Studies on Use of Chinese Medicine with IVF

Acupuncture on the day of embryo transfer significantly improves the reproductive outcome in infertile women: a prospective, randomized trial. Fertility Serility.85(5):1341-6, May 2006.
L. G. Westergaard, Q. Mao, M. Krogslund,
S. Sandrini, S. Lenz, and J. Grinsted
Hellerup, Frederiksberg C, and Varde, Denmark

In this study, one group of patients received acupuncture on the day of embryo transfer (ET), another group on ET day and again 2 days later.  Both groups were compared with a control group that did not receive acupuncture.  The conclusion was that acupuncture on the day of ET significantly improves the reproductive outcome of IVF/ICSI, compared with no acupuncture.  Repeating acupuncture on ET day +2 provided no additional beneficial effect.

Effect of acupuncture on the outcome of in vitro fertilization and intracytoplasmic sperm injection: a randomized, prospective, controlled clinical study.  Fertility Sterility.85(5):1347-51, May 2006.
S. Dieterle, G. Ying, W. Hatzmann, and A. Neuer
Dortmund, Germany, and Wuhan, China

This randomized, controlled study was done to determine the effect of luteal-phase acupuncture on the outcome of IVF/intracytoplasmic sperm injection.  Two hundred twenty-five infertile patients who were undergoing IVF/ICSI were used.  In group I, 116 patients received luteal-phase acupuncture according to the principles of traditional Chinese medicine.  In group II, 109 patients received placebo acupuncture.  Results showed that in group I, the clinical pregnancy rate and ongoing pregnancy rate (33.6% and 28.4%, respectively) were significantly higher than in group II (15.6% and 13.8%).

A Randomized Study Evaluating Acupuncture as an Adjunct to IVF
Rodolfo Quintero, M.D., Wendy Yu, L.Ac., Brandon Horn, L.Ac., J.D., Daoshing Ni, D.O.M., Barry Schifrin, MD., Brian Acacio, M.D.

A randomized, controlled, double-blind, cross-over pilot trial was performed using a needle-like device (sham acupuncture) as a control. Seventeen subjects with a history of failed IVF cycle(s) were enrolled and seven subjects completed both arms of the study. The mean age was 36.2 years (range 28-41 years). The 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%. Larger prospective trials are necessary.