Acupuncture may boost a woman’s chances of conceiving a child through in-vitro fertilization, a new study shows.
Chinese researchers, reporting in the journal Fertility and Sterility, examined 24 small clinical trials – involving more than 5,800 women – that tested the effects of the ancient Chinese technique in women undergoing IVF.
Some of the studies examined by Tongji Medical College researchers involved needle acupuncture; others used electro-acupuncture; and some included laser acupuncture.
Acupuncture patients were then compared to women who either received no treatment, a placebo (involving a blunt needle that did not penetrate the skin) or treatments to areas of the body not related to fertility identified by Chinese practitioners.
Researchers found that women who had acupuncture had a slightly higher pregnancy rate than women who did not have the therapy -- but no higher birth rate.
Acupuncture is generally considered safe, but costs can vary widely and may not be covered by insurance.