Acupuncture to improve IVF

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Acupuncture, when used with IVF, may be beneficial depending on the pregnancy rates for the clinic. This is according to new research from the University of Maryland School of Medicine.

Best results when used at clinics with lower pregnancy rates

“Our systematic review of current acupuncture/IVF research found that for IVF clinics with baseline pregnancy rates higher than average (32 percent or greater) adding acupuncture had no benefit,” explained Eric Manheimer, lead author and research associate at the University of Maryland Center for Integrative Medicine. “However, at IVF clinics with baseline pregnancy rates lower than average (less than 32 percent) adding acupuncture seemed to increase IVF pregnancy success rates. We saw a direct association between the baseline pregnancy success rate and the effects of adding acupuncture: the lower the baseline pregnancy rate at the clinic, the more adjuvant acupuncture seemed to increase pregnancy rate.”

Risks and benefits of complementary therapies

This new analysis builds on 16 studies with more than 4000 patients. “The University Of Maryland School Of Medicine is an international leader in investigating the risks and benefits of complementary and alternative therapies. This new analysis is another example of our faculty’s commitment to used comprehensive scientific study to further understanding and inform clinicians and patients who are considering these integrative therapies,” said Albert Reece, MD, PhD, MBA, vice president for medical affairs at the University of Maryland.

What makes a lower baseline?

International differences may be one factor in explaining varying baseline rates. European clinics are moving to single egg transfers thus reducing their baseline numbers. “Another potential explanation for the different effect of acupuncture in trials with higher versus lower baseline rates may be that in IVF settings where the baseline pregnancy rates are already high, the relative added value of additional co-intervention such acupuncture, may be lower,” concluded Manheimer.

More study will be needed to determine if acupuncture should be offered as a complementary procedure for these clinics with the lower baseline numbers.

Source: University of Maryland Medical Center, MedicalNewsToday


 
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