A study of over 848 Australian and New Zealand women has proven the ineffectiveness of acupuncture in in vitro fertilization. The researchers involved 16 fertilization centers spread between the two countries between 2011 and 2015. During this time, they submitted the participants to acupuncture sessions before and after the embryo transfer. The aim was to verify the impact of the practice on assisted fertilization techniques.
Half of the women received a real acupuncture session. The others, instead, were subjected to "placebo" sessions: the needles were not inserted and were far from the points used in acupuncture. Has acupuncture increased the IVF success rate? According to the data, it would seem not. The rate of births in the first group was 18.3%, compared with 17.8% in the second group. A non-significant difference.
According to Professor Caroline Smith, lead author of the study, the data only prove the ineffectiveness of short-term sessions. According to him, the clinical practice of acupuncture is much more personalized and lengthy. Women who intend to follow it, undergo repeated sessions even before the IVF cycles begin. It follows that the study would not reflect clinical reality.
The effectiveness of acupuncture in in vitro fertilization appears to be null. Nevertheless, the practice could have positive psychological consequences. Women who undergo these cycles of acupuncture show greater peace of mind than those who do nothing. This could translate into benefits also for fertility.