PARENTS

Experts Say There's "No Evidence" That Acupuncture Helps IVF

11/03/2010 09:01 | Updated 22 May 2015

Experts have announced that there is no evidence either acupuncture or Chinese herbal medicine improve the likelihood of getting pregnant through IVF.

Many couples now turn to acupuncture in a bid to get pregnant but the British Fertility Society says this may be a waste of time and money.

The researchers looked at 14 trials involving 2,670 people to come up with their new guidance.

They found that it did not matter what stage of the IVF process acupuncture took place - it still had no effect on the pregnancy or live birth rate.

However they also found it didn't actually do any harm as there was no difference in miscarriage rates either.

The team said there were no rigorous trials published on the use of Chinese herbs, so they decided there was currently no evidence to support the use of these in fertility treatments either.

The theory behind acupuncture is that it will improve blood flow and an embryo will be more likely to implant successfully.

However Professor Edzard Ernst of Pensinsula Medical School, told the BBC: "Infertile women have been misled for some time now to think that traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) can help them getting pregnant.

"This analysis shows two things very clearly: the totality of the acupuncture trials does not support this notion, and for Chinese herbs, we have no evidence at all.

"This will help infertile women not to waste their money or get disappointed by TCM practitioners who behave less than responsibly when recommending these treatments."

But one practitioner, Dr Xiao-Ping Zhai, of The Zhai Fertility Treatment Clinic, told the BBC that the trials had been problematic and different analysis would show that acupuncture did work.

He said: "Certainly for those with unexplained fertility problems in particular, we know acupuncture and traditional Chinese medicine can be beneficial.

"What matters is both the expertise and experience of the practitioner, but most of all the treatment of the patient as an individual. It is the tailored treatment which is key. We need clinical trials that take this into account."

Did you try acupuncture when you were trying to conceive? Do you believe it works?

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