Acupuncture improves the pregnancy and live birth rates of IVF cycles
Women undergoing IVF in randomized controlled trials (RCTs) who were evaluated for the effects of acupuncture on IVF outcomes. The intervention groups used manual, electrical, and laser acupuncture techniques. The control groups consisted of no, sham, and placebo acupuncture. The major outcomes were clinical pregnancy rate (CPR) and live birth rate (LBR).
Heterogeneity of the therapeutic effect was evaluated with a forest plot analysis. Publication bias was assessed by a funnel plot analysis. Twenty-four trials (a total of 5,807 participants) were included in this review.
There were no significant publication biases for most of the comparisons among these studies. The pooled CPR (23 studies) from all of the acupuncture groups was significantly greater than that from all of the control groups, whereas the LBR (6 studies) was not significantly different between the two groups. The results were different when the type of control was examined in a sensitivity analysis.
The CPR and LBR differences between the acupuncture and control groups were more obvious when the studies using the Streitberger control were ignored. Similarly, if the underlying effects of the Streitberger control were excluded, the LBR results tended to be significant when the acupuncture was performed around the time of oocyte aspiration or controlled ovarian hyperstimulation.
Acupuncture improves CPR and LBR among women undergoing IVF based on the results of studies that do not include the Streitberger control.
Zheng et al. (2012) Effects of acupuncture on pregnancy rates in women undergoing in vitro fertilization: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Fertility and Sterility; Vol. 97, No. 3.