It also increases the likelihood of live births when used with embryo transfer in women undergoing in vitro fertilization, according to this latest review of the medical literature.
The results of 7 studies of 1366 women who were undergoing in vitro fertilization were combined and reanalyzed (meta-analysis).
Acupuncture was compared to sham acupuncture and no treatment in addition to in vitro fertilization.
And, the results.
Complementing the embryo transfer process with acupuncture was associated with significant and clinically relevant improvements in clinical pregnancy, ongoing pregnancy, and live births.
The bottom line?
On average, 10 women would need to be treated with acupuncture to bring about one additional clinical pregnancy.
Based on what we know, the authors place the potential role of acupuncture-assisted in vitro fertilization in perspective. “If acupuncture increased the likelihood of success of an individual cycle, then the need for a subsequent cycle would be reduced, and overall costs would be decreased.”
“Even if such increases [in pregnancy] were small,” they conclude, “an acupuncture cointervention may still be cost effective, considering the negligible costs of 2 to 4 sessions of acupuncture, relative to the high costs of in vitro fertilization.”
The cost in the US averages $12,400 (Â£6300, â‚¬8480) per cycle.
John Russo, Jr., PharmD, is president of The MedCom Resource, Inc. Previously, he was senior vice president of medical communications at www.Vicus.com, a complementary and alternative medicine website.