The British Fertility Society recently changed its guidelines on acupuncture following an announcement that it had found no evidence that acupuncture could aid fertility. Every day BAcC members treat patients who are struggling to conceive, often with very positive results. Here is the BAcC's response:
The British Acupuncture Council (BAcC) is aware of the research presented by The British Fertility Society today and is somewhat surprised at the findings especially as they seem to contradict a lot of the research previously published in this area.
There has been significant research* which has found that acupuncture treatment can have a positive affect on those trying for a baby and can actually aid the conception process.
Fertility focused acupuncture treatment has been found to help increase blood flow to the reproductive organs, balance hormone levels, regulate the menstrual cycle and help improve the lining of the uterus and quality of eggs released. Additionally, conditions such as polycystic ovaries and endometriosis have also been shown to improve with acupuncture.
BAcC practitioners recognise that there are many factors which may cause infertility such as stress, irregular hormone levels and disrupted menstrual cycles. As a holistic therapy, acupuncture helps to identify underlying health issues which may cause disruption to the body's natural balance, resulting in symptoms such as infertility.
Many BAcC registered practitioners have experienced positive results with their fertility patients when conventional methods alone have not been successful: Zita West, practicing midwife and acupuncturist, BAcC member and founder of the Zita West fertility clinic in London offers acupuncture treatments to her patients as one of the treatments which may improve the chances of conception.
'Many women we see at the clinic who have experienced IVF both with and without acupuncture frequently report that they are convinced that acupuncture made a difference.'
For further information about the British Acupuncture Council, visit www.acupuncture.org.uk
Previous studies have proved the effectiveness of acupuncture for infertility.
1. A 2008 study published in the British Medical Journal found that acupuncture given with embryo transfer can improve rates of pregnancy by 65% in women undergoing in vitro fertilisation (IVF).
2. A 2005 study conducted by Shanghai University in China found that acupuncture also helped treat male infertility. Of the men who participated, those who had acupuncture had an increased percentage of sperm in their semen; their sperm structure and morphology was also healthier than their counterparts who did not undergo acupuncture infertility treatment.
3. A 2004 study conducted by the Reproductive Medicine and Fertility Center in Colorado found that 51% of women who underwent both IVF and acupuncture treatment at the same time became pregnant, while only 36% of those who only underwent IVF did. The latter group also had higher rates of miscarriage and stillbirth (20%) compared to those women who had received acupuncture (8%).
4. A report published in the journal Fertility and Sterility (2002) found the pregnancy rate in the group receiving acupuncture group was 42.5%, compared to the group which did not receive the therapy, where the rate was 26.3%.
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