A new study from Denmark has revealed that the success of in vitro fertilization (IVF) treatment is 30 percent lower among women who have used alternative fertility medicine.
For the study, the researchers included over 700 IVF users over a 12-month period.
Women who had first tried a combination of alternative treatments, such as reflexology, acupuncture, or herbal- and aromatherapy, had significantly lower pregnancy rates after IVF treatment.
Alex Polyakov and Beverley Vollenhoven of the Faculty of 1000 Medicine emphasize the relevance of the study for IVF clinics.
"It is important, when discussing IVF treatment with couples, that their use of alternative therapies is also discussed, as this may have a bearing on treatment success," they said.
In the study, it could not be determined whether the effect on IVF success is a direct result of the use of complementary medicine, or whether women who were already having more trouble conceiving were more likely to revert to alternative fertility treatments.
Nevertheless, the researchers recommend being cautious.
"Until further evidence is available, it is best to counsel couples against the use of alternative therapies when also having IVF," they said.