Acupuncture Increases IVF Success by 65%
Women undergoing IVF were 65 percent more likely to become pregnant when they combined the procedure with acupuncture, a recent study has shown. The remarkable success rate occurred across seven acupuncture trials involving 1,366 women in a systematic review and meta-analysis published in a February, 2008 issue of the British Medical Journal.
Acupuncture was delivered either just before or just after embryo transfer - a step in the process of in vitro fertilization (IVF) whereby one or several embryos are placed into the uterus. The research was carried out by scientists from the University of Maryland in the United States and the VU University of Amsterdam in Holland.
It is thought that acupuncture stimulates the neurotransmitters that trigger the production of gonadotrophin-releasing hormone, which controls the menstrual cycle and a woman's ovulation. Acupuncture is also thought to stimulate blood flow to the uterus and boost the production of endogenous opioids, inducing the body to relax.
Acupuncture Improves Sperm Quality
Acupuncture helped infertile men by apparently helping improve sperm quality in their semen. A study published in the July 2005 issue of the journal Fertility and Sterility found that
In the research project, 28 men received acupuncture in addition to traditional infertility treatments, while another 12 men received only the traditional treatments. All of the men were diagnosed with infertility of unknown origin.
Acupuncture was associated with fewer structural defects in the sperm of men who received it, although it had no effect on other abnormalities, such as sperm immaturity or premature death. Previous studies have shown a link between acupuncture and improved sperm production and motility.