Diagnostic indications of subfertility
Reasons for utilisation of assisted reproductive technology
With regard to the existing scientific evidence base of acupuncture alongside IVF, there has been a recognised need for preferably high-quality randomised controlled trials. For example, back in 2013 a Cochrane systematic review of twenty randomised controlled trials found that past historical clinical trials of acupuncture adjunct to assisted reproductive technology were all determined to be of low methodological quality.
As research developed over the years various problems with research processes as well as positive differences have been identified in the design components of randomised controlled trials and more recently the systematic review process.
For current up-to-date information regarding IVF or ICSI and acupuncture research please click here. Scientific research on acupuncture for IVF is currently classified as “inconclusive” in our view. This means that more research is required for integration and implementation into medical settings alongside “routine” care. Research does indicate that acupuncture treatment can help women to achieve a clinical pregnancy, live birth and is supportive for the emotional wellbeing of people experiencing subfertility.
Professional acupuncture should only really be provided to patients after an acupuncture consultation by a professional qualified acupuncturist that is a member of an appropriate regulatory organisation, and has postgraduate training in the field of fertility. In the UK the regulatory body for acupuncture is the British Acupuncture Council (BAcC). Acupuncture treatment should be dynamic in response to the patient’s case history, monitored for effect, modified accordingly, and reviewed. It is recommended if possible that patients are supported in other aspects of their medical treatment especially ensuring that this patient group is well informed about medical treatment decisions made on their behalf.
A public website aims to provide information in the fertility sector and is a good place to start to learn more about assisted reproductive medicine in the UK. It must be noted that some information regarding evidence base maybe out of date due to delay in updates, and .the nature of data collection. You can contact this authority direct through the freedoms of information act. Click here.
Research Recommendation Acupuncture for IVF/ICSI RCT
If you would like information on how to design a high-quality acupuncture intervention within a high-quality randomised controlled trial design contact Lianne Aquilina. Lianne has a Master of Science in Applied Health Research and produced a research proposal for a randomised controlled trial of acupuncture for IVF with the support of professors of research.