Caroline Smith et al, JAMA, 2018 DOI: 10.1001/jama.2018.5336
Journal of the American Medical Association.
848 women at 16 different IVF centres in Australia and New Zealand were given acupuncture (with real or sham needles) by 80 different acupuncturists. A standardised protocol was delivered on Day 6 of the stimulation phase and another at some point before and after the embryo transfer. The data indicated that at this dose of acupuncture, and using these protocol points, there was no significant difference in live births between those who received the real or the sham needles.
The authors admit that ” the lack of frequent treatments was a limitation of our trial” since in real clinical practice acupuncture treatment is individualised with variation in dosing, including more frequent treatment prior to and during the IVF cycle.
They also noted that while a very short course of acupuncture may statistically be no better than sham at improving live birth and pregnancy outcomes, a psycho-social benefit from acupuncture was reported by women undergoing IVF.