TUESDAY, May 15, 2018 (HealthDay News) — For women undergoing in vitro fertilization (IVF), acupuncture at the time of ovarian stimulation and embryo transfer is not associated with a significant difference in live birth rate compared with sham acupuncture, according to a study published in the May 15 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Caroline A. Smith, Ph.D., from Western Sydney University, and colleagues conducted a randomized clinical trial involving 848 women undergoing a fresh IVF cycle conducted at 16 IVF centers in Australia and New Zealand. Women were randomly allocated to receive acupuncture or a sham acupuncture control in a 1:1 ratio. Treatments were administered between days six to eight of follicle stimulation, and prior to and following embryo transfer.

Data on live birth outcomes were available for 809 women. The researchers found that live births occurred in 18.3 and 17.8 percent of women receiving acupuncture and sham control, respectively (risk difference, 0.5 percent [95 percent confidence interval, −4.9 to 5.8 percent]; relative risk, 1.02 [95 percent confidence interval, 0.76 to 1.38]).

“Among women undergoing IVF, administration of acupuncture versus sham acupuncture at the time of ovarian stimulation and embryo transfer resulted in no significant difference in live birth rates,” the authors write. “These findings do not support the use of acupuncture to improve the rate of live births among women undergoing IVF.”

One author disclosed financial ties to the pharmaceutical industry; several authors disclosed ties to fertility clinics and a fertility company.

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