At CFA-Italy our experience of using acupuncture with conventional assisted procreation techniques began in 2003, when we introduced a protocol with two acupuncture sessions on the day of transfer, one immediately before and one after embryo transfer. The idea of this "same day" treatment was sparked by a German publication, which indicated a significant increase in the percentage of pregnancy in a group of women undergoing FIVET plus acupuncture compared to a control group.
The German protocol, to which we always associate abdominal breathing, uses acupuncture points and auriculopunture which, according to the principles of Chinese Traditional Medicine, relax the uterus and increase blood flow so favouring conditions for embryo implantation. We also observed, and this is supported by the literature, acupuncture also induces a precious psychic action that is manifest with an increased control of anxiety and emotions as well as through increased self-esteem and better mood. More recently, we have introduced custom pre-FIVET acupuncture protocols consisting of mono / bi-weekly sessions at least one month before FIVET.
This second protocol, apart from the psychic aspects, aims to improve the quality of the oocytes produced and to bring plasma cortisol and prolactin levels closer to those in naturally cycles.
Manheimer et al. Effects of acupuncture on rates of pregnancy and live birth among women undergoing in vitro fertilization: systematic review and meta analysis BMJ February 7, 2008 on line.
Domar et al. The impact of acupuncture on in vitro fertilization outcome. Fertil Steril 2009 Mar 91 (3): 723-726.
Magerelli et al. Changes in serum cortisol and prolactin associated with acupuncture during controlled ovarian hyperstimulation in women undergoing in vitro fertilization-embryo transfer treatment. Fertil Steril 2009 Dec 92 (6): 1870-1879.
Dieterle et al. A prospective randomized placebo-controlled study of the effect of acupuncture in infertile patients with severe oligoasthenozoospermia. Fertil Steril. 2009 Oct. 92 (4): 1340-1343.