Study Shows Accupuncture Boosts IVF Success Rates 65%

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A new study published today in the BMJ showed that the use of accupuncture boosted IVF success rates 65%.  They used the statistical tool called meta-analysis.  Here several small research studies each showing a possible effect are combined to create a virtual huge study that can demonstrate the clear power of an intervention. 

The full report can be read here.  They found a 65% increase in pregnancy rates.  Using another mathematical tool they found that for every 10 women having IVF one additional will become pregnant. 

How it can work:  There are several theories.  One is the accupuncture could increase blood flow to the uterus and help implantation.  Another is that it could relax the uterine muscles.  We have also known for some time anyhting that causes tiny uterine contractions (such as poor embryo transfer techniques) can lead to expulsion of the precious microscopic embryos out of the uterus.   

Some Fertility specialists have been using this approach:  I have been offereing accupuncture to my IVf patients at Gold Coast IVF for years since a German study initially reported benefits. 

They missed some studies showing negative effects: I was at the Annual meeting of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine in October in Washington DC.  There was a lead study there that showed accupuncture dramatically reduced pregnancy rates.  Had this been included in the BMJ study their results would have been less positive.  The study was conducted by friends of mine at a well known Seattle fertility center.  One possible explanation is that they made the patients get right up after their procedures and drive across town in traffic to get the accupuncture and stress levels were huge – another known negative factor.  They also did not use the standard needle placement of earlier studies. 

 

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