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A large trial carried out in New Zealand does not support the use of acupuncture to improve birth outcomes among women undergoing IVF. In a single-blind, parallel-group randomised clinical trial, 848 women undergoing a fresh IVF cycle received either acupuncture or a sham acupuncture control. The first treatment was administered between days six to eight of follicle stimulation, and two treatments were administered prior to and following embryo transfer. The treatment strategy was based on TCM, with a standardised acupuncture protocol developed using a Delphi method. The sham control used a non-penetrating needle placed at non-acupuncture points. The rate of live births was 18.3 per cent among women who received acupuncture, versus 17.8 per cent among women who received sham acupuncture, a non-significant difference. No statistically significant increase in clinical pregnancies was seen in the acupuncture group (25.7 per cent with acupuncture vs 21.7 per cent in the sham group). The number of miscarriages among women receiving acupuncture was numerically higher than among women receiving sham (22.8 per cent vs 11.6 per cent), but this difference was not statistically significant.

Effect of Acupuncture vs Sham Acupuncture on Live Births Among Women Undergoing In Vitro Fertilization: A Randomized Clinical Trial. JAMA. 2018 May 15;319(19):1990-1998.


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