I came across a study by Homerton University Hospital in London today showed that acupuncture doubles chance of having a baby with IVF. The study involved 160 couples suffering from fertility problems. Half were assigned to have acupuncture during their IVF cycle. One year on, those who underwent the over 1000 years old therapy, had achieved pregnancy rates of 46.2 per cent. Among those who had not, pregnancy rates were just 21.7 per cent.
Fertility experts said the findings were interesting and statistically significant. One reproductive medicine expert said he had been sceptical but the results “made a convert” of him. Researchers recommended to offer the treatment routinely to all fertility clinic patients.
While for me, the research findings are actually consistent with my practise in our clinic. In fact, in combination with Chinese herbal medicine, we found the success rates were much high, especially for patients who had multiple failed IVF cycles and, or over 35 years old. Acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine have been using for infertility for more than one thousand years and many clinical studies have shown evidences of these treatments’ efficacy. For IVF assist, there are many studies in last 15 years have shown acupuncture could increase the chances of having a baby with IVF significantly . For example, Review of acupuncture’s effect on IVF treatment in the British Medical Journal found that acupuncture could increase a woman’s chance of pregnancy by 65%, and 91% more likely to have a live birth.
During IVF preparation and treatments , acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine could help with the following aspect:
- Improving the quality of eggs and sperm
- Balancing hormone, especially the hormone help with embryo implantation.
- Preventing the uterus from contracting after embryo transfer
- Improving endometrium thickness and receptivity
- Moderating the immune factors which could cause implantation failure: e.g. Nk cells
Not only Chinese medicine can improve the odds during IVF, but also the chances for couples trying naturally. It is not uncommon to see couples conceived naturally while preparing for IVF or even after multiple failed IVF cycles.
- BMJ. 2008 Mar 8;336(7643):545-9. doi: 10.1136/bmj.39471.430451.BE. Epub 2008 Feb 7.