Acupuncture and In Vitro Fertilization (IVF)

June 14th, 2005 – Wheaton SUN Newspaper Article

There are many publications that study the effect of acupuncture on reproductive infertility of both genders.

The German study by Wolfgang E. Paulus, M.D. evaluates whether acupuncture accompanying embryo transfer increases clinical pregnancy rates after IVF. After consenting to participate in the trials, 160 patients in assisted reproductive therapy (ART) were divided into two groups. A maximum of three embryos were implanted.

Just before and after embryo transfer, all patients underwent ultrasound scans. Eighty patients received acupuncture 25 minutes before and 25 minutes after the embryo transfer. The acupuncture points were chosen according to the principles of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM). The other eighty patients underwent the usual therapy.

Six weeks after transfer, fetal sacs were present in 34 of the acupuncture group. Only 21 of the control group were clinically pregnant. According to this study, acupuncture seems to be a useful tool for improving pregnancy rates after ART by inhibiting uterine motility.

Another study of 114 IVF cases, conducted by Paul C. Magarelli, M.D., of the Reproductive Medicine and Fertility Center and Dr. Diane K. Cridennda, acupuncturist with a Master’s degree in Chinese medicine of East Winds Acupuncture both in Colorado Springs, Colorado, split the patients into two groups. Fifty-three were treated with electro stimulation acupuncture and auricular acupuncture and 61 without. Of the patients that received acupuncture, 51% achieved pregnancy vs. 36% of the control group. The acupuncture group only had a miscarriage rate of 8% vs. 20% in the control group No ectopic pregnancies were in the first group and 9% in the non-acupuncture group.

While many studies utilize poor prognosis patients, in this study the combination of electro stimulation and TCM combined with auricular acupuncture appears to increase the pregnancy rate in IVF patients in good prognosis.

This center has also demonstrated that acupuncture in patients with poor prognoses can achieve similar pregnancy rates to normal prognosis patients.
In general, studies seem to indicate that receiving acupuncture about 30 minutes before and after IVF can increase the chance that an embryo will successfully be implanted and the chance of miscarriage reduced. There are also indications that the effectiveness of the IVF drugs and procedure may improve if acupuncture is done about once a week in the months preceding IVF and then during the entire cycle.

There is no sure method for fertility and pregnancy problems. Acupuncture is one of the tools that has been effective because, in some women, it improves circulation and blood flow to the womb leading to healthier eggs and it increases the chances that the lining will be strong enough to hold those eggs full term. It can also relieve the stress that is produced at this emotional time.

TCM can be traced back for over 2,500 years. Acupuncture is an important element of TCM and has been shown to alleviate nausea and vomiting, headaches, dental pain, addiction, menstrual pain, osteoarthritis, myofascial pain, carpal tunnel syndrome, fibromyalgia, asthma, plantar facitiis pain and tennis elbow as well as reproductive infertility. Both the psychological and physiological benefits of acupuncture have been scientifically demonstrated.

Acupuncture is used to obtain balance in the body by enhancing the flow of Qi (pronounced chi), the vital energy circulating throughout the body. The individual is viewed as a mind/body organism. This holistic concept stimulates the body’s natural healing potential by treating the root cause. It is designed to cure illness and maintain health and well being.

The practitioner of TCM at Eastern Healing, 200 W. Willow, Ste. 202 in Wheaton use a combination of modalities such as acupunctureChinese herbal medicinesTui Na massage along with other adjunct techniques and education to get you back in control of your health. The nationally board certified (NCCAOM) Licensed Acupuncturist started his training in Salt Lake City, furthered his education in China and is a graduate of the Midwest College of Oriental Medicine with a Masters of Science in Traditional Chinese Medicine. He specializes in women’s health issues and sports injuries.

Please contact Peter Harvey at 630-653-4358 for an appointment or more information. Peter’s area of specialty is in the treatment of infertility and has been featured on Channel 7 News. His other areas of interest are in women’s health and injuries both sport and work.