The collection of papers in this section includes some that examined the role of acupuncture just at the time of embryo transfer in an IVF cycle and a number of other trials which looked at the effect of using acupuncture before and throughout the IVF cycle.
- Acupuncture and IVF; Some large randomised controlled trials found that there was no significant across the board benefit from acupuncture administered only on the day of transfer, (and in some cases with an additional treatment before the day of transfer) when compared with sham acupuncture. Two other well designed RCTs examined the effect of administering acupuncture throughout the stimulation phase as well as at, or near embryo transfer to 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 have examined electro-acupuncture or TEAS’s impact on responsiveness of ovaries with low reserve and have 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 or fresh embryo transfers. Promising results are reported in all these trials, and we look forward to further 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. Results were encouraging and hence we anticipate larger RCTs will be carried out.
- Natural fertility; The logistics of recruitment and funding mean that very few studies of the effect of Chinese medicine on fertility have been published. Some small trials have shown results that will encourage further research in this area.
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