The C.A.M. Report
Complementary and Alternative Medicine: Fair, Balanced, and to the Point
  • About this web log

    This blog ran from 2006 to 2016 and was intended as an objective and dispassionate source of information on the latest CAM research. Since my background is in pharmacy and allopathic medicine, I view all CAM as advancing through the development pipeline to eventually become integrated into mainstream medical practice. Some will succeed while others fail. But all are treated fairly here.

  • About the author

    John Russo, Jr., PharmD, is president of The MedCom Resource, Inc. Previously, he was senior vice president of medical communications at, a complementary and alternative medicine website.

  • Common sense considerations

    The material on this weblog is for informational purposes. It is not medical advice or counsel. Be smart, consult your health professional before using CAM.

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    Summarizing acupuncture’s effect on pregnancy 2006-2008

     Here’s a summary of reviews and research in this area of practice since the beginning of this blog.

    I went back to each post on reviews and original research of acupuncture/pregnancy that appeared on this blog since 2006. The objective was to assess study size and conclusions based on the use of acupuncture.

    University of Southampton, UK

    • 13 studies reviewed.
    • Acupuncture should not be offered during the luteal phase in routine clinical practice.

    Guy’s and St Thomas’ Hospital in London

    • 13 studies in 2500 women
    • No difference in clinical pregnancy associated with acupuncture around the time of egg collection (5 study meta-analysis).
    • No difference in the clinical pregnancy rate around the time of embryo transfer (8 meta-analysis).
    • No significant increase in live birth rate around the time of embryo transfer (5 of 8 studies).

    University of Maryland and Georgetown University School of Medicine in the US and University Amsterdam De Boelelaan, Netherlands

    • 7 studies of 1366 women
    • Significant improvements in clinical pregnancy, ongoing pregnancy, and live births when embryo transfer is combined with acupuncture.

    Harvard Medical School, Boston

    • 150 women
    • No difference in the rate of pregnancy with acupuncture 25-minute treatment before and after embryo transfer.

    Robert Wood Johnson Medical Center in Camden, New Jersey

    • 32 women
    • No improvement in pregnancy rates following in vitro fertilization-embryo transfer when acupuncture was performed twice weekly during the follicular and luteal phase.

    Kaali Institute IVF Center, Budapest and Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York

    • Combined results from 2 studies in 481 women
    • No difference in chemical, clinical pregnancy, and implantation rates with needle acupuncture, laser acupuncture, and sham laser acupuncture vs. no treatment.

    Report of 3 studies

    Fertility Clinic Trianglen, Hellerup, Denmark

    • 273 women
    • Significantly higher clinical and ongoing pregnancy rates with acupuncture immediately before embryo transfer vs before and 2 days later.

    University of Witten/Herdecke in Dortmund, Germany

    • 225 women
    • A positive effect on clinical pregnancy rate and ongoing pregnancy rate with luteal-phase acupuncture.

    University of South Australia

    • 228 women
    • No difference in pregnancy rate following 3 sessions: day 9 of stimulating injections, then second day before and the third day after transfer “according to the principles of traditional Chinese medicine.”

    The bottom line?
    There appears to be a difference of opinion in the value of acupuncture as a complementary treatment during in vitro fertilization.

    Studies tend to include large populations. And the quality of studies is generally good, permitting reviewers to assess the combined results (meta-analysis). However, reviewers from the US and Netherlands list many variables that might influence results and should be addressed in future studies.

    • Age
    • Diagnostic categories of infertility
    • Duration of infertility
    • Numbers of previous treatment cycles
    • Quality of embryos
    • Timing of the acupuncture sessions relative to embryo transfer

    10/15/08 22:39 JR

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