Page URL: https://www.bionews.org.uk/page_90876

Acupuncture does not increase chance of IVF conception: further evidence

17 November 2008
Appeared in BioNews 484

Two new studies have found that acupuncture does not increase the chances of conception through IVF. The first study was conducted by Prentice Women's Hospital in Chicago, and was presented at the American Society for Reproductive Medicine conference in San Francisco, and the second was published in the journal Human Reproduction.

For the Prentice Women's Hospital study, led by Irene Moy, 124 women were split into two groups. One group was given real acupuncture, while the other was given 'sham' acupuncture, both before and after embryo implantation.  The patients undergoing sham acupuncture had needles inserted into the body, but not at known acupuncture points. Of the women taking part in the study, 43.9% given genuine acupuncture conceived, while 55.2% of those given sham acupuncture conceived.

The study published in Human Reproduction took place at the Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology at the University of Hong Kong, where real and sham acupuncture was given to 370 patients. In this study the sham acupuncture used a placebo needle, which gave the appearance and sensation of piercing the skin, but was blunt and retracted into the handle of the needle when pressed on the skin. The ensuing pregnancy rate for sham acupuncture patients was 55.1% versus 43.8% for real acupuncture.

Dr Ernest Hung Yu Ng, who led the study, commented: 'we found a significantly higher overall pregnancy rate following placebo acupuncture when compared with that of real acupuncture. In addition, there was a trend towards higher rates of clinical pregnancy, ongoing pregnancy, live birth and embryo implantation in the placebo acupuncture group, although the differences did not reach statistical significance.'

There was also a suggestion that the sham acupuncture was having an effect on pregnancy rates, as both sham and real acupuncture appeared to result in a lowering of stress hormones, conducive to pregnancy. Dr Mark Hamilton, chairman of the British Fertility Society said: 'this study illustrates the uncertainty about the role of acupuncture in the treatment of infertility. The jury is still out and there is not enough evidence to suggest this should be a definitive and resources adjunct to traditional treatment.'

The results of the two studies support earlier work that suggested there was no link between IVF success and acupuncture. In what was said to be one of the most thorough studies into the issue, close to 2,500 women were studied across 13 clinical trials looking into the effect of using acupuncture on implantation success rates at both the time of embryo implantation and egg extraction. The findings of the studies were presented by Dr Sesh Kamal Sunkara, who led the team of scientists from Guy's and St Thomas' NHS Trust, at the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology conference in Barcelona last week.

Professor Peter Braude, from King's College London, said of acupuncture: 'there isn't a disadvantage to it, to the best of our knowledge, but we mustn't say it will make a difference as there is no evidence to support that. I also can't see a mechanism that would explain any positive effects.'

SOURCES & REFERENCES
Acupuncture during IVF treatment 'does not increase chances of successful pregnancy'
The Daily Telegraph |  12 November 2008
Acupuncture's no conception boost
Press Association |  13 November 2008
Having acupuncture treatment during fertility treatment may reduce your chance of pregnancy
The Daily Mail |  13 November 2008
Needle therapy 'no aid to pregnancy'
Nursing in Practice |  13 November 2008
RELATED ARTICLES FROM THE BIONEWS ARCHIVE
31 January 2011 - by Dr Lux Fatimathas 
Israeli researchers have shown a correlation between successful IVF (in vitro fertilisation) and 'medical clowning'. In a small-scale study a 'medical clown' was used to entertain women immediately following embryo implantation. A rise in the pregnancy rate was observed in the women subjected to medical clowning compared to controls...
2 August 2010 - by Nick Dalton-Brewer 
Sarah Guy's bold statement 'acupuncture does not increase the chance of IVF success' is based on the conclusions of a study which is arguably flawed in many ways...
6 April 2010 - by Harriet Vickers 
Alternative therapies - especially acupuncture - are employed by a substantial proportion of Americans trying to get pregnant, say researchers. Nearly a third of couples followed in a Californian study tried acupuncture, herbal therapy and massage....
15 March 2010 - by Dr Sophie Pryor 
Acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine do not provide any benefit to women trying to become pregnant, the British Fertility Society (BFS) has found after reviewing the available evidence. The new guidelines, published in the journal Human Fertility, state that there is 'currently no evidence' that these methods increase the success rate of assisted conception, when used in conjunction with IVF (in vitro fertilisation)....
26 October 2009 - by Dr Will Fletcher 
Reducing stress may increase fertility, a new study suggests. At a fertility centre in Boston, US, some women took part in a stress management program in parallel with their IVF treatment whilst others did not. It was found that the program had no effect on how many women conceived at the first try. However, women who failed at the first attempt and were trying to get pregnant a second time, whilst using the stress management techniques,experienced a 160...
29 September 2008 - by Katy Sinclair 
Researchers at the University of Southampton and Princess Anne Hospital in Southampton, UK, have found that women undergoing acupuncture at the same time as IVF increased their chances of having a baby from one in five to one in three. The research, published on the Cochrane Library's...
14 July 2008 - by Antony Blackburn-Starza 
Scientists have failed to establish a link between the use of acupuncture on fertility patients and IVF success rates. In what is said to be one of the most thorough studies into the issue, close to 2,500 women were studied across 13 clinical trials looking into the...
11 February 2008 - by Katy Sinclair 
By Katy Sinclair: A team of doctors from the University of Maryland and the University of Amsterdam have published a report in the British Medical Journal, claiming that acupuncture could increase IVF success rates by as much as 65 per cent. The team, led by researcher Eric Manheimer, reviewed seven...
23 October 2007 - by MacKenna Roberts 
By MacKenna Roberts: Contrary to the widely held belief that acupuncture enhances a woman's chances of successfully becoming pregnant whilst undergoing IVF treatment, a study at the University of Oklahoma found that women who combine acupuncture and IVF were 37 per cent less likely to conceive than those who underwent...
10 July 2007 - by Katy Sinclair 
A study has found that women undertaking fertility treatment as well as complementary therapies were 30 per cent less likely to fall pregnant than women undertaking fertility treatment alone, raising concerns that some complementary therapies may be harming women's chances of becoming pregnant. The findings, by a...
22 April 2002 - by BioNews 
Research published in the journal Fertility and Sterility suggests that the use of acupuncture before and during IVF treatment may improve the chances of success. Acupuncture is a traditional Chinese medical practice that is believed to stimulate the flow of energy throughout the body. The scientists, from the Christian-Lauritzen-Institut in...
HAVE YOUR SAY
Log in to add a Comment.

By posting a comment you agree to abide by the BioNews terms and conditions


Syndicate this story - click here to enquire about using this story.