Acupuncture is key to successful IVF
Women who undergo a course of IVF treatment are much more likely to have a baby if they combine the procedure with acupuncture, according to a key scientific study.
The new research concluded that women who experienced fertility problems and opted to have the ancient Chinese treatment increased their possibility of having a baby from one in five, to one in three.
Around 33,000 women have IVF treatment every year in the UK and many of them are willing to change their lifestyle in any possible way to up their chances of getting pregnant.
Researchers at the University of Southampton, where the study was carried out, concluded: ‘Acupuncture around the time of embryo transfer achieves a higher live birth rate of 35% compared with 22% without active acupuncture.’
Embryo transfer refers to the time when an egg has already been fertilised in the lab and is implanted in the womb.
Lead researcher Ying Cheong commented on the results saying: ‘Our research is good news because it shows that acupuncture can help with fertility in patients undergoing IVF.
‘Whether or not acupuncture helps women achieve a live birth is a controversial issue, and opinion has been divided on it,’ said Cheong. ‘We show that acupuncture, performed at the right stage, can have significant benefit. A woman who does so has a much greater chance of having a live birth than a woman who doesn’t have acupuncture.’
Cheong did point out however that the practice was futile once the embryo transfer had taken place.
Susan Seenan, of Infertility Network UK responded to the new findings saying: ‘These results appear to show that acupuncture given with embryo transfers can help improve success rates and we look forward to further research in this area to confirm this.’
She added: ‘Many of our members report that alternative therapies, such as acupuncture, can help them to cope with the treatment and the general stre