New research demonstrates higher ovulation and pregnancy rates for women receiving acupuncture combined with clomiphene (clomifert, clomid) compared with women receiving clomiphene only. Clomiphene is a selective estrogen receptor modulator. It inhibits hypothalamus feedback to stimulate production of gonadotropins, hormones that affect fertility including FSH (follicle stimulating hormone) and LH (luteinizing hormone).
The study measured a control group of 19 women and an acupuncture group of 17 women. The control group received 50mg of oral clomiphene at a rate of once per day for a total of 50 menstrual cycles. The acupuncture group received the clomiphene at the same dosage and rate plus regular acupuncture treatments. The researchers measured changes in ovulation, endometrial thickness, cervical mucus, pelvic fluid, and follicular development. The acupuncture group showed a significantly higher rate of both ovulation and conception than the group receiving medication only.
More Recent Studies
In a recent study of 5,807 women, it was demonstrated that acupuncture improves clinical pregnancy rates and live birth rates for women receiving IVF (in vitro fertilization).
A study published in the American Journal of Reproductive Immunology shows that the application of acupuncture to acupoints ST36 and SP6 was shown to prevent egg implantation failure.
In a study of 309 women, it was found that electroacupuncture “significantly improved the clinical outcome of ET (embryo transfer).”
A recent study measured the biochemical mechanisms by which acupuncture increases IVF success rates. In a randomized controlled study, it was concluded that, “Acupuncture could improve the poor receptive state of (the) endometrium due to mifepristone by promoting Th2 cytokines secretion and inhibiting Th1 cytokines to improve blastocyst implantation.”
1. JOURNAL OF ACUPUNCTURE AND TUINA SCIENCE. Volume 10, Number 2 (2012), 77-80, DOI: 10.1007/s11726-012-0575-z. Therapeutic effect observation on combined acupuncture and medication for ovulation. Xue-su Yu, Xing-qiang Yan and Yu-yu Shen.
2. Effects of acupuncture on pregnancy rates in women undergoing in vitro fertilization: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Cui Hong Zheng, M.D.; Ph.D.a, Guang Ying Huang, M.D., Ph.D.a; Ming Min Zhang, M.D., Ph.D.b; Wei Wang, M.D., Ph.D.c.. Fertility and Sterility. 1-11-2012.
3. Gui, Juan; Xiong, Fan; Li, Jing; Huang, Guangying. Effects of Acupuncture on LIF and IL-12 in Rats of Implantation Failure. American Journal of Reproductive Immunology. Am J Reprod Immunol. 1600-0897. 2012.
4. Fertility and Sterility. Volume 96, Issue 4, October 2011, Pages 912-916. Increase of success rate for women undergoing embryo transfer by transcutaneous electrical acupoint stimulation: a prospective randomized placebo-controlled study. Rong Zhang Ph.D., Xiao-Jun Feng B.S., Qun Guan B.S., Wei Cui M.S., Ying Zheng M.S., Wei Sun B.S., Ji-Sheng Han M.D.
5. T. G. Wegmann, H. Lin, L. Guilbert, and T. R. Mosmann, “Bidirectional cytokine interactions in the maternal-fetal relationship: is successful pregnancy a TH2 phenomenon?” Immunology Today, vol. 14, no. 7, pp. 353–356, 1993.
6. Juan Gui, Fan Xiong, Jing Li, and Guangying Huang, “Effects of Acupuncture on Th1, Th2 Cytokines in Rats of Implantation Failure,” Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, vol. 2012, Article ID 893023, 10 pages, 2012. doi:10.1155/2012/893023