The “Paulus” study from 2002 demonstrated that acupuncture performed in the IVF clinic before and after an embryo transfer increased pregnancy rates. There have been many attempts to recreate the “Paulus” protocol around embryo transfer using the same or similar acupuncture points. Some were able to reproduce and some failed.
There are known reasons for failures. One is that they compare to “sham acupuncture”. There is no “sham acupuncture” as it will still have effects on outcome. “Sham acupuncture” is not the equivalent of taking a ‘sugar pill’. Acupuncture should only be compared with a no acupuncture group not a fake acupuncture.
Another failure is how the statistics were evaluated. In one case the number of pregnancies did not increase, but the number of live births did increase.
A recent systematic review concluded that “…acupuncture may be effective when compared with no adjunctive treatment…[leading to] increased clinical pregnancies”. This study looked at all the available randomized control studies where acupuncture was administered during an IVF cycle. You can download the complete review study here.
However, acupuncture is just one branch of Chinese Medicine and there is a lot more than can be done to increase your fertility chances as well as improve your health. A comprehensive combination of Acupuncture, Chinese Medicinal herbs, and Lifestyle has been shown to help increase live births. There is a reason one is not getting pregnant and correcting the imbalances will lead to a healthier pregnancy and offspring.