Research studies have demonstrated that acupuncture can increase pregnancy success rates when going through IVF and assisted reproductive technology (ART) therapies.12 Current research is promising and mirrors our clinical findings. We also recommend assessing both sides of research looking at all of the details and contributing factors. Below is a summary of two research articles showing the effectiveness of acupuncture to increase pregnancy outcomes.
In 2001, there was a study conducted by Wolfgang E. Paulus to determine the benefit of acupuncture to assist clinical pregnancy rates know as the “German Study" or sometimes referred to as the “Paulus Study” looking at the success rates of the addition of acupuncture to in-vitro fertilization (IVF). This study compares two groups of patients: one receiving acupuncture before and after embryo transfer, and the other as the control group did not receive acupuncture.
This study showed that 42.5% of the patients who included acupuncture experienced clinical pregnancy, compared to 26.3% in the group that did not use acupuncture. In conclusion this provided initial information that acupuncture may be beneficial in improving pregnancy rates by almost 50% while undergoing IVF. This is an important study to show potential benefits of acupuncture and provide a basis for more research. 1
Another study know as the "Swedish Study" looks that the blood flow in the uterine arteries after receiving a series of electro-acupuncture. The findings of this study suggest that a decrease in uterine pulsatility increased blood flow to the uterus increasing the thickness and health of the endometrium lining making it optimal for implantation, thus potentially increasing success of IVF after embryo transfers. 2
Stay tuned for our next post continuing to looking at the success rates and pregnancy outcomes of acupuncture in conjunction with ART therapies.
1 Paulus, W. E., Zhang, M., Strehler, E., El-Danasouri, I., & Sterzik, K. (2002). Influence of acupuncture on the pregnancy rate in patients who undergo assisted reproduction therapy. Fertility And Sterility, 77(4), 721-724.
2 Stener-Victorin, E., Waldenstrom, U., Andersson, S. A., & Wikland, M. (1996). Reduction of blood flow impedance in the uterine arteries of infertile women with electro-acupuncture. Human Reproduction, 11(6), 1314-1317.
Written by Jack Handlin L.Ac, DAOM, FABORM