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Acupuncture "increases IVF success"

Women who have acupuncture while they are undergoing IVF treatment increase their chances of getting pregnant, it has been claimed.

Researchers found evidence of success for women who had acupuncture within one day of embryo transfer.

The study, by scientists at the University of Maryland School of Medicine in the US and the VU University Amsterdam, involved a review of seven published trials.

Some 1,366 women undergoing IVF were included in the trials, which compared acupuncture given within one day of embryo transfer, sham acupuncture where needles are inserted away from points used in genuine acupuncture, and no additional treatment.

Women of various ages with different causes of infertility were included.

While the timing of the acupuncture sessions in relation to embryo transfer differed somewhat among trials, all the women received acupuncture immediately before or immediately after the embryo transfer.

And the review found there was a 65% increased chance of falling pregnant with acupuncture compared with sham acupuncture or no treatment.

However, the researchers, writing in the British Medical Journal, warned that this odds ratio "significantly overestimates" the rate ratio in this context, in which the event (pregnancy) is relatively frequent.

The study said that in absolute terms, 10 women would need to be treated with acupuncture to bring about one additional pregnancy.

British Medical Journal

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