Effects of “menstrual cycle-based acupuncture therapy” on IVF-ET in patients with decline in ovarian reserve

Zhou L et al, Zhongguo Zhen Jiu. 2016 Jan;36(1):25-8.
Chinese Acupuncture and Moxabustion Journal
A small randomised controlled study of patients who had low ovarian reserve preparing to do IVF and receiving acupuncture based on the different stages of the menstrual cycle showed significantly improved responses at all stages of the subsequent IVF cycle. Clinical pregnancy rates were improved in the acupuncture group compared to the control group. Live birth rates were not reported.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

To observe the effects of “menstrual cycle-based acupuncture therapy” on ovarian function and pregnancy results of in vitro fertilization-embryo transfer (IVF-ET) in patients with decline in ovarian reserve (DOR).

METHODS:

A total of 63 patients of DOR who received treatment of IVF/intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) were randomly divided into an observation group (30 cases) and a control group (33 cases). The patients in the observation group were treated with “menstrual cycle-based acupuncture therapy”. The syndrome differentiation and treatment were given based on different phases of menstruation. Shiqizhui (EX-B 8) and Mingmen (GV 4) were selected during menstrual phase, Shenshu (BL 23), Geshu (BL 17), Sanyinjiao (SP 6) and Taixi (KI 3) were selected after menstruation, Qihai (CV 6), Guanyuan (CV 4), Zigong (EX-CA 1), Zusanli (ST 36) were selected during ovulatory period, Qihai (CV 6), Guanyuan (CV 4), Yanglingquan (GB 34), Taichong (LR 3) were selected before menstruation. The acupuncture was given twice a week until second menstrual cycle of oocyte retrieval. The total times of acupuncture was (15 ± 2). After acupuncture, patients were treated with IVF-ET. The patients in the control group were treated with IVF-ET but no acupuncture. The indices of ovarian reserve function, including basic follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH), estradiol (E2), antral follicle count (AFC), number of retrieved oocytes, number of fertilization and number of high quality embryo, were compared and analyzed before and after acupuncture in the observation group. The differences of outcomes of IVF-ET, including the cycle cancellation rate, implantation rate, the clinical pregnancy rate, were compared between the two groups.

RESULTS:

Compared before acupuncture, the E2, AFC, number of retrieved oocytes, number of high quality embryos and rate of fertilization were all increased after acupuncture in the observation group (all P< 0. 05). Compared with the control group, levels of the E2, the number of retrieved oocytes, number of fertilization and number of high quality embryo were all increased in the observation group (all P < 0.05). Also, the implantation rate, the clinical pregnancy rate were improved (both P < 0.01) and cycle cancellation rate was reduced (P< 0.01).

CONCLUSION:

The “menstrual cycle-based acupuncture therapy” can effectively improve the ovarian reserve function in DOR patients, leading to an improved clinical pregnancy rate of IVF-ET.