Research investigating the effect of acupuncture on in vitro fertilization (IVF) pregnancy outcomes has focused primarily on non-donor cycles. Most trials excluded donor IVF cycles in their design, as donor IVF live birth outcomes are higher than non-donor IVF. In this retrospective chart review, we compared the effect of two standardized acupuncture protocols on donor IVF live birth outcomes.
Live births were compared between patients who elected acupuncture treatment before and after embryo transfer (ET) to those who did not. Acupuncture was performed at a private infertility clinic the same day as ET by one of seven licensed acupuncturists. One hundred thirty-four patients had an embryo transfer, of which 43 elected acupuncture. The acupuncture group “A” (Acu A) received the Craig protocol (Paulus protocol plus CV-6/Qihai before and KI-3/Taixi after ET) from 2005-2007 (N=23). From 2008-2009, the acupuncture group “B” (Acu B) received the Paulus protocol modified only with CV-6/Qihai added pre-ET (N=20). Live birth outcomes were analyzed using crude risk ratios.
There were 20 (87%) live births in the Acu A Group and 31 (66%) in the No Acu A group (RR=1.32, 95% CI 1.02 – 1.71, p=0.04). After removing KI-3/Taixi from the acupuncture protocol, there were 10 (50%) live births in the Acu B group and 28 (64%) in the No Acu B group (RR=1.37, 95% CI 0.76 – 2.47, p=0.29). When comparing Acu A to Acu B, there were significantly more live births in the Acu A group (RR=1.74, 95% CI 1.09 – 2.77, p=0.02).
Donor IVF live births may be improved with the Craig acupuncture protocol. This finding should be taken cautiously as more rigorous research including randomization and a larger sample size is needed.
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Rubin, L.H., Opsahl, M. & Ackerman, D. P02.163. Acupuncture and donor egg in vitro fertilization cycles: a retrospective chart review comparing two acupuncture protocols. BMC Complement Altern Med 12, P219 (2012). https://doi.org/10.1186/1472-6882-12-S1-P219
- Live Birth
- Embryo Transfer
- Retrospective Chart Review
- Acupuncture Treatment