No ev­i­dence that acupunc­ture helps IVF

IVF India - - Unplugged - Source: BBC

Ex­perts have an­nounced that there is no ev­i­dence ei­ther acupunc­ture or Chi­nese her­bal medicine im­prove the like­li­hood of get­ting preg­nant through IVF.

Many cou­ples now turn to acupunc­ture in a bid to get preg­nant but the Bri­tish Fer­til­ity So­ci­ety says this may be a waste of time and money.

The re­searchers looked at 14 tri­als in­volv­ing 2,670 peo­ple to come up with their new guid­ance.

They found that it did not mat­ter what stage of the IVF process acupunc­ture took place - it still had no ef­fect on the preg­nancy or live birth rate.

How­ever they also found it didn't ac­tu­ally do any harm as there was no dif­fer­ence in mis­car­riage rates ei­ther.

The team said there were no rig­or­ous tri­als pub­lished on the use of Chi­nese herbs, so they de­cided there was cur­rently no ev­i­dence to sup­port the use of th­ese in fer­til­ity treat­ments ei­ther.

The the­ory be­hind acupunc­ture is that it will im­prove blood flow and an em­bryo will be more likely to im­plant suc­cess­fully.

How­ever Pro­fes­sor Edzard Ernst of Pensin­sula Med­i­cal School, told the BBC: "In­fer­tile women have been mis­led for some time now to think that tra­di­tional Chi­nese medicine ( TCM) can help them get­ting preg­nant.

"This anal­y­sis shows two things very clearly: the to­tal­ity of the acupunc­ture tri­als does not sup­port this no­tion, and for Chi­nese herbs, we have no ev­i­dence at all. "This will help in­fer­tile women not to waste their money or get dis­ap­pointed by TCM prac­ti­tion­ers who be­have less than re­spon­si­bly when rec­om­mend­ing th­ese treat­ments."

But one prac­ti­tioner, Dr Xiao-Ping Zhai, of The Zhai Fer­til­ity Treat­ment Clinic, told the BBC that the tri­als had been prob­lem­atic and dif­fer­ent anal­y­sis would show that acupunc­ture did work.

He said: "Cer­tainly for those with un­ex­plained fer­til­ity prob­lems in par­tic­u­lar, we know acupunc­ture and tra­di­tional Chi­nese medicine can be ben­e­fi­cial.

"What mat­ters is both the ex­per­tise and ex­pe­ri­ence of the prac­ti­tioner, but most of all the treat­ment of the pa­tient as an in­di­vid­ual. It is the tai­lored treat­ment which is key. We need clin­i­cal tri­als that take this into ac­count."

Did you try acupunc­ture when you were try­ing to con­ceive? Do you be­lieve it works? Write to us at edi­

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