Acupuncture Enhances Success of In Vitro Fertilization

Higher pregnancy rates achieved when acupuncture performed at time of embryo transfer

FRIDAY, Feb. 8 (HealthDay News) -- Acupuncture at the time of embryo transfer may improve the chances of a successful pregnancy among women undergoing in vitro fertilization, according to research published Feb. 7 in BMJ Online First.

Eric Manheimer, of the University of Maryland School of Medicine in Baltimore, and colleagues performed a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials to evaluate the effect of acupuncture given with embryo transfer on pregnancy and live birth rates among women undergoing in vitro fertilization.

Seven trials involving 1,366 women undergoing in vitro fertilization were included in the analysis. Acupuncture was associated with improved odds of achieving clinical pregnancy (odds ratio 1.65), ongoing pregnancy (OR, 1.87) and live birth (OR, 1.91). The authors caution that a subgroup analysis of the three trials with highest rates of clinical pregnancy in the control group showed a smaller but non-significant benefit of acupuncture.

"Firstly, acupuncture may mediate the release of neurotransmitters, which may in turn stimulate secretion of gonadotrophin releasing hormone, thereby influencing the menstrual cycle, ovulation and fertility. Secondly, acupuncture may stimulate blood flow to the uterus by inhibiting uterine central sympathetic nerve activity. Thirdly, acupuncture may stimulate the production of endogenous opioids, which may inhibit the central nervous system outflow and the biological stress response," the authors write.

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Physician’s Briefing Staff

Published on February 08, 2008

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