Acupuncture and IVF Research

Acupuncture aims to support IVF stimulated cycle by optimising follicular development and increase blood microcirculation to the uterus to assist thickening of the endometrial lining.Getting the right dose  of acupuncture is crucial,  especially when it comes to acupuncture in fertility and IVF space. Here is the research :

  • Acupuncture  during IVF is associated with more live births when administered at a
    larger dose (9-12 visits prior to Embryo Transfer ). ( Hullender Rubin et al, 2014; Magarelli et al, 2009;)
  • Acupuncture improved Ovarian Blood Flow after 8 treatments and was
    maintained to follow-up at 4 wks. (Stener-Victorin , 1996)
  • Low frequency EA (electro-acupuncture) decreased hyper-androgenism and regulated menstrual cycles after 16 weeks of treatment. (Jedel et al, 2011)
  • Acupuncture increased ovulation frequency in PCOS patients with
    10-14weeks of treatment 2x/week. (Johansson et al, 2013)

Please find links to research here thanks to Acupuncture Pregnancy Clinic


Amy’s  reccomendation for those undergoing Fertility tretment:

  • Bi-weekly 4-6 weeks prior stimulation cycle (12 treatments)
  • Eletro acupuncture during IVF stimulation if poor responders.
  • Eletro acupuncture prior to FET for 6- 12 weeks, 1-2x per week.

Impact of whole systems traditional Chinese medicine on in-vitro fertilization outcomes

Lee Hullender Rubin and her colleagues analysed the outcomes of more than a thousand IVF cycles, and found that women who used Chinese Medicine (acupuncture with or without herbs, dietary advice etc), had a higher live birth rate than those doing IVF alone.

The proportion of live births was significantly higher in the Chinese Medicine group (61.3%) compared with either the usual IVF care (48.2%) or acupuncture only on day of embryo transfer (50.8%).

Hullender Rubin L et al, Reprod Biomed Online, Vol 30, 602-612, 2015 Reproductive BioMedicine Online    


More on examples of higher dose acupuncture favouring increased pregnancy rates please see studies below: 

Shen C et al, 2015 Gynecol Obstet Invest 79:1-12 Gynaecological and Obstetric Investigations

A review of 21 Random Control trials (that included nearly 5,500 patients) concluded that while acupuncture administered to IVF patients only at the time of embryo transfer did not confer any significant advantage, acupuncture administered during the IVF cycle stimulation phase and/or during implantation phase in addition to treatment at the time of transfer showed significant improvement in pregnancy rates.


Qian Y et al, 2016 Arch Gynecol Obstet Dec p 1-16

Archives of Gynaecology and Obstetrics

Data from nearly six and a half thousand women undergoing IVF reveals that acupuncture improves pregnancy rates especially when it is carried out in the stimulation phase of the IVF cycle when the follicles are developing. In general studies carried out in Asia using electro acupuncture showed a stronger trend to improved IVF outcomes than did non-Asian studies that did not use electro-acupuncture.


Zheng CH et al, 2012 Fert Sterile, Vol. 97, Issue 3, 599-611 Fertility and Sterility

Researchers from China have analysed results of nearly 6000 women participating in trials examining the effect of acupuncture during IVF. They found that pregnancy rates and birth rates were improved by acupuncture when compared to women having no acupuncture (but not when compared to women having placebo acupuncture with a blunt needle). They also noted that increased birth rates were noted when acupuncture was administered throughout stimulation cycle.

Zheng CH et al, Eid Based Complement Alternate Med. 2012; vol 2012: 543924.

This review is another analysis by the same team who also published their results in Fertility and Sterility 2012.. In this review (6000 patients) they emphasise that the effects of administering individualised acupuncture treatments throughout the IVF cycle rather than just at the time of embryo transfer, produces higher pregnancy and birth rates



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