Acupuncture, as an alternative therapy has been found to provide a host of benefits ranging from effective treatment of back pain and tinnitus to easing menopausal hot flashes and as an effective post-Cancer surgery treatment. Now, women who are undergoing in-vitro fertilization can improve their chances of pregnancy when acupuncture is given with the embryo transfer.
The researchers included scientists from the University of Maryland School of Medicine and VU University in Amsterdam, who looked at around 7 previous trials and studies that included 1,366 women undergoing IVF.
During the trials, some women were given genuine acupuncture; some others were given “sham” acupuncture, while others were not given any treatment at all. The chances of pregnancy were improved by 65% in the group of women who were given genuine treatments.
According to lead researcher Eric Manheimer, a research associate at the University of Maryland School of Medicine’s Center for Integrative Medicine, “Complementing the embryo transfer process with acupuncture seems to increase the odds of pregnancy by 65 percent, compared to sham acupuncture or no adjuvant treatment.”
“I think the findings should be regarded as somewhat preliminary. Acupuncture can improve the rates of pregnancy and live birth. Some couples might want to choose acupuncture but others might want to wait until further research has been done,” he further went on to say.
Professor Edzard Ernst, from the Peninsula Medical School in Plymouth, welcomed the results of the study with doubt.
“One the face of it, these results sound fantastic, I would, however, be very cautious as much of the observed effect could be due to a placebo response. IVF may not seem to be ‘placebo-prone’ but it probably is: if women expect it to be helpful they are more relaxed which, in turn, would affect pregnancy rates,” he was quoted as saying.
However, Dr. Manheimer said that more studies would be needed to make sure that acupuncture really helps women who chose IVF to get pregnant.