The British Acupuncture Council recently produced a comprehensive account of the current research on acupuncture and IVF.
Here are the main points:
- A 2018 systematic review and meta-analysis found acupuncture to have a significant treatment effect in improving the birth rates of subfertile women undergoing IVF or ICSI.
- A summary of previous reviews from 2009 to 2017 found acupuncture had a beneficial treatment effect on clinical pregnancy rate.
- It is recommended that future research should explore the impact of acupuncture administration during ovarian stimulation. The aim should be to improve embryo and blastocyst quality, rather than focus on acupuncture post-fertilisation.
- Acupuncture may be a suitable treatment option to help reduce stress and anxiety levels for women suffering with subfertility.
- Research indicates that the effectiveness of acupuncture may be dose-dependent, i.e. a sufficient number of acupuncture treatments are required over an adequate period of time.
- The scientific methods applied so far have been largely inadequate and the evidence inconclusive. Nevertheless, currently, research supports the findings that acupuncture at varied time points for an IVF or ICSI cycle, with increased frequency during ovarian stimulation as well as around the time of transfer, can have a statistically positive treatment effect on clinical pregnancy and live birth rate.
This is important reading for those with an interest in IVF and acupuncture research, use the download link to read on