Preliminary research showed it greatly boosted pregnancy chances
THURSDAY, Feb. 7 (HealthDay News) -- Women undergoing in vitro fertilization can increase their chances of becoming pregnant by up to 65 percent if they also have acupuncture, a preliminary study suggests.
About 10 percent to 15 percent of couples have difficulty conceiving, and many opt for in vitro fertilization, in which a woman's egg is fertilized in a laboratory and then transferred into her womb. There had been some evidence that acupuncture can increase the success rate of this procedure.
"Complementing the embryo transfer process with acupuncture seems to increase the odds of pregnancy by 65 percent, compared to sham acupuncture or no adjuvant treatment," said lead researcher Eric Manheimer, a research associate at the University of Maryland School of Medicine's Center for Integrative Medicine.
For the study, Manheimer's team looked at seven trials that included 1,366 women undergoing in vitro fertilization (IVF). Each trial compared acupuncture given within one day of the embryo transfer, to sham acupuncture or no acupuncture.
The researchers found that women who had acupuncture increased their chances of becoming pregnant by 65 percent compared with women who had no acupuncture or sham acupuncture.
"In absolute terms, this means that 10 women would need to be treated with acupuncture to result in one additional pregnancy," Manheimer said.
However, in studies where pregnancy rates were high, the benefit of acupuncture was small and non-significant, the researchers noted.
The findings were published online in the Feb. 7 edition of the British Medical Journal.
"Acupuncture may be useful adjuvant treatment in the IVF process," Manheimer said. "However, I think there needs to be more studies to confirm these findings, because they are still preliminary," he added.
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