Can Acupuncture Help With IVF?

Can acupuncture help improve my odds if I’m undergoing IVF?
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ByEric Widra, MD, chair of practice committee for the Society for Assisted Reproductive Technology and a reproductive endocrinologist with Shady Grove Fertility in Washington, DC
Fertility Specialist
Updated
Mar 2017
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When you’re undergoing a treatment as complicated and emotionally draining as IVF, you’d like to do everything you can to make sure the procedure is a success. For many women, that might include a trip to the acupuncturist’s office. And it turns out there is some clinical evidence to back up this ancient art of Chinese medicine. In a German study of 160 women published back in 2002, researchers found that 42 percent of the women who underwent acupuncture treatments before and after having fertilized embryos transferred into their uterus became pregnant, versus the 26 percent success rate among those who simply had IVF alone. Unfortunately, there haven’t been a lot of other good studies to collaborate these results. That hasn’t stopped thousands of women who undergo IVF from trying the treatment (designed to stimulate your body’s “chi,” or energy channels). At the very least, many find acupuncture to be surprisingly relaxing (you don’t really feel those needles), and it can help you feel like you’re taking some measure of control over your body. And if that’s what it takes to help you get pregnant, then stick with it.

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