June 6th, 2020

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Acupuncture Has No Significantly Positive Effect on in Vitro Fertilization: A Review of Systematic Reviews
Authors:  Jin-tao Peng, M.D., Ting-ting Li, M.Sc. Med., Xiao-li Zhang, M.Sc. Med, Jing-jie Li, M.D., Ph.D., and Xiao-yan Liang, M.D., Ph.D.
  OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the efficacy of acupuncture on in vitro fertilization (IVF) outcomes by reviewing systematic reviews from the literature.

STUDY DESIGN: PubMed, Ovid, ISI Web of Knowledge, and Google Scholar were searched up to January 2015. Quality was assessed by the adapted Oxman and Guyatt scale. Systematic reviews or meta-analyses with high quality scored ≥14 were included for final analysis. Clinical outcomes including implantation rate, biochemical pregnancy rate, clinical pregnancy rate, miscarriage rate, ongoing pregnancy rate, and live birth rate were evaluated.

RESULTS: Seven meta-analyses were included in the final analysis. Acupuncture had no positive effect on clinical outcomes in IVF, no matter whether the procedure was performed around the time of oocyte aspiration, the time of embryo transfer, or the time when controlled ovarian hyperstimulation was performed. Similar conclusions were achieved in subgroup analyses comparing acupuncture with sham acupuncture or no adjuvant treatment group. However, acupuncture protocols in the primary studies did not always mirror clinical practice, in which acupuncture is performed several times over a period of days or weeks.

CONCLUSION: Acupuncture does not improve the outcomes with regard to achieving pregnancy in IVF patients. All the results should be confirmed by well-designed randomized controlled trials with large samples using an acupuncture protocol that is similar to general clinical practice.
Keywords:  acupuncture, alternative medicine, assisted reproductive technologies, complementary medicine, in vitro fertilization, meta-analysis, systematic review
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