Study Offers Info on Acupuncture’s Effect on IVF


Anyone who has gone through IVF treatments will agree that they aren’t easy. The emotional and physical experiences attached to this form of infertility treatment can be grueling and difficult to handle, and then there’s the cost.

Acupuncture’s Effect on IVFIt’s no wonder that those who opt for IVF want to have the best possible chance of it working, which is why so many choose to turn to complimentary treatments in order to maximize the potential of success.

Some women do yoga. Others opt for specific vitamins or dietary supplements. Some turn to meditation. And many have opted to use acupuncture, thanks to a myriad of reports that claim this ancient form of medicine can raise the chance of IVF being successful.

One of the first studies that touted acupuncture as a way to increase the chances of conceiving during IVF was published back in 2016. That study declared that acupuncture doubles the chances of conceiving with IVF, though the authors did admit in the conclusion that the “placebo effect” may have had a lot to do with the data they collected. Other similar reports followed.

However, the results of a recent study, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, dispute the previous findings.

Conducted by researchers in Australia, this study found that acupuncture had no direct effect on IVF and its success.

The study involved nearly 900 patients at 16 different clinics in that country. Some received traditional acupuncture during their IVF cycle while others received what the authors described as “sham acupuncture” – non-insertive needles placed away from acupuncture points.

The rate of live births among those who underwent traditional acupuncture was 18.3 percent and the number for those who got the sham treatment was 17.8 percent. Close, right? So close that, in fact, the slight difference in the number was considered non-significant by the study authors.

This disappointed a lot of women who were banking on acupuncture helping their IVF be more successful. However, the study authors point out that while acupuncture isn’t directly tied to the success of IVF, the fact that it serves to relax patients and reduce stress and anxiety may still be beneficial.

Indeed, stress and anxiety can reduce success with IVF, so anything that calms the IVF patient – like meditation, mindfulness, or simply doing other relaxing activities that one enjoys – could be advantageous. Some believe that had the study compared true acupuncture’s effect on IVF versus no complimentary treatment at all, the acupuncture side would have emerged the clear winner.

So, if you can afford it and have time to indulge, do it, the experts say. There’s no harm in it and if it improves one’s overall feeling of well-being and relieves tension, it just might do some good.

Go back