Intended for healthcare professionals


Acupuncture with in vitro fertilisation

BMJ 2008; 336 doi: (Published 06 March 2008) Cite this as: BMJ 2008;336:517
  1. Anja Pinborg, postdoctoral research fellow,
  2. Anne Loft, consultant,
  3. Anders Nyboe Andersen, professor of reproductive medicine
  1. 1Fertility Clinic, Copenhagen University Hospital, Rigshospitalet, 2100 Copenhagen, Denmark
  1. pinborg{at}

May increase birth rates, but guidelines should await the results of ongoing trials

According to the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology, more than 300 000 treatment cycles of in vitro fertilisation and intracytoplasmatic sperm injection are performed each year in Europe.1 Because in vitro fertilisation can affect physical and mental health, professionals delivering this treatment are trying to optimise the technology to increase birth rates.

About 90% of all assisted reproductive treatment cycles result in the transfer of at least one embryo, but only about 25% of all cycles end in implantation of the embryo and live birth. The main factor limiting the success of treatment is failure of implantation and not the lack of human embryos for transfer. Initiatives to improve rates of implantation have had varying success. In the accompanying systematic review, Manheimer and colleagues report improved pregnancy rates with in vitro fertilisation when acupuncture accompanies embryo transfer.2

As far as …

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