.2%, respectively) were significantly lower than those in group II (42.7%, 25.7%, and 37.3%, respectively) and group III (50.0%, 25.9%, and 42.0%, respectively).
Transcutaneous electrical acupoint stimulation, especially double TEAS, significantly improved the clinical outcome of ET.
Key Words: Acupuncture, transcutaneous electrical acupoint stimulation (TEAS), pregnancy rate (PR), in vitro fertilization (IVF), embryo transfer (ET), intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI)
Selecting a control for in vitro fertilization and acupuncture randomized controlled trials (RCTs): how sham controls may unnecessarily complicate the RCT evidence base
Eric Manheimer M.S.Corresponding Author Contact Information, a, E-mail The Corresponding Author
a Center for Integrative Medicine, School of Medicine, University of Maryland, Baltimore, Maryland
Received 5 April 2011;
revised 11 April 2011;
accepted 13 April 2011.
Available online 13 May 2011.
To examine the theoretical and methodologic rationales for the use of sham acupuncture controls in trials of adjuvant acupuncture for in vitro fertilization (IVF), and to identify the drawbacks of using a sham acupuncture control that may have its own effects on the pregnancy outcome. Read more
Zhongguo Zhen Jiu. 2009 Oct;29(10):775-9.
[Effects of electro-acupuncture on in vitro fertilization-embryo transfer (IVF-ET) of patients with poor ovarian response]
[Article in Chinese]
Chen J, Liu LL, Cui W, Sun W.
Department of Reproduction, The Second Affiliated Hospital of Shandong University of TCM, Jinan 250001, China. email@example.com
OBJECTIVE: To observe the effect of electro-acupuncture therapy on oocyte quality and pregnancy outcome of patients with poor ovarian response or decreased reserve in the course of in vitro fertilization (IVF).
METHODS: Sixty cases accepting IVF-ET were randomly divided into an observation group and a control group, 30 cases in each group. The two groups were both treated with antagonist scheme for ovulation induction, and the electro-acupuncture intervention was also added in the observation group, Guanyuan (CV 4), Taixi (KI 3), Sanyinjiao (SP 6) etc. were selected. The therapeutic effects in the two groups were compared after treatment.
RESULTS: There was no significant difference between the two groups before treatment. The symptoms of kidney difficiency in the observation group were significantly improved after treatment, and the levels of serum estradiol (E2), fertilization rate, oocyte maturation rate, good quality embryos rate, and implantation rate in the observation group were superior to those in the control group on human Chorionic Gonadotropin (hCG) injection day (all P<0.05); the levels of stem cell factor (SCF) in follicular fluid and serum in the observation group were significantly higher than those in the control group (both P<0.05). The pregnancy rate in the observation group was higher than that in the control group, and the abortion rate in the observation group was lower than that in the control group, but there was no significant difference between the two groups (both P>0.05).
CONCLUSION: Electro-acupuncture therapy has a good clinical effect for IVF patients with poor ovarian reserve, and can improve oocyte (egg) quality and pregnancy outcome.
PMID: 19873910 [PubMed – indexed for MEDLINE]
Complement Ther Clin Pract. 2010 Aug;16(3):154-7. Epub 2009 Dec 24.
The relationship between perceived stress, acupuncture, and pregnancy rates among IVF patients: a pilot study.
Balk J, Catov J, Horn B, Gecsi K, Wakim A.
University of Pittsburgh, Magee-Womens Hospital, 300 Halket Street, Pittsburgh, PA 15213, USA. firstname.lastname@example.org
The aim of this paper was to determine the effect of acupuncture on perceived stress levels in women on the day of embryo transfer (ET), and to determine if perceived stress levels at embryo transfer correlated with pregnancy rates. The study was an observational, prospective, cohort study based at the University IVF center.
PATIENT(S): 57 infertile patients undergoing IVF or IVF/ICSI. INTERVENTIONS(S): Patients were undergoing Embryo Transfer with or without acupuncture as part of their standard clinical care.
MAIN OUTCOME MEASURE(S): Perceive Stress Scale scores, pregnancy rates.
RESULT(S): women who received this acupuncture regimen achieved pregnancy 64.7%, whereas those without acupuncture achieved pregnancy 42.5%. When stratified by donor recipient status, only non-donor recipients potentially had an improvement with acupuncture (35.5% without acupuncture vs. 55.6% with acupuncture). Those who received this acupuncture regimen had lower stress scores both pre-ET and post-ET compared to those who did not. Those with decreased their perceived stress scores compared to baseline had higher pregnancy rates than those who did not demonstrate this decrease, regardless of acupuncture status. CONCLUSIONS(S): The acupuncture regimen was associated with less stress both before and after embryo transfer, and it possibly improved pregnancy rates. Lower perceived stress at the time of embryo transfer may play a role in an improved pregnancy rate.
PMID: 20621276 [PubMed – in process]PMCID: PMC2904299 [Available on 2011/8/1]
Changes in serum cortisol and prolactin associated with acupuncture during controlled ovarian hyperstimulation in women undergoing in vitro fertilization–embryo transfer treatment
Paul C. Magarelli, M.D.aCorresponding Author Informationemail address, Diane K. Cridennda, L.Acb, Mel Cohen, Ph.D.a
Received 22 May 2008; received in revised form 24 October 2008; accepted 28 October 2008. published online 31 December 2008.
To determine whether changes in serum cortisol (CORT) and PRL are affected by acupuncture (Ac) in Ac-treated IVF patients.
Prospective cohort clinical study.
Private practice reproductive endocrinology and infertility clinic and private practice acupuncture consortium.
Sixty-seven reproductive-age infertile women undergoing IVF.
Blood samples were obtained from all consenting new infertility patients and serum CORT and serum PRL were obtained prospectively. Patients were grouped as controls (IVF with no Ac) and treated (IVF with Ac) according to acupuncture protocols derived from randomized controlled trials.
Main Outcome Measure(s)
Serum levels of CORT and PRL were measured and synchronized with medication stimulation days of the IVF cycle (e.g., day 2 of stimulation, day 3, etc.). Reproductive outcomes were collected according to Society for Assisted Reproductive Technology protocols, and results were compared between controls and those patients treated with Ac.
CORT levels in Ac group were significantly higher on IVF medication days 7, 8, 9, 11, 12, and 13 compared with controls. PRL levels in the Ac group were significantly higher on IVF medication days 5, 6, 7, and 8 compared with controls.
In this study, there appears to be a beneficial regulation of CORT and PRL in the Acupuncture group during the medication phase of the IVF treatment with a trend toward more normal fertile cycle dynamics.
The Role of Acupuncture in the Management of Subfertility
Ng E H et al Fertil Steril. 2008 Jul;90(1):1-13.
Fertility and Sterility
OBJECTIVE: To review systematically the use of acupuncture in the management of subfertility.
DESIGN: A computer search was performed via several English and Chinese databases to identify journals relevant to the subject.
RESULT(S): The positive effect of acupuncture in the treatment of subfertility may be related to the central sympathetic inhibition by the endorphin system, the change in uterine blood flow and motility, and stress reduction. Acupuncture may help restore ovulation in patients with polycystic ovary syndrome, although there are not enough randomized studies to validate this.
There is also no sufficient evidence supporting the role of acupuncture in male subfertility, as most of the studies are uncontrolled case reports or case series in which the sample sizes were small. Despite these deficiencies, acupuncture can be considered as an effective alternative for pain relief during oocyte retrieval in patients who cannot tolerate side effects of conscious sedation.
The pregnancy rate of IVF treatment is significantly increased, especially when acupuncture is administered on the day of embryo transfer.
CONCLUSION(S): Although acupuncture has gained increasing popularity in the management of subfertility, its effectiveness has remained controversial.
Effects of acupuncture on rates of pregnancy and live birth among women undergoing in vitro fertilisation: systematic review and meta-analysis
Eric Manheimer, research associate1, Grant Zhang, assistant professor1, Laurence Udoff, assistant professor2, Aviad Haramati, professor3, Patricia Langenberg, professor and vice-chair4, Brian M Berman, professor1, Lex M Bouter, professor and vice chancellor (rector magnificus)5
1 Center for Integrative Medicine, University of Maryland School of Medicine, 2200 Kernan Drive, Kernan Hospital Mansion, Baltimore, MD 21207, USA, 2 Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Services, University of Maryland School of Medicine, 3 Department of Physiology and Biophysics and Medicine, Georgetown University School of Medicine, Washington, DC, 4 Department of Epidemiology and Preventive Medicine, University of Maryland School of Medicine, 5 VU University Amsterdam De Boelelaan 1105, 1081 HV Amsterdam, the Netherlands
Correspondence to: E Manheimer email@example.com
Objective To evaluate whether acupuncture improves rates of pregnancy and live birth when used as an adjuvant treatment to embryo transfer in women undergoing in vitro fertilisation.
Design Systematic review and meta-analysis.
Data sources Medline, Cochrane Central, Embase, Chinese Biomedical Database, hand searched abstracts, and reference lists.
Review methods Eligible studies were randomised controlled trials that compared needle acupuncture administered within one day of embryo transfer with sham acupuncture or no adjuvant treatment, with reported outcomes of at least one of clinical pregnancy, ongoing pregnancy, or live birth. Two reviewers independently agreed on eligibility; assessed methodological quality; and extracted outcome data. For all trials, investigators contributed additional data not included in the original publication (such as live births). Meta-analyses included all randomised patients.
Data synthesis Seven trials with 1366 women undergoing in vitro fertilisation were included in the meta-analyses. There was little clinical heterogeneity. Trials with sham acupuncture and no adjuvant treatment as controls were pooled for the primary analysis. Complementing the embryo transfer process with acupuncture was associated with significant and clinically relevant improvements in clinical pregnancy (odds ratio 1.65, 95% confidence interval 1.27 to 2.14; number needed to treat (NNT) 10 (7 to 17); seven trials), ongoing pregnancy (1.87, 1.40 to 2.49; NNT 9 (6 to 15); five trials), and live birth (1.91, 1.39 to 2.64; NNT 9 (6 to 17); four trials). Because we were unable to obtain outcome data on live births for three of the included trials, the pooled odds ratio for clinical pregnancy more accurately represents the true combined effect from these trials rather than the odds ratio for live birth. The results were robust to sensitivity analyses on study validity variables. A prespecified subgroup analysis restricted to the three trials with the higher rates of clinical pregnancy in the control group, however, suggested a smaller non-significant benefit of acupuncture (odds ratio 1.24, 0.86 to 1.77).
Conclusions Current preliminary evidence suggests that acupuncture given with embryo transfer improves rates of pregnancy and live birth among women undergoing in vitro fertilisation.
Acupuncture Treatment For Infertile Women Undergoing Intracytoplasmic Sperm injection
Sandra L. Emmons, MD
Phillip Patton, MD
Source: Medical Acupuncture, A Journal For Physicians By Physicians
Spring / Summer 2000- Volume 12 / Number 2
"Aurum Nostrum Non Est Aurum Vulgi"
|Table 1. Outcomes for Acupuncture vs Non-Acupuncture Cycles Among 6 Women Undergoing ICSI*|
|Mean No.||No.||Mean No.||No.||Outcome|
|Mean (SD)||3.7 (1.0)||8.4 (1.3)|
|*ICSI indicates intracytoplasmic sperm injection; IUP, intrauterine pregnancy; and SAB, early spontaneous abortion. P=.02 for overall acupuncture follicles vs non-acupuncture follicles.|
A prospective randomized study of electro-acupuncture versus alfentanil as anaesthesia during oocyte aspiration in in-vitro fertilization
Elisabet Stener-Victorin1,4, Urban WaldenstrÃ¶m2, Lars Nilsson1, Matts Wikland3 and Per Olof Janson1
1 Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, GÃ¶teborg University, SE-413 45 GÃ¶teborg, 2 IVF Center Falun, SE-791 82 Fallun, 3 Fertility Centre Scandinavia, SE-402 29 GÃ¶teborg, Sweden
The aim of the present study was to evaluate the anaesthetic effect during oocyte aspiration of a paracervical block (PCB) in combination with either electro-acupuncture (EA) or intravenous alfentanil. In all, 150 women undergoing in-vitro fertilization (IVF) and embryo transfer were randomized to receive either EA plus PCB or alfentanil plus PCB. Visual analogue scales (VAS) were used to evaluate subjective experiences during oocyte aspiration, and IVF outcome parameters were recorded. No differences in pain directly related to oocyte aspiration, adequacy of anaesthesia during oocyte aspiration, abdominal pain, or degree of nausea were found between the two groups in the VAS ratings. Before oocyte aspiration, the level of stress was significantly higher in the EA group than in the alfentanil group (P < 0.05), and the EA group experienced discomfort for a significantly longer period during oocyte aspiration (P < 0.01). Compared with the alfentanil group, the EA group had a significantly higher implantation rate (P < 0.05), pregnancy rate (P < 0.05), and take home baby rate (P < 0.05) per embryo transfer. In conclusion, EA has been shown to be as good an anaesthetic method as alfentanil during oocyte aspiration, and we suggest that EA may be a good alternative to conventional anaesthesia during oocyte aspiration. Key words: alfentanil/anaesthesia/electro-acupuncture/implantation rate/oocyte aspiration, ivf 4 To whom correspondence should be addressed at: Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Kvinnokliniken, Sahlgrenska University Hospital, SE-413 45 GÃ¶teborg, Sweden Human Reproduction, Vol. 14, No. 10, 2480-2484, October 1999 Â© 1999 European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology
Pain relief during oocyte retrieval with a new short duration electro-acupuncture technique–an alternative to conventional analgesic methods.
Humaidan P, Stener-Victorin E.
The Fertility Clinic, Skive Sygehus, DK 7800 Skive, Denmark.
BACKGROUND: Acupuncture previously has proved its pain-relieving effect for ovum pick-up (OPU). The analgesic effect of electro-acupuncture (EA) was evaluated when EA was applied for only a few minutes prior to OPU in an attempt to make EA more attractive for clinical use. METHODS: Two hundred patients undergoing OPU were randomized prospectively using sealed, unlabelled envelopes, to receive pain relief with either EA in combination with a paracervical block (PCB) (n = 100) or conventional medical analgesia (CMA) in combination with a PCB (n = 100). A visual analogue scale (VAS) was used to evaluate pain and anxiety before, during and after OPU. The primary outcome measure was pain relief; secondary end-points were costs, time to discharge and clinical outcome parameters. RESULTS: There were no differences in any VAS ratings before the procedure. Directly after OPU, the EA group reported significantly higher mean and maximum pain, and ‘pain now’ than the CMA group. At 30 min after OPU and thereafter, no significant differences were found between the groups regarding abdominal pain. Time to discharge and costs were significantly lower in the EA group compared with the CMA group. No differences in clinical outcome parameters were seen. CONCLUSION: A significant difference was found between the EA and the CMA groups regarding pain during the OPU, probably due to the fact that the CMA group was pre-medicated as part of the study design. Despite a per-operative difference in pain rating, EA, given a few minutes prior to OPU, is a good alternative to CMA. The procedure is well tolerated by the patients, with a shorter hospitalization time and lower costs.
Hum Reprod. 2004 Jun;19(6):1367-72. Epub 2004 Apr 22.
Acupuncture: Impact on Pregnancy Outcomes in IVF Patients
12th World Congress on Human Reproduction, Venice Italy March 2005
Paul C. Magarelli, M.D., Ph.D. Reproductive Medicine & Fertility Center, Colorado Springs www.475-baby.com
Diane Cridennda, L.Ac. East Winds Acupuncture www.eastwindsacupuncture.com
Mel Cohen, MBA Reproductive Medicine & Fertility Center, Colorado Springs
Take Home babiesâ€™ rates (THB) have been the sine quo non of IVF outcomes. Pregnancy rates (PR) can overestimate the expected success of a high-technology treatment for patients and many clinics use PR as means of marketing their practices. This has caused disillusionment in patients and government regulation (especially in the U.S.). Each IVF program strives to improve reproductive outcomes (low ectopic rates, low miscarriage rates and improved take home baby rates â€“ live births). Usually the approach to these improvements are changes in IVF protocols, media adjustments in the IVF lab, patient selection, and subtle nudges towards egg donors for poor responders. Another approach has been the inclusion of alternative medical modalities: acupuncture, massage therapy, stress reduction techniques, herbal medicine. We, and others, have chosen to incorporate Acupuncture into our IVF treatment protocols. Recently we presented two studies that demonstrated improvements in pregnancy rates in Good and Poor IVF Responders with the inclusion of two specific Acupuncture Protocols (Steiner-Victorin and Paulus et. Al). In the poor responders group we demonstrated a positive adjustment to Poor Responders pregnancy rates (PR) with improvements in PR in the Poor Responders group equivalent to good responders. In the Good Responders study we demonstrated a trend towards improved PR (5% above controls, not significant at p < 0.05). With these observations noted we have continued our investigation and are reporting on reproductive outcomes in all IVF patients treated with Acupuncture compared to those untreated. Materials and Methods: In this study 130 IVF cycles were reviewed in a retrospective fashion. Patients demographics, years infertile, age of male partners, sperm parameters, Day 3 FSH, Pulsatility Indices, Weight, BMI, infertility diagnoses, IVF treatment protocols were statistically similar for both the Controls (C) and Acupuncture (Ac) treatment groups. All patients that completed an IVF cycle (retrieval, transfer) were included. There were 82 in the C group (non acupuncture) and 48 in the Ac group. For the C vs. Ac groups a summary of their statistics are as follows: Mean Age was 32.6 vs. 32.7, Day 3 FSH was 5.5 vs. 6.4, Pulsatility Indices for right and left uterine arteries were 1.5 and 1.2 vs. 1.4 and 1.0; Sperm counts were 69 vs. 67 million/ml; Sperm motility (%) were 48 vs. 53%, and Sperm morphologies were 6 % normal vs. 7%. Results: Pregnancy rates for the Ac group were statistically similar, although numerically higher, versus C (50% v 45% at P < 0.05). Ac miscarriage rates (SAB) were statistically lower than the C (8 % vs. 11% at p <0.01). There were no ectopic pregnancies in the Ac group ( P < 0.01). Live Births were significantly better in the Ac v C groups (42% v 38%). A surprising observation was that multiples pregnancies were significantly lower in the Ac vs. C groups (17 % vs. 22%). Average eggs retrieved were statistically similar 15 vs. 15 for Ac and C respectively. Conclusions: IVF programs can significantly improve their IVF outcomes ( PR, THB, SAB and Ectopic) by adding acupuncture protocols, specifically Steiner Victorin and Paulus. Further studies of Traditional Chine Medicine modalities of treatment are underway. We are organizing a multicenter prospective study to confirm our observations.
Fertil Steril. 2002 Apr;77(4):721-4.
Influence of acupuncture on the pregnancy rate in patients who undergo assisted reproduction therapy.
Paulus WE, Zhang M, Strehler E, El-Danasouri I, Sterzik K.
Department of Reproductive Medicine, Christian-Lauritzen-Institut, Ulm, Germany. firstname.lastname@example.org
OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the effect of acupuncture on the pregnancy rate in assisted reproduction therapy (ART) by comparing a group of patients receiving acupuncture treatment shortly before and after embryo transfer with a control group receiving no acupuncture. DESIGN: Prospective randomized study. SETTING: Fertility center. PATIENT(S): After giving informed consent, 160 patients who were undergoing ART and who had good quality embryos were divided into the following two groups through random selection: embryo transfer with acupuncture (n = 80) and embryo transfer without acupuncture (n = 80). INTERVENTION(S): Acupuncture was performed in 80 patients 25 minutes before and after embryo transfer. In the control group, embryos were transferred without any supportive therapy. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURE(S): Clinical pregnancy was defined as the presence of a fetal sac during an ultrasound examination 6 weeks after embryo transfer.
RESULT(S): Clinical pregnancies were documented in 34 of 80 patients (42.5%) in the acupuncture group, whereas pregnancy rate was only 26.3% (21 out of 80 patients) in the control group.
CONCLUSION(S): Acupuncture seems to be a useful tool for improving pregnancy rate after ART.