Clinical research on acupuncture for fertility

Over thousands of years, Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) has displayed much success in its treatment of many diseases, in particular for fertility issues. More recently, there have been a number of clinical studies which further support the efficacy of TCM and acupuncture for fertility.

A study looking at over 4000 women found that patients undergoing treatment for fertility with a trained Chinese Medicine Practitioner were 2 times more likely to achieve pregnancy than those undergoing treatment with western medicine alone. The study included women with PCOS, endometriosis, anovulation, fallopian tube blockage, or unexplained infertility. Mean pregnancy rates in the Chinese Herbal Medicine group were 60% compared with 33% in the Western Medicine group. The study noted that the benefits of Chinese herbal medicine treatment were found when patients were treated using traditional diagnostic methods.

There is a study referenced by Drs. Larry Dulgosz, Michael B. Brachs, Yale University School of Medicine – Epidemiologic Reviews Vol. 14, pg 83, 1992. In this study of almost 2,000 women from Connecticut, researchers found the likelihood of infertility was 55% greater in women drinking 1 cup of coffee per day. Women who drank more than 3 cups of coffee per day were 176% more likely to experience infertility.

Acupuncture seems to be a useful tool for improving pregnancy rate after ART. (Paulus W et al, Fertility and Sterility April 2002 Vol 77, pp. 721-724

Luteal-phase acupuncture has a positive effect on the outcome of IVF/ICSI (Dieterle S et al, Fertility and Sterility May 2006 Vol 85, pp. 1347-1351

Acupuncture on the day of embryo transfer significantly improves the reproductive outcome of IVF, compared with no acupuncture (Westergaard L et al, Fertility and Sterility April 2006 Vol 85, pp. 1341-1346

Acupuncture can increase blood flow to the uterus (Stener-Victorin E, et al Human Reproduction Oxford Journal 1996; Vol. 11, No. 6, pp.1314-1317


Alcohol consumption and fertility

A study from the Universality of California of 221 couples undergoing fertility treatment found:

For women alcohol consumption in the month before IVF attempt reduced success nearly 3 times with alcohol consumption in the week before egg pick up (one glass per day) increasing the chance of miscarriage by 2 times.

For men alcohol consumption the month before IVF reduced success 2 and a half times and alcohol (one glass per day) in the week before sperm collection reduced success more than 8 times. The recommendation was made that couples abstain from alcohol consumption at least one month before the attempt to maximize the effectiveness and success of the IVF and GIFT procedure. Fertility and Sterility 2003;79:330-339

Alcohol consumption in the week prior to conception was associated with an increased rate of miscarriage. For women ten or more drinks a week was associated with 2 to 3 times greater risk of miscarriage while for men it was 2 to 5 times greater risk. American Journal of Epidemiology Vol 160 No 7 2004 661-67


Research on acupuncture and IVF

  Author Abstract Research
  Cui Hong Zheng, M.D.; Ph.D.a, Guang Ying Huang, M.D., Ph.D.a;
Ming Min Zhang, M.D., Ph.D.b; Wei Wang, M.D., Ph.D.c
January 2012
Effects of acupuncture on pregnancy rates in women undergoing in vitro fertilization: a systematic review and meta-analysis
  Neuroscience Research Institute and Department of Neurobiology
Peking University Health Science Center, Key Laboratory of Neuroscience
The Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Public Health, Beijing, People’s Republic of China
October 2011
Increase of success rate for women undergoing embryo transfer by transcutaneous electrical acupoint stimulation
  Ried K, Stuart K.
October 05 2011
Efficacy of traditional chinese herbal medicine in the management of female infertility: a systematic review
  Dalton-Brewer N et al
2010 Vol 12 No 4 212 – 255
Use of acupuncture before and after embryo transfer
  Magarelli, PC, D Cridennda, M Cohen
Changes in serum cortisol and prolactin associated with acupuncture during ivf
  So et al
2009 Feb;24(2):341-8
Effect of acupuncture on the pregnancy rate in embryo transfer and mechanisms: a randomized and controlled study
  Magarelli P, Cridennda D
Acupuncture & ivf poor responders: a cure?
  Zhang M et al
2003, Jan 23 (1): 3 – 5
Effect of acupuncture on the pregnancy rate in embryo transfer and mechanisms: a randomized and controlled study
  Paulus W et al
2002 Vol 77, pg 721-724
Paulus W et al
2002 Vol 77, pg 721-724


Research on Acupuncture and male fertility

Author Abstract Research
Pei J et al 2005 July Quantitative evaluation of spermatozoa ultrastructure after acupuncture treatment for idiopathic male infertility
Gurfinkel E et al 2003 Dec Effects of acupuncture and moxa treatment in patients with semen abnormalities



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