Acupuncture could increase IVF success

by Deborah Condon

Women undergoing in-vitro fertilisation (IVF) could have their chances of success increased by acupuncture, the results of a new study indicate.

IVF is a method of assisted reproduction, which may be considered necessary after a couple have gone through investigations for infertility. It refers to the technique where a woman's eggs are fertilised with sperm outside the body in a test tube. The success rate is around 27%.

The German study followed 160 women undergoing IVF, half of whom received standard treatment, while the remainder received acupuncture both before and after treatment. The acupuncture points used were those associated with relaxing the uterus.

The pregnancy rate in the group receiving acupuncture was found to be around 42%, compared to a pregnancy rate of 26.3% amongst the group who received standard treatment.

The scientists were unable to say for certain why acupuncture helped, however the theory is that it can affect the part of the nervous system involved in the control of muscles and glands, making the uterus more receptive to receiving an embryo.

The results of this study can be found in the medical journal, 'Fertility and Sterility'.

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