Patients requesting adjunct therapies to enhance ART treatment has been a subject of interest to infertility clinicians. Many ART programs have recognized the benefit of such programs. A recent German study found that using acupuncture pre and post embryo transfer achieved a 42% clinical pregnancy rate compared to 26% in the control group that did not receive acupuncture. Many centers now are collaborating with acupuncturists to offer these elective services. The aim of this study was to evaluate the effect of acupuncture on clinical pregnancy and implantation rates. Design
Retrospective chart review of fresh non-donor and fresh donor/recipient ART cycles. Table 1 compares ongoing pregnancy rates between groups.
Materials and methods
A retrospective chart review was performed for fresh non-donor and fresh donor oocyte IVF cycles that resulted in embryo transfer (ET) from January 2004 though December 2005. Women undergoing fresh ET were offered the option of acupuncture treatment just prior and immediately after ET. Non-donor cycles were categorized into five age groups, <35 years, 35-37 years, 38-40 years, 41-42 years, and >42 years. Ongoing clinical pregnancy and implantation rates were compared between patients receiving acupuncture treatment and no acupuncture for each age group as well as donor oocyte cycles. Clinical pregnancy was defined as an intrauterine sac with fetal heart tone. Chi-square test was used to compare groups.
1613 patients receiving fresh embryo transfer were identified of which 1256 were fresh non-donor transfers and 357 were fresh embryo transfers with donor oocytes.
In patients electing acupuncture pre and post embryo transfer, similar ongoing pregnancy and implantation rates resulted for all age categories compared to patients not electing acupuncture. By eliminating the effect of age on oocyte quantity/quality and evaluating specifically the effect of acupuncture in recipients of donor oocytes, similar ongoing clinical pregnancy and implantation rates resulted when compared with recipients not electing acupuncture. Acupuncture as an adjunct to ART treatment does not appear to improve outcomes in this retrospective analysis, however findings from this study are limited by lack of treatment randomization.