Electroacupuncture utilizes an electrical stimulator attached to acupuncture needles. This form of acupuncture focuses on 80 specific acupoints where nerves enter muscles. The electrical current may be adjusted to reach the optimum level, at which stage a slight twitching of the skin may be visible around the needle.
In a recent study, 309 women who were undergoing embryo transplant treatments or a new cycle of in vitro fertilization (IVF) were randomly assigned to one of three groups. The first group received mock electroacupuncture 30 minutes after the fertility treatment, the second group received one session of electroacupunture 30 minutes after the fertility treatment, and the third group received electroacupuncture 24 hours before the fertility treatment and then again 30 minutes after the fertility treatment. The main outcome measures included pregnancy rate, embryo implantation rate and live birth rate.
The researchers found that women who received two electroacupuncture sessions had significantly higher pregnancy, embryo implantation and live birth rates, at 50 percent, 25.9 percent and 42 percent, respectively, when compared to those in the control group. Women who received one session of electroacupuncture also saw significantly greater success rates, with pregnancy, embryo implantation and live birth rates at 42.7 percent, 25.7 percent and 37.3 percent, respectively. Results for the mock treatment group included a 29.3 percent pregnancy rate, 15 percent embryo implantation rate and 21.2 live birth rate.
The authors concluded that electroacupuncture may significantly improve the clinical outcomes of embryo transfer fertility treatments. However, further research is necessary before conclusions can be made.
For more information on other integrative therapies that have been studied for infertility, including arginine and black cohosh, please visit Natural Standard's Comparative Effectiveness Database.
For more information about electroacupuncture, please visit Natural Standard's Health & Wellness Database.