Acupuncture improves the results of couples undergoing IVF. One study that had a positive outcome is the 2002 German study. This study tested a group of women undergoing IVF with acupuncture versus a group without acupuncture. The results were very positive:
"Clinical pregnancies were documented in 34 of 80 patients (42.5%) in the acupuncture group, whereas pregnancy rate was only 26.3% (21 out of 80 patients) in the control group (those who did not receive acupuncture)."
The online magazine Conceive posted this article about using acupuncture for women with fertility concerns. The article quotes Dr. Randine Lewis, a well-known practitioner and author of "The Infertility Cure," and acupuncture offers three main points:
“The most important for older women–those over 35–is that there are acupuncture treatments that improve blood flow to the uterus that almost nothing else can do.” Secondly, explains Lewis, a little needling can help balance hormones by stimulating acupuncture points that moderate beta endorphins in the brain. Lastly, acupuncture reduces stress. “Basically,” says Lewis, “the body does not want you to get pregnant when you are under stress.”
I have treated several women undergoing IVF, and have found this to consistently be true. Having a lot of stress in your life makes it difficult to conceive, which is why I usually recommend weekly treatment for three months leading up to the embryo transfer, increasing the frequency of treatments just before the embryo transfer. While this seems like a lot of acupuncture, the stress reduction, increased blood flow, and overall improved health of the body makes a big difference in the outcome of IVF
If you are interested in the history of IVF, check out the RESOLVE video below of an interview with Dr. Howard Jones, the pioneer of IVF treatment.