Because I’ve found Traditional Chinese Medicine to be so useful, studies like these make me notice.
In summary, a review of 4,000 cases found that acupuncture only benefited those at IVF clinics with a success rate lower than average. It concluded the article, however, by saying:
“While the scientific debate continues, it is perhaps useful to note that no study has revealed any negative side effects of acupuncture used with IVF, and the cost of acupuncture is negligible compared to the cost of IVF.”
This statement bothers me because acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) weren’t being reviewed for their affect on infertility by itself, but simply how the acupuncture portion of TCM impacts IVF success rates. The writer somehow shifts gears alluding to acupuncture as an alternative to IVF even though that’s NOT what the ENTIRE article is about. The article in whole discusses needle therapy in conjunction with IVF. It does not delve into other aspects of TCM like herbs, nor does it explain that those are options and often integral to the success of acupuncture. Since herbs aren’t recommended during stims (according to my RE, many of your REs, and other research I’ve done) it makes sense why they haven’t been studied in conjunction with IVF. But I find it unfortunate that the bulk of mainstream literature available about TCM comes across in articles like these. I’m especially bothered by that because I’m convinced by my own experience that the herbal portion of TCM can be especially helpful, especially for women like me with endo AND infertility. Many people use the term “acupunture” to describe TCM which perpetuates an understanding that TCM is simply the use of needles on the body aka acupuncture. There’s much more to TCM including, but not limited to, diet changes, herbs, lifestyle changes, and even meditation. Acupuncture alone might not directly relate to IVF success rates as was demonstrated here, but I hope that ladies grappling with infertility and/or endo problems don’t let this article turn them off from TCM all together. After 15 years dealing with endo pain so horrendous I was hospitalized on several occasions, daily home brewed herbs AND acupuncture have made all the difference.
Here’s a link to the full article: