Acupuncture can increase the chances of getting pregnant for women undergoing fertility treatment by 65 percent, according to a new study.
The study led by Eric Manheimer, of the University of Maryland School of Medicine, in Baltimore, showed that the women who got acupuncture treatment were 65pct more likely to become pregnant.
Experts said that though, the mechanism by which acupuncture affects fertility is not yet clear, but as IVF is very stressful it might be possible that the relaxation involved in the therapy may prove to be helpful.
The study was conducted by taking a review of seven scientific trials, involving a total of 1,366 women of all ages. It also took into account the pregnancy rates among women having acupuncture when the embryo was transferred to the womb during IVF.
The results were then compared with women who were given a fake acupuncture treatment and those who did not receive any therapy.
It was found that those who got real acupuncture had almost 65percent increase chances of becoming pregnant in comparison with the fake and no treatment.
Manheimer said that the effect was lesser in trials where the pregnancy rate was already high. But still it implied that acupuncture may be a cost-effective additional therapy in IVF as it is so cheap in comparison regular fertility treatment.
In an earlier research it was suggested that women having acupuncture were less likely to get pregnant. As this was based on patients getting the therapy on their own rather than being randomly assigned as part of a trial, this meant that they might be choosing it because their chances of conceiving were already poor.
"On the face of it, these results sound fantastic. I would, however, be very cautious as much of the observed effect could be due to a placebo response. IVF may not seem to be 'placebo-prone' but it probably is. If women expect it to be helpful, they are more relaxed which, in turn, would affect pregnancy rates," the Telegraph quoted Prof Edzard Ernst, of the Peninsula Medical School in Plymouth, as saying.
The study is published in the British Medical Journal.