By Anna Pyne LAc MSOM
A recent study entitled "Acupuncture as an Adjunct to In Vitro Fertilization: A Randomized Trial" was published in the journal Medical Acupuncture showing that electro-acupuncture used in conjunction with Traditional Chinese Acupuncture doubled the pregnancy success rates of IVF patients as compared to the national average of patients undergoing IVF.* The study was conducted at Acupuncture and Chinese Medical Center in Ann Arbor Michigan using a total of 52 IVF patients with the average age of 38 years. The patients in the study were randomly divided into three different groups: 1) traditional Chinese acupuncture (TCA) plus electro-acupuncture (EA), 2) TCA-only, or 3) EA-only. All patients also underwent “standard IVF medication regimen.” The authors of this study did not include an IVF-only control group and compared their treatment outcomes to average U.S. IVF success rates.
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention the average success rate of IVF alone is about 40%. In this study all groups had higher IVF success rates than the average U.S. success rate, and the improvement was greatest when TCA and EA were used in conjunction. The authors conclude a "marked increase with the combination of TCA and EA (81.8% success rate)"!* The TCA alone group had a 64% success rate, and the EA alone group had a 63% success rate. The points used in the TCA and EA group were determined based upon the patient's individual traditional Chinese medical diagnosis. This study proves that traditional Chinese acupuncture in combination with electro-acupuncture "...is a promising new technique for the treatment of infertility with a higher IVF success rate than that of TCA or EA alone."*
While this study would have been strengthened by the addition of an IVF-only control group, the findings of this study are supportive of the growing body of evidence that treatment with Traditional Chinese Acupuncture does increase a woman’s chances of conception with IVF.
*Medical Acupuncture Volume 21, Number 3, 2009 "Acupuncture as An Adjunct to In Vitro Fertilization: A Randomized Trial"