Research: A review on the therapeutic effect of acupuncture on the outcomes of IVF 2018-09-04T10:23:02+00:00

Therapeutic effect of acupuncture on the outcomes of in vitro fertilization: a systematic review and meta-analysis

Yi Qian,,Xin-Ru Xia, Humphrey Ochin, Cun Huang, Chao Gao, Li Gao, Yu-Gui Cui, Jia-Yin Liu, Yan Meng,

December 2016

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Thirty trials (a total of 6344 participants) were included in this review. CPR data showed a significant difference between the acupuncture and control groups (OR 1.26, 95% CI 1.06–1.50, p = 0.01), but there was significant statistical heterogeneity among the studies (p = 0.0002). When the studies were restricted to Asian or non-Asian area trials with a sensitivity analysis, the results significantly benefited the CPR in Asian group (OR 1.51, 95% CI 1.04–2.20, p = 0.03). Based on the area subgroup analysis, we found that in the Asian group, the IVF outcomes from the EA groups were all significantly higher than those from the control groups (CPR: OR 1.81, 95% CI 1.20–2.72, p = 0.005; BPR: OR 1.84, 95% CI 1.12–3.02, p = 0.02; LBR: OR 2.36, 95% CI 1.44–3.88, p = 0.0007; OPR: OR 1.94, 95% CI 1.03–3.64, p = 0.04). Meanwhile, compared with other acupuncture time, the IVF outcome results were significantly superior in the acupuncture group when acupuncture was conducted during controlled ovarian hyperstimulation (COH) (CPR: OR 1.71, 95% CI 1.27–2.29, p = 0.0004; LBR: OR 2.41, 95% CI 1.54–3.78, p = 0.0001; BPR: OR 1.50, 95% CI 1.02–2.20, p = 0.04; OPR: OR 1.88, 95% CI 1.06–3.34, p = 0.03). However, when acupuncture was conducted at the time of embryo transfer, the BPR and OPR from the acupuncture groups were significantly lower than those of the controls in the Asian group (BPR: OR 0.67, 95% CI 0.48–0.92, p = 0.01; OPR: OR 0.68, 95% CI 0.49–0.96, p = 0.03).


Based on an analysis of the studies, acupuncture improves the CPR among women undergoing IVF. When the studies were restricted to Asian or non-Asian area patients, compared with traditional acupuncture and other methods, electrical acupuncture yielded better IVF outcomes. Optimal positive effects could be expected using acupuncture in IVF during COH, especially in Asian area. However, as a limitation of this review, most of the included studies did not mention the number of embryos transferred.