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Comment & Response
October 2, 2018

Acupuncture for Women Undergoing In Vitro Fertilization

Author Affiliations
  • 1Knox Chinese Healing and Myotherapy, Victoria, Australia
JAMA. 2018;320(13):1384-1385. doi:10.1001/jama.2018.10542

To the Editor In a randomized clinical trial of women undergoing in vitro fertilization (IVF), acupuncture did not improve live birth rates, compared with sham acupuncture, and the authors concluded: “These findings do not support the use of acupuncture to improve the rate of live births among women undergoing IVF.”1 However, the treatment protocol was too short to draw such a conclusion. The study involved only 3 sessions of acupuncture (each for 25 minutes), the first between days 6 and 8 of ovarian stimulation, the second 1 hour before embryo transfer, and the third immediately after embryo transfer on the day of the IVF procedure. In addition to the short length of acupuncture intervention, 36.1% of the participants did not complete the full course of acupuncture treatment during the trial. Noncompliance may reduce the power of a study.2 A previous randomized clinical trial used a similar short length of treatment and found no statistically significant difference in pregnancy rate for women undergoing IVF or intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) treated with acupuncture vs sham acupuncture.3 The short treatment length and poor completion rate in this study are likely to have minimized any potentially positive effect of acupuncture.

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