Chinese Medicine Increases the Effectiveness of Assisted Reproductive Technology

Treating infertility with Chinese medicine has been recorded in ancient texts going back thousands of years. Western medicine, on the other hand, has been treating disease for only a couple hundred years and reproductive medicine is one of our newest sciences. Over the last five years some conclusions have been made regarding using acupuncture in conjunction with assisted reproductive technology. These reports come directly out of the American Society of Reproductive Medicine’s Fertility & Sterility Journal:

    • TCM improves the fertilization rate in fresh cycles of IVF/ICSI.
    • Implantation and “take-home baby” rates were significantly higher with electro-acupuncture than without.
      In 2002, the American Society for Reproductive Medicine reported that in a study of 114 women who were receiving in-vitro fertilization (IVF), half were given acupuncture before and after the embryo transfer while the other half received IVF only. The outcome was impressive; of the women who received IVF and acupuncture, 51 percent became pregnant as opposed to 36 percent of those who received IVF only. In addition, the miscarriage rate in the acupuncture group was only 8 percent as opposed to 20 percent in the control group.
    • The results of this study support the significance of acupuncture for the outcome of IVF/ICSI.
    • Acupuncture on the day of ET significantly improves the reproductive outcome of IVF/ICSI, compared with no acupuncture.
    • Significant increases in pregnancy outcomes were confirmed by this study and the data uniquely supported the advantage of acupuncture in patients with normal pelvic blood flow.
    • Acupuncture seems to be a powerful tool to improve pregnancy rate in assisted reproduction therapy (ART).
    • Conception and implantation rates were highest with traditional needle acupuncture. IVF treatment outcomes did not differ between patients treated with laser or sham laser acupuncture.
    • Our study shows a significantly lower amount of gonadotropins used when IVF is combined with standard acupuncture.  A 70% pregnancy rate was also achieved with standard acupuncture and IVF, compared to 25%.
  • Preliminary data shows a statistically significant improvement in the biochemical pregnancy rate with acupuncture treatment.  Additionally, acupuncture was associated with a strong trend towards higher clinical pregnancy rates and take home baby rates.

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