Prior to Conception: The Role of an Acupuncture Protocol in Improving Women’s Reproductive Functioning


Cochrane S et al,  Evid Based Comp and Alt Med, 2016, Article ID 3587569, 11 pages

Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine


Acupuncture as a modality to improve fertility in women who had been trying to conceive for a year or more without success, was assessed in this review. It shows that women receiving acupuncture tend to conceive more rapidly than those in a control group.




The global average of couples with fertility problems is 9%. Assisted reproductive technologies are often inaccessible. Evidence points to acupuncture offering an opportunity to promote natural fertility. This study askedwhether providing amultiphasic fertility acupuncture protocol to women with sub/infertility would increase their awareness of fertility and achieve normalisation of their menstrual cycle compared with a lifestyle control. In a pragmatic randomised controlled trial sub/infertile women were offered an intervention of acupuncture and lifestyle modification or lifestyle modification only. There was a statistically significant increase in fertility awareness in the acupuncture group (86.4%, 19) compared to 40% ( = 8) of the lifestyle only participants (Relative Risk (RR) 2.38, 95% confidence interval (CI) of 1.25, 4.50), with an adjusted value of 0.011. Changes in menstrual regularity were not statistically significant. There was no statistical difference in the pregnancy rate with seven women (adjusted = 0.992) achieving pregnancy during the course of the study intervention.Those receiving the acupuncture conceived within an average of 5.5 weeks compared to 10.67 weeks for the lifestyle only group ( = 0.422). The acupuncture protocol tested influenced women who received it compared to women who used lifestyle modification alone: their fertility awareness and wellbeing increased, and those who conceived did so in half the time.