A friend of mine who has recently been undergoing IVF has been having accupuncture to aid conception. When she told me I was initially surprised and maybe a tiny little sceptical, but I have since been researching it and found quite a lot of support for this alternative therapy.
A recent study at University of Southampton has discovered that one in three women given accupuncture alongside their IVF treatment successfully conceived. The success rate for those who did not combine fertility treatment with acupuncture was one in five.
When I read this the first question I asked was :How many women were in the study ?
The answer : more than 2000 women.
To me that seems a fairly significant number. The study discovered that the chance of the embryo implanting successfully & triggering pregnancy, increased if the patient was treated with acupuncture at about the same time as the embryo transfer. However if the acupuncture took place days after the fertility treatment the benefit was lost.
And how does the accupuncture help ?
No-one really knows how the accupuncture helps conception. One idea that has been put forward is that it may help to reduce the stress that the women is going through, and help her to cope with the treatment. Acupuncture appears to reduce stress by releasing endorphins in the brain. Endorphins are chemicals that the body releases that suppress pain naturally, as well as affect hormones that influence the menstrual cycle.
One thing is for sure in my opinion, anything that improves the outcomes from fertility treatments has to be a good thing. And the really good news is, my friend conceived in her first cycle of IVF coupled with accupuncture.
This subject has been covered quite a lot in the national press-here are some links below
Here is some older research finding on the same subject