The objective was to perform a large, well-powered trial to assess the benefit of laser acupuncture (LA) on in vitrofertilization (IVF) success. Utilization of LA as a treatment allowed improvement of control groups used in prior studies, because there was no possibility of the potentially confounding effect of acupressure, noted in prior studies with blunt-tip controls.
Materials and Methods:
This was a four-arm, randomized controlled trial conducted at two private-practice fertility centers on couples who were attempting conception through IVF between June 2005 and January 2008. Following ovarian stimulation and oocyte retrieval, patients were randomized to needle acupuncture (NA), LA, sham LA (SLA), and no treatment (NT) groups.
Main Outcome Measures:
The primary outcome measure was implantation rate (IR). Secondary outcomes included clinical pregnancy rate (CPR) and live birth rate (LBR).
LA resulted in the highest IR among the 4 randomization groups (LA: 33.7% versus NA: 28.9% versus SLA: 26.8% versus NT: 24.9%; P = 0.02). When compared directly to SLA, LA resulted in a significantly higher IR (odds ratio: 1.38; 95% confidence interval: 1.05–1.81; P = 0.02). There were no significant differences among the groups for CPR or LBR, although the study was not powered to detect these differences.
LA at the time of embryo transfer improves IR. This was the first trial evaluating the use of LA in the context of IVF. Utilization of LA allowed the unique opportunity to examine the benefits of acupuncture in IVF against a truly inert control group.
Authors: Morin Scott J., Frattarelli John L., Franasiak Jason M., Juneau Caroline R., and Scott Richard T. Jr., published in Medical Acupuncture. April 2017, Vol. 29, No. 2: 56-65