Fertility Acupuncture Research 

Research in Korea has found microscopic fibers that follow along the lines of the acupuncture meridians. This is evidence of a physical microscopic pathway within the body, called Bonghan Channels or Ducts, which follow along the meridian pathways and are activated with acupuncture. Here is a link to a video discussing Bonghan Ducts.

 

CT scans show the acupuncture points as different colors, verifying a physical difference in these areas. See photo of CT csan of wrist area.

 

Acupuncture Research and IVF
 

  • Influence of Acupuncture on the pregnancy rate in patients who undergo assisted reproduction therapy: Paulus, et.al. Fertility and Sterility Vol: 77, No. 4, April 2002. This landmark study demonstrated that women undergoing acupuncture treatments with a specific acupoint protocol had an increase in ongoing pregnancy rates, compared to control subjects that did not receive acupuncture. Result(s): Clinical pregnancies were documented in 34 of 80 patients (42.5%) in the acupuncture group, whereas pregnancy rate was only 26.3% (21 out of 80 patients) in the control group.
     

  • Help for Thin Endometrial Lining - Reduction of blood flow impedance in the uterine arteries of infertile women with electro-acupuncture: Stener-Victorin et.al. Hum Reprod. 1996 Jun;11(6):1314-7. Successful IVF and embryo transfer require optimal endometrial receptivity at the time of implantation. The amount of blood flow to the uterus is considered valuable in assessing endometrial receptivity. This study showed that an eight treatment protocol was able to significantly increase blood flow to the uterus and may explain one mechanism for the substantial increases in pregnancies when acupuncture is properly incorporated into an IVF cycle.  NOTE: This protocol should be started 4 weeks prior to embryo transfer and includes 2 acupuncture sessions per week. 
                    

  • Help for Pain Post-Egg Retrieval - The pain-relieving effect of electro-acupuncture and conventional medical analgesic methods during oocyte retrieval: a systematic review of randomized controlled trial. Stener-Victorin E. Hum Reprod. 2004 Nov 11.  This review demonstrated that acupuncture analgesic effects are equal to conventional analgesic medication for oocyte retrieval. This is an important alternative for patients who are allergic or sensitive to analgesic medications. Women can benefit from easier recovery from egg retrieval without taking pain medications in preparation for embryo transfer.
     

  • A randomized, double-blind, controlled cross-over study evaluating acupuncture as an adjunct to in-vitro fertilization: Quintero et.al. Fertility and Sterility Vol: 81, Supplement 3, April, 2004. This pilot study examined prior IVF failures where researchers used a completely different acupuncture protocol. Researchers found a 180% increase in implantation rates, a 60% increase in ongoing pregnancies, and a significant reduction in the amount of gonadotrophins used.
     

  • Acupuncture & IVF poor responders: a cure?: Magarelli et.al. Fertility and Sterility Vol: 81, Supplement 3, April, 2004. This retrospective study found a 39% increase in IVF pregnancy rates with a modified protocol. It examined both poor responders and good responders. Poor responders that received acupuncture had the same pregnancy rates as normal prognosis patients. Poor responders were defined as those with elevated Peak FSH, longer history of infertility, or poor sperm morphology. When poor responders were excluded, the increase in pregnancies went up to 42%. The acupuncture group had significantly lower miscarriages, no ectopic pregnancies and significantly greater live births than the non-acupuncture group.
     

  • A matched controlled study to evaluate the efficacy of acupuncture for improving pregnancy rates following in-vitro fertilization - embryo transfer. Wang et al. Fertility and Sterility Vol: 83, issue 5, Supplement, May 2005. This study further demonstrates the importance of proper acupoint selection and proper administration of acupuncture protocols. The point protocol in this study varied greatly from previous studies that demonstrated positive pregnancy outcomes. This particular acupoint selection did not produce any increases in pregnancy rates.
     

  • Ovarian blood flow responses to electro-acupuncture stimulation at different frequencies and intensities in anaesthetized rats: Stener-Victorin et.al. Auton Neurosci. 2003 Oct 31;108(1-2):50-6. This study demonstrated that acupuncture can significantly increase or decrease ovarian blood flow, depending on how the protocol is applied. This is an important warning that improper application of acupuncture could hinder an IVF cycle.

CT scan from new research on acupuncture points.

CT scan showing wrist area of body with the acupuncture points showing up as distinct areas.