This final section of our archives, gathers Meta-analyses and Systematic Reviews relating to Acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine used with fertility patients (mostly IVF) and for conditions related to reproductive health. A systematic review collects and summarises evidence and a meta-analysis applies statistical methods to summarise the results of these studies. Systematic reviews and meta-analysis are considered to be the highest quality evidence because their strict inclusion criteria can reduce bias and produce more reliable findings. Each Meta analysis typically analyses pooled data collected from thousands of women.
Most of the early research that was published in English language medical journals concerned the treatment of IVF patients with acupuncture administered on the day of Embryo transfer. The randomised controlled trials (RCTs) collected for analysis started back as far as 2002 and by 2008 a Meta-analysis of 7 eligible RCTs was published in the prestigious British Medical Journal. This first meta-analysis generated a lot of excitement among IVF patients and encouraged more research to follow.
Important provisos; while all the meta analyses listed here include only eligible RCTs chosen with strict inclusion criteria, the heterogeneity and risk of bias in these trials has lead most authors to suggest that more RCTs are required before any specific recommendations are made to patients. Another proviso we must add here, is that many trials did not administer the optimal number of acupuncture treatments and few used acupuncture as it used traditionally (ie highly individualised treatments).
Please Read More for a summary of what has been published over the last 12 years…… with mention of pertinent conclusions.