Acupuncture improves IVF live birth rates

Background: The effects of acupuncture on in-vitro fertilization outcomes remain controversial. This study aimed to perform a meta-analysis to assess the effectiveness of acupuncture as an adjuvant therapy to embryo transfer compared to sham-controls or no adjuvant therapy controls on improving pregnancy outcomes in women undergoing in-vitro fertilization.

Methods: A systematic literature search up to January 2021 was performed and 29 studies included 6623 individuals undergoing in-vitro fertilization at the baseline of the study; 3091 of them were using acupuncture as an adjuvant therapy to embryo transfer, 1559 of them were using sham-controls, and 1441 of them were using no adjuvant therapy controls. They reported a comparison between the effectiveness of acupuncture as an adjuvant therapy to embryo transfer compared to sham-controls or no adjuvant therapy controls on improving pregnancy outcomes in women undergoing in-vitro fertilization. Odds ratio (OR) with 95% confidence intervals (CIs) were calculated assessing the effectiveness of acupuncture as an adjuvant therapy to embryo transfer compared to sham-controls or no adjuvant therapy controls using the dichotomous method with a random or fixed-effect model.

Results: Significantly higher outcomes with acupuncture were observed in biochemical pregnancy (OR, 1.98; 95% CI, 1.55-2.53, p < 0.001); clinical pregnancy (OR, 1.70; 95% CI, 1.46-1.98, p < 0.001); ongoing pregnancy (OR, 1.78; 95% CI, 1.41-2.26, p < 0.001); and live birth (OR, 1.58; 95% CI, 1.15-2.18, p = 0.005) compared to no adjuvant therapy controls. However, no significant difference were found between acupuncture and no adjuvant therapy controls in miscarriage (OR, 0.96; 95% CI, 0.48-1.92, p = 0.91). No significant difference was observed with acupuncture in biochemical pregnancy (OR, 1.16; 95% CI, 0.65-2.08, p = 0.62); clinical pregnancy (OR, 1.13; 95% CI, 0.83-1.54, p = 0.43); ongoing pregnancy (OR, 1.04; 95% CI, 0.66-1.62, p = 0.87); live birth (OR, 1.02; 95% CI, 0.73-1.42, p = 0.90), and miscarriage (OR, 1.16; 95% CI, 0.86-1.55, p = 0.34) compared to sham-controls.

Conclusions: Using acupuncture as an adjuvant therapy to embryo transfer may improve the biochemical pregnancy, clinical pregnancy, ongoing pregnancy, and live birth outcomes compared to no adjuvant therapy controls.

Reference: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/34979465/

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About Attilio

Doctor of Chinese medicine, acupuncture expert and author of My Fertility Guide and My Pregnancy Guide.

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