Does acupuncture work for infertility?

There has only been one controlled research trial involving in vitro fertilization (IVF) and acupuncture. This study showed some promise of increased fertility effectiveness of acupuncture when combined with IVF. Other studies have not shown much fertility improvement with acupuncture, and there needs to be more controlled, randomized studies with increased numbers of participants before any true connection can be established.
Alice Domar

Since the first publication of a randomized controlled study in 2002 showed a significant increase in pregnancy rates in women who received acupuncture prior to and after embryo transfer, the use of acupuncture by infertility patients has skyrocketed. Although there have been no good studies yet on women not yet in IVF, the data for IVF patients is relatively positive, including the most recent meta-analysis published in January, 2012. Since the cost of pre and post embryo transfer acupuncture is about 1% of the cost of an IVF cycle, it seems reasonable to try it, especially as at least one meta-analysis showed that women who received acupuncture had a 65% greater chance of pregnancy. It is also associated with less anxiety and more optimism.

Studies of the effectiveness of acupuncture as a complementary therapy to infertility treatment have shown mixed results. But that doesn't mean acupuncture doesn't work -- it turns out that it is much more difficult to study and make generalizations about acupuncture than it is to study Western Medicine.

Western Medicine is often standardized, and treatment tends to be similar from patient to patient. In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), patients with the same disease often present with different 'syndrome' patterns due to individual differences - so no two people receive the same treatment. An acupuncture practitioner may choose to place the needles completely different places for different infertility patients, making it very hard to compare outcomes between them.

Thousands of women each year choose acupuncture to increase the likelihood of infertility treatment success. Studies have shown that between 10-25% of women undergoing IVF supplement their treatment with acupuncture or other alternative therapies, and research has found that a majority of women who use complementary treatments report that they are effective.

Continue Learning about Acupuncture

Can Acupuncture Help Ease Your Chronic Pain?
Can Acupuncture Help Ease Your Chronic Pain?
In the quest to relieve chronic pain, having tiny needles inserted into your skin may not initially sound like a great idea. But the millions of Ameri...
Read More
What is an acupuncture point injection?
Honor Society of Nursing (STTI)Honor Society of Nursing (STTI)
An acupuncture point injection is a procedure in which drugs, vitamins, herbal extracts, or other fl...
More Answers
How does acupuncture treat pain?
Jill Blakeway, MS, LAcJill Blakeway, MS, LAc
Acupuncture treats all types of pain by reducing inflammation, increasing blood circulation, changin...
More Answers
How Does Acupuncture Treat Pain?
How Does Acupuncture Treat Pain?

Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.