Acupuncture 'boosts IVF success'

BBC | April 16, 2002

Women undergoing fertility treatment could have their chances of success boosted by acupuncture.

German researchers said they have increased success rates by almost 50% in women having in vitro fertilization (IVF).

The theory is that acupuncture can affect the autonomic nervous system, which is involved in the control of muscles and glands, and could therefore make the lining of the uterus more receptive to receiving an embryo.

Fertility techniques are used to help couples who cannot conceive naturally.

The theory of acupuncture is based on pathways called meridians. Research has shown it can help relieve nausea caused by anesthetics during surgery or chemotherapy and to relieve dental pain.

It may also help relieve other conditions including headaches and menstrual cramps.

'A useful tool'

A report published in the journal Fertility and Sterility found the pregnancy rate in the group receiving acupuncture was 42.5%, compared to the group which did not receive the therapy, where the rate was 26.3%.

Of 160 women undergoing IVF, half received standards in vitro fertilization, while half were given acupuncture treatments before and after.

The research team, led by Dr. Wolfgang Paulus and colleagues at the Christian-Lauritzen-Institut in Ulm, Germany, wrote in the journal: "Acupuncture seems to be a useful tool for improving pregnancy rate after assisted reproductive techniques."

Dr. Sandra Carson, president-elect of the American Society of Reproductive Medicine, said: "(acupuncture) may help us improve the odds for our (in vitro ferilization) patients achieving pregnancy."

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