Indiana Reproductive Acupuncture Study

Acupuncture and IVF

In 2007, Indiana Reproductive Acupuncture, in conjunction with Midwest Fertility Specialists, conducted a study of 261 patients to determine whether acupuncture performed both before and after embryo transfer in an In Vitro Fertilization cycle affected pregnancy rates. The study was published in the journal Fertility and Sterility, and presented at the annual conference of the American Society of Reproductive Medicine in October 2008. The results indicate that there is a correlation between the use of acupuncture and higher pregnancy rates.

We are proud to share these results and will continue to pursue future studies furthering the understanding of the link between acupuncture and fertility. We are confident that this is just one example of what can result when eastern and western medicine collaborate.

Acupuncture & Fertility


Endometriosis Pain

Preliminary estimates indicate that Japanese-style acupuncture may be an effective, safe, and well-tolerated adjunct therapy for endometriosis-related pelvic pain in adolescents.

Inflammatory Obstruction of the Fallopian Tubes

Acupuncture is also worth trying in the treatment of female infertility due to inflammatory obstruction of the fallopian tubes, where it seems to be superior to conventional therapy with intrauterine injection of gentamicin, chymotrypsin and dexamethasone. Reported by: World Health Organization in a review of controlled clinical trials in 2003

Ji P et al. [Clinical study on acupuncture treatment of infertility due to inflammatory obstruction of fallopian tube.] Chinese Acupuncture and Moxibustion, 1996, 16(9):469–470 [in Chinese].

In Vitro Fertilization (IVF)

The pregnancy rate of IVF treatment is significantly increased, especially when acupuncture is administered on the day of embryo transfer.

The reviewers found that acupuncture given as a complement to IVF increased the odds of achieving pregnancy. The results, considered preliminary, point to a potential complementary treatment that may improve the success of IVF and the need to conduct additional clinical trials to confirm these findings.

Acupuncture improves clinical pregnancy rates and live birth rates for women receiving IVF.

There is evidence of benefit when acupuncture is performed on the day of embryo transfer (ET) on the live birth rate.

IVF, Stress and Acupuncture

The conclusion of this study states that stress remains significantly elevated for women undergoing only one session of acupuncture on the ET day. However, when undergoing multiple acupuncture sessions, stress scores were significantly lower. As demonstrated by a dose-dependent effect, acupuncture appears to be a promising stress-lowering tool for women undergoing IVF.

Ovulation Induction

Acupuncture may adjust FSH, LH, and E2 (estrogen) and raise the progesterone level, bringing them to normal. The animal experiments confirmed this result. Results showed that acupuncture may adjust endocrine function of the generative and physiologic axis of women, thus stimulating ovulation.

Comparing Effectiveness of Acupuncture and Clomifene (Clomid or Serophene)

This study found that acupuncture is more effective than clomifene for the treatment of infertility. Clomifene, trademarked as Clomid, Serophene, or Omifin, is the most widely prescribed fertility drug on the market. It is an estrogen receptor modulator that induces ovulation. In this study the acupuncture group had a success rate of 65% and the clomifene group had a 45% success rate.

Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS)

Acupuncture reduces hyperandrogenism and improves menstrual frequency in PCOS.

Acupuncture normalizes levels of ovarian and adrenal sex serum levels and simultaneously increases ovulation frequency.


Acupuncture seems to have beneficial effects on live birth rate when performed on the day of ET, and to be useful also in PCOS as well as in male idiopathic infertility, with very low incidence of side effects.

Additional Articles about Acupuncture and Fertility

Stanford School of Medicine: Acupuncture lessons depression symptoms during pregnancy, study shows.

Acupuncture Today: Acupuncture Proven to Increase Chances of Getting Pregnant

American Fertility Association: Acupuncture, Stress, and In Vitro Fertilization

The Wall Street Journal: Decoding an Ancient Therapy

Acupuncture & Pregnancy


Pregnancy Complaints

The summarized findings indicated a small but growing body of acupuncture research, with some evidence suggesting a benefit from acupuncture to treat nausea in pregnancy. Findings from the review also highlighted promising evidence for the effectiveness of acupuncture to manage back and pelvic pain, acupuncture-type interventions to induce change in breech presentation, and pain relief in labor.

Morning Sickness

Acupuncture is an effective treatment for women who experience nausea and dry retching in early pregnancy.


Available studies suggest that acupuncture is at least as effective as, or possibly more effective than, prophylactic drug treatment, and has fewer adverse effects. Acupuncture should be considered a treatment option for patients willing to undergo this treatment.


Acupuncture stimulates milk secretion after childbirth and can be used to treat deficient lactation. It has been observed that acupuncture elevates the blood prolactin levels in women with deficient milk secretion after childbirth. Reported by: World Health Organization in a review of controlled clinical trials in 2003

Hu XC et al. [The influence of acupuncture on blood prolactin level in women with deficient lactation.] Shanghai Journal of Traditional Chinese Medicine, 1958, (12):557–558 [in Chinese].

Labor Induction

If induction of labor is desired, such as in prolonged pregnancy, the effect of acupuncture is comparable with that of oxytocin by intravenous drip. Reported by: World Health Organization in a review of controlled clinical trials in 2003.

Lin PC et al. [Observation of the effect of acupuncture and oxytocin intravenous perfusion for expediting labour.] Chinese Acupuncture and Moxibustion, 1992, 12(6):281–283 [in Chinese].

Depression During Pregnancy

Acupuncture protocol demonstrated symptom reduction and a response rate comparable to those observed in standard depression treatments of similar length and could be a viable treatment option for depression during pregnancy.

Emotional complaints are very common in pregnancy and medication is always a risk. In this study, acupuncture seems to be an efficacious means of reducing symptoms and improving the quality of life of women with emotional complaints during pregnancy.

Back Pain During Pregnancy

Activation of brain areas involved in pain perception was significantly reduced or modulated under acupuncture. During acupuncture, activation in most of these pain-processing areas of the brain was significantly reduced.­ /releases/2010/11/101130100357.htm

Abnormal Fetal Positioning

Five randomized studies evaluating the value of acupuncture in cases of breech presentation indicate that this method tended to be effective. The conclusion of the study was that acupuncture should be attempted in cases of breech presentation.

Massage Therapy


Depression & Pregnancy

Depressed pregnant women and their offspring can benefit from massage therapy.

Additional Articles About Massage Therapy

American Pregnancy Association: Prenatal Massage During Pregnancy

Mayo Clinic: Massage: Get in Touch with Its Many Health Benefits