Acupuncture may improve the rates of in-vitro fertilization depending on the baseline pregnancy rates of a fertility clinic, say University of Maryland School of Medicine researchers.
"Our systematic review of current acupuncture/IVF research found that for IVF clinics with baseline pregnancy rates higher than average (32 percent or greater) adding acupuncture had no benefit," Eric Manheimer, lead author and research associate at the University of Maryland Center for Integrative Medicine, said.
"However, at IVF clinics with baseline pregnancy rates lower than average (less than 32 percent) adding acupuncture seemed to increase IVF pregnancy success rates. We saw a direct association between the baseline pregnancy success rate and the effects of adding acupuncture: the lower the baseline pregnancy rate at the clinic, the more adjuvant acupuncture seemed to increase the pregnancy rate," he said.
IVF is a process that involves fertilizing a woman's egg with sperm outside the womb and then implanting the embryo in the woman's uterus.
According to the researchers, acupuncture is the most commonly used adjuvant, complementary therapy among couples seeking treatment at fertility clinics in the United States.
That study found positive results for using acupuncture for women undergoing IVF when acupuncture was performed during embryo transfer.
The research is published online in the journal Human Reproduction Update.