ACUPUNCTURE, HERBS, IVF and PREGNANCY RATE

The collection of papers in this section includes some that examined the role of acupuncture at the time of embryo transfer in an IVF cycle.

  • Acupuncture and IVF; The largest randomised controlled trials in this area found that there was no benefit from  acupuncture on the day of transfer, (and in some cases with an additional treatment before the day of transfer) compared with sham acupuncture.  Two smaller but well designed RCTs examined the effect of administering acupuncture throughout the stimulation phase as well as at, or near embryo transfer on IVF patients with a past history of failed cycles or a poor prognosis. Both of these found that the acupuncture groups pregnancy rate was significantly higher than the control groups. See also Meta-analyses.

Other publications in this section include studies on the impact of acupuncture or chinese herbs on low ovarian reserve, intrauterine insemination, natural fertility, endometrial receptivity and frozen embryo transfer.

  • Low ovarian reserve; Two studies examining electro-acupuncture or TEAS’s impact on responsiveness of ovaries with low reserve reported encouraging findings, as did one where herbal medicine’s effect on ovarian reserve was examined but we await larger randomised controlled trials before firm conclusions can be drawn as to therapeutic efficacy.
  • Endometrial receptivity/FET; Pregnancy rates and endometrium quality were examined in 2 randomised controlled trials that used well known Chinese herbal formulas. In another couple of randomised controlled trials the effect of TEAS acupuncture point stimulation on endometrial receptivity and pregnancy rates was examined in women preparing for frozen embryo transfers. While positive results are reported in all these trials, we look forward to larger RCTs.
  • Intrauterine insemination; Only one study has been published as far as we know on the effect of Chinese Medicine treatment on the outcomes of IntraUterine Insemination. A small controlled but non randomised trial found that the group of women who used Chinese medicine had a markedly higher pregnancy and live birth rate. As with the above, larger RCTs are required before definitive conclusions can be reached.
  • Natural fertility; The logistics of recruitment and funding mean that very few studies of the effect of Chinese medicine on fertility have been published. One small randomised controlled trial found that Chinese medicine treatment halved the time to conception compared to a control group. If this sort of trial can be mounted with larger numbers we may be able to make some claims about the effect of Chinese medicine on fertility.