Acupuncture during IVF doesn't increase chances of having a baby

  • Written by Caroline Smith, Professor Clinical Research, Western Sydney University

Acupuncture has become a frequently used treatment prior to and during in-vitro fertilisation (IVF). Women hope it will increase their chances of having a baby, but also provide support with reducing stress, and feeling relaxed and well while undergoing treatment.

Several small clinical trials have previously suggested acupuncture improved outcomes of stressful and unpredictable fertility treatments. But our new study has found this is not the case.

The study of more than 800 Australian and New Zealand women undergoing acupuncture treatment during their IVF cycles has failed to confirm significant difference in live birth rates.

The findings published today in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) support recent guidelines from the American Society for Reproductive Medicine and two high-quality meta-analyses (which combine data from multiple studies to identify a common effect).

Read more: Modern acupuncture: panacea or placebo?

What the study found

We examined the effects of a short course of acupuncture administered during an IVF cycle. We were not able to show that acupuncture increased live births, clinical pregnancy or having fewer miscarriages.

Undertaken across 16 IVF centres in Australia and New Zealand, the randomised controlled clinical trial (that compares the effects of an experimental treatment on one group with those of a placebo or alternative treatment in another group) aimed to increase live births and pregnancies among 848 women aged 18 to 42, undergoing an IVF cycle using fresh embryos, over a four year period.

The first acupuncture treatment was given at the start of the IVF process when medication is given to stimulate the ovary to produce follicles.

Following successful fertilisation, acupuncture to recognised acupuncture points was performed prior to, and immediately following, the transfer of the embryo to the woman’s womb.

The control group in this study was sham acupuncture. This looks like real acupuncture but does not involve insertion of the needle through the skin. For both groups the needle is held in place by a plastic tube, but as the practitioner places the needle on the skin, for the control group the shaft of the needle disappears into the handle, while in the treatment group the needle pierces the skin.

Read more: Five traps to be aware of when reading success rates on IVF clinic websites

The results showed a clinical pregnancy was achieved in 25.7% of women who received acupuncture and 21.7% of women in the sham control, and that a live birth was achieved for 18.3% of women who received acupuncture compared to 17.8% who received the control.

While a 4% increase might sound hopeful, given the low percentage of successful IVF births to begin with, this is not a big enough increase for scientists to conclude there is a difference. This means the study does not support that acupuncture can improve pregnancy or live birth rates for women undergoing IVF.

However, in clinical practice, acupuncture may include more sessions prior to an IVF cycle starting. Whether this would make a difference hasn’t been tested.

Why is this important?

Despite recent technological improvements to IVF, the success rate is still low. Consequently, new drugs, laboratory techniques and other treatments need to be developed and rigorously tested to explore their effects on producing healthy babies for women undergoing IVF.

Acupuncture has long been used for gynaecological and obstetric problems. In 2002, the first randomised controlled trial of acupuncture administered a specific form of IVF acupuncture at the time of embryo transfer. The results indicated the chance of achieving a pregnancy from acupuncture was twice that of women undergoing IVF treatment alone.

Further clinical trials were conducted to examine if these results could be replicated. Some trials found acupuncture had some effect and others found it had none.

Acupuncture during IVF doesn't increase chances of having a baby IVF is an emotionally tumultuous time. k b unsplash

Where did the acupuncture belief come from?

An adequate blood flow to develop immature eggs, and the endometrium (the lining of the uterus), is important to female fertility and pregnancy. Studies on a stronger form of acupuncture, electro-acupuncture, found it may influence central sympathetic nerve activity, and may increase blood flow in parts of the body, including improved blood flow and oxygenation to ovarian and uterine tissue.

Read more: Your questions answered on donor conception and IVF

Stress is thought to play a role in infertility. Among women undertaking IVF treatment, previous research has found an association between lower levels of stress and anxiety and increased pregnancy.

In our earlier research, acupuncture was shown to reduce the emotional stress and burden experienced by women during IVF treatment.

We hope the new findings will enable women and practitioners to make evidence-formed decisions about the use of acupuncture to achieve a pregnancy and live birth.

But unpublished findings from our trial highlight a supportive role from acupuncture with reducing stress, increased relaxation and improving how women feel about themselves while undergoing the demands of IVF treatments. These findings suggest while it probably won’t improve a woman’s chance of having a baby, acupuncture could help women deal with the emotional turmoil of IVF.

Authors: Caroline Smith, Professor Clinical Research, Western Sydney University

Read more http://theconversation.com/acupuncture-during-ivf-doesnt-increase-chances-of-having-a-baby-96459

Australia Today

Simple Secrets To A More Confident Smile

News Company

We all know just how important first impressions are. After a handshake, what’s one of the first things people will notice about you? It’s your smile. A friendly smile is a way of creating a friendly bond with people, letting them know you’re happy to be in their presence, and projecting a positive ...

Read more

FROM OUTCASTS TO ROCKSTARS - WHEN DID PSYCHICS BECOME SO COOL?

Ralph Tucker

With trust in organised religion and established authorities such as governments at all time low, more and more people are searching for answers from a spiritual means elevating psychics to an unprecedented level of popularity in recent years.   Rose Smith heads up Absolute Soul Secrets, the lar...

Read more

Airwallex enters awards season

Jane Stabler

On the back of employing their 100th employee globally and their Shanghai staff moving into huge new premises, Melbourne based international payments company Airwallex is continuing to ride a wave of significant growth and success, with a series of award wins and nominations recently announced. Las...

Read more

When you're sick, the support you'll get may depend on the 'worth' of your disease

Louise Stone, Clinical Associate Professor, ANU Medical School, Australian National University

Diseases low on the hierarchy of prestige are often difficult to diagnose and treat.PixabayThe name of an illness can affect the level of care a person receives. Cancer sufferers experiencing fear and uncertainty may have access to cancer care centres. Donations and bequests enable these centres to ...

Read more

Israel is prioritising PR over peace-building in the Middle East

Paul Duffill, Honorary Research Fellow, Department of Peace and Conflict Studies, University of Sydney

The opening of the US embassy in Jerusalem last week represented a major PR coup for Israel, a move the country had sought for decades. It also came hot on the heels of another celebrated Israeli PR victory – the win by Israeli singer Netta Barzilai in the hugely popular Eurovision song contes...

Read more

Holidays & Travel

More Than a Third of Australians Feel 'Too Busy' With Work to Take a Holiday

New research from InterContinental Hotel & Resorts has unveiled a large number of Australians (32 percent) are simply too busy with work to take some much-needed rest and relaxation. Almost...

Matakauri Lodge and Mahu Whenua Lodge

TRIED, TRUE AND SOMETHING NEW  A luxurious accommodation package at Matakauri Lodge + Mahu Whenua Lodge South Island, New Zealand  Available 1 May, 2018 - 30 September, 2018   Central Otago, NEW ZEALAND –...

Heaven is the Adelaide Hills

Looking for a quick getaway? Enjoy food and wine? How about stunning countryside? Look no further! The Adelaide Hills has something for everyone. We flew to Adelaide for a weekend-getaway...

5 Amazing Australian Holiday Ideas

Australia is one of the most fantastic places in the world to travel, explore, and witness all of the beauty that Mother Nature has to offer. With so much rich...

Top Amenities You Enjoy by Renting Luxury Caravans for Road Trips

Do you love to undertake road trips? What the luxury cruises on the ocean are for ocean travelers, luxury caravanning is the same for land-lubbers. Traveling in a luxury caravan...

Here Are Some Extra Reasons for You to Visit the Cayman Islands

It’s no secret that the term ‘heaven on Earth’ gets tossed around a lot. We too are tired of seeing it used for places that have sandy beaches, palm trees...

FV by Peppers: Brisbane's Hottest New Hotel

Brisbane’s hottest new hotel, FV by Peppers has officially opened its doors with Mantra Group’s Chief Operating Officer Tomas Johnsson and the Minister for Innovation and Tourism Industry Development and...

Long Island Boasts Signature Calendar of Events for Travelers in 2018

LONG ISLAND, NY (March 5, 2018) – There are many reasons to visit Long Island – New York City's Beachfront Backyard in 2018 from our most notable, the 120-miles of...

Places That Will Make You Want to Visit Indonesia This Year

Royalty, culture and history coalesce in Yogyakarta     Seasoned travellers wanting more than boutique shopping, hip bars and cutting edge restaurants are invited to try a new Indonesian island or include one...

Fashion & Beauty

Simple Secrets To A More Confident Smile

We all know just how important first impressions are. After a handshake, what’s one of the first things people will notice about you? It’s your smile. A friendly smile is...

Improve Your Body Confidence and Feel Great

No matter how good you feel about yourself, sometimes you just can’t help but see a few little flaws that seem gigantic to you and make you feel self-conscious. Whether...

First-Timer Tips For Your First Lip Filler Appointment

Getting injectable lip fillers can be a quick and effective way to plump up your smile with minimal drama. They’re a cost-effective and safe way to boost the natural shape...

The Most Common Skin Conditions and How to Deal with Them

We often underestimate the importance of our skin, but as the largest organ in our body, and our primary layer of defense, it is constantly affected by many environmental factors...

Beach Babe Basics: Everything You Need to Look Stylish at the Beach

Summer is right around the corner, and this year, we all should make the best of it. Right now, it is not just about looking stylish on the streets, it...

Easy Dress-Up Tips for Lazy Girls

Look, getting all dolled up is fun, but you may not always be in the mood for it. Unfortunately, though, this is exactly when you are asked to go to...

HEALTH

How You Can Conquer Your Dental Anxiety

Does the thought of going to the dentist fill you with dread? Well, you will be pleased to know that you are not the only one. A large number of...

Up and away: the impact of flying on your health

These school holidays, many people will take to the skies, unaware of the risks flying can pose to their health. Brisbane based house call doctor Ryan Harvey said it was important...

How to Lose Weight After 40

As you age, your metabolism slows down, which makes losing weight much harder. Additionally, your hormones start to fluctuate significantly, causing easier weight gain. Sticking to the same tricks you...

Maintaining A Healthy Lifestyle Despite A Busy Career

If you’ve been swamped at work lately and really focused on achieving that next big promotion or getting an important project completed, you may have found that your focus has...

AHRIA - Husband created a skincare range for his wife and child

Meet the Dad who was so worried about the chemicals his pregnant wife and baby were absorbing… Forget perfume or flowers… this husband created a skincare range for his wife...

Cinzia Cozzolinos shares her 7 Day Feb-Fast Detox

Nutritionist and Founder of Nutrition Darling and Smoothie Bombs shares her 7 Day Feb-Fast Detox.  Cinzia Cozzolinos Tips are below and her 7 Day Plant Based Eating Plan is...

LIFE STYLE

5 Simple Steps to Find the Right Workbenches for Sale

A workbench is a form of table that are designed for different works. These vary in size, shape and materials, yet have three common elements which are:   A tool meant for...

Oil the Sewing Machine, or Face the Dire Consequences

Sewing is an art! No art is complete without the right equipment. Sewing machine is the equipment that keeps this art alive. It is one of those machines that makes...

7 Easy Ways to Lift Up Your Home Style

House redecoration doesn’t have to be a difficult undertaking if you come up with some easy ways to lift up your home style. You just need to find solutions that...

Choosing your Water-Fed Poles: A Difficult Path Made Easy

Have you ever experienced the power of nature? No!? But, you must have seen floods or cyclones? May it be air or water, harness the power and you will have...

Keep your cool in the Far North with new 3-way fridge for the tropics

Bridging the gap that has long divided two-way and three-way refrigerator enthusiasts, Aussie Traveller’s new XCD caravan and motorhome fridge offers exceptional cooling power with the functionality of an...

Renovation Hot Spots: The Sydney Suburbs that had the biggest makeover

As Sydney’s housing boom begins to decline, ServiceSeeking.com.au looks back at the suburbs that have had the biggest makeover between 2017 and now. The find-a-tradie site has designed a map...

FOOD & DINING

Best Hidden Gem Hong Kong Restaurants

You finally find yourself enjoying the endless beauties of China and this fascinating city. In a place with so much variety, all your senses will be wide awake, and your...

JOHNNY DI FRANCESCO NAMED OFFICIAL AMBASSADOR OF EAT STREET MELBOURNE

Johnny Di Francesco, world champion pizzaiolo and owner of Melbourne’s Gradi Group of restaurants, is excited to announce he has been named official ambassador for Eat Street Melbourne 2018. As Ambassador...

The best Mother's Day gift EVER!

Whether it’s to celebrate a special occasion, or just wind down at the end of a long day, there’s nothing much better than pouring yourself a glass (or two…) of...

Sing for Your Supper at Chargrill Charlie’s

To celebrate the final curtain call of the Barden Bellas, Chargrill Charlie’s is giving you the chance to Sing for your Supper! Show off your best acapella vocals to win...

MAKE IT WINE TIME, ANY TIME

Whether it’s to celebrate a special occasion, or just wind down at the end of a long day, there’s nothing much better than pouring yourself a glass (or two…) of...

5 Food Trends That Are Affecting Your Diet in 2018

With so many changes occurring in the food industry, we can’t help but ask ourselves how can this affect our diet and everyday life, right? It’s no wonder that these...