A Brazilian team has found that the ability of acupuncture to benefit fertility treatment may depend on the cause of the woman’s infertility. Four hundred and sixteen patients undergoing intracytoplasmic sperm injection cycles were randomised to either a control group or acupuncture treatment (performed immediately before and after embryo transfer). When the results were analysed as a whole, no influence of acupuncture treatment on clinical outcomes was seen. However, when the causes of infertility were exclusively tubal-uterine or idiopathic, a positive effect of acupuncture on pregnancy rates was seen. Women in this subgroup who had acupuncture were five times more likely to become pregnant than those who did not. Trends toward an increase in implantation rates were also seen in this subgroup when acupuncture was performed. The authors conclude that for the subgroup of ICSI patients in which the embryo is not affected by an ovarian or seminal influence, acupuncture is beneficial. (Effect of acupuncture on assisted reproduction treatment outcomes. Acupunct Med. 2010 Dec;28(4):180-4).

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