Acupuncture can help provide physical and emotional support for all stages of IUI, IVF and ICSI treatment. For this reason it is wise to plan to see your acupuncturist before you start your treatment cycle even in advance of knowing the schedule to which you will be adhering. At embryo transfer time, treatments are often arranged as close as possible either side of the transfer following one of the most studied and publicised protocols.
In the last few years, a number of clinical trials investigating the effect of acupuncture at the time of embryo transfer have shown a significant increase in pregnancy rates when acupuncture is used. However others have shown little effect. More research is needed in this area to discover if there is a particular group of women who do benefit from acupuncture on the day of embryo transfer. It appears that where the overall expectation of pregnancy is high (i.e. the control group rate was around 50% or more) then acupuncture performed on the day of embryo transfer confers no benefit. However where control group pregnancy rates were lower (around 30%) acupuncture appears to add a significant benefit. Hence many clinics recommend acupuncture to women who have had previous failed cycles or who are 35 or older.
A 2008 study published in the British Medical Journal (BMJ) has suggested that acupuncture may increase the success rate of implantation and pregnancy by as much as 65%. To learn more please visit: www.bmj.com/cgi/content/full/336/7643/545