The needle therapy makes IVF treatment more successful by helping the lining of the uterus become more receptive to receiving an embryo, scientists claim.
Susan Seenan of Infertility Network UK said, “Preliminary results from this study appear to show that acupuncture given with embryo transfer can help improve success rates and we look forward to further research in this area to confirm this. Infertility treatment is extremely stressful and success is not guaranteed.”
She said many women claimed therapies such as acupuncture helped them relax and deal with the stress of IVF treatment – which can boost success rates.
The study, published in the British Medical Journal, found that 30 minutes of acupuncture therapy increased the odds of conceiving with IVF by 65%.
Edzard Ernst, professor of complementary medicine from the Peninsula Medical school, based in Exeter and Plymouth, said the effect could be due to a placebo response.
He added, “IVF may not seem to be ‘placebo-prone’ but it probably is. If women expect it to be helpful they are more relaxed which, in turn, would affect pregnancy rates.”
However, a US study last year found a combination of acupuncture and IVF made pregnancy 37% less likely.