A 2011 Chinese study has shown that a form of acupuncture - electro-acupuncture - where a small painless current is applied through the needles may boost IVF success rates.
Many infertility clinics now recommend or provide acupuncture before and after embryo implantation during IVF, some studies have show impressive success rates with this adjunctive treatment while others have not. The IVF success rates of many of the clinics that routinely use acupuncture pre-and post embryo transfer however are very impressive such as the Colorado Center For Reproductive Medicine (CCRM).
Other studies have used a specific electro-acupuncture twice a week for a month prior to IVF which is known to increase blood flow to the uterus and has also been shown to increase live birth rates. Infertility clinics such as CCRM also routinely use this protocol in women with poor blood flow to their uterus which is known to disfavor implantation and increase miscarriage risks.
The Chinese study - published in Fertility and Sterility - studied 309 women and discovered that those who received electro-acupuncture thirty minutes after embryo transfer were more far more likely to birth their babies than women who received simulated or sham acupuncture; thirty seven percent of the treated women gave birth compared to only twenty one percent who had the sham treatment.
Women who received an extra electro-acupuncture treatment on the day before the embryo transfer had an even higher birth rate of 42 percent.
If you are choosing acupuncture while undergoing IVF check the American Board Of Oriental Reproductive Medicine (ABORM) website for a fertility specialist near to you who will be familiar with the protocols used in these and other studies.
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Ref. Increase of success rate for women undergoing embryo transfer by transcutaneous acupoint stimulation: a prospective randomized placebo-controlled trial. Zhang R. et al. Fertility and Sterility. Online 22 Aug 2011