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Aliza Zisman, L.Ac, NCCAOM

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ACUPUNCTURE, STRESS AND FERTILITY; Auricular Acupressure Reduces Anxiety Levels and Improves Outcomes of inVitro Fertilization

Fan Qu et al, Sci Rep Nature, (2014), 4, Article number: 5028

Scientific Reports, Nature Publishing

300 women who were doing IVF due to blocked tubes, were randomised into groups that received stimulation to auricular acupuncture points (small seeds were taped onto 3 points related to nervous system or ovary and uterus function) or to sham points or no treatment. The women in the active treatment group had a markedly higher pregnancy rate than did those in the sham or control groups. Additionally they reported less stress and anxiety.


The study was to explore whether auricular acupressure (AA) can relieve anxiety during the period from trans-vaginal oocyte retrieval to the embryo transfer in IVF treatment and whether AA can improve the outcomes of IVF. 305 infertile patients with tubal blockage who were referred for IVF were included. The women were randomized into a control group with 102 cases, a Sham-AA group with 102 cases and an AA group with 101 cases. The anxiety levels were rated with Spielberger’s State Trait Anxiety Inventory and the Amsterdam Preoperative Anxiety and Information Scale. Data of clinical pregnancy rate (CPR), implantation rate (IR) and live birth rate (LBR) were obtained. The levels of neuropeptide Y (NPY) and transforming growth factor alpha (TGF-alpha) in the follicular fluids were detected with ELISA. After treatment, in AA group, the levels of state anxiety, preoperative anxiety and need-for-information were significantly lower, whereas CPR, IR, LBR and NPY levels in the follicular fluids were markedly higher than Sham-AA group and control group. We concluded that AA could help to reduce anxiety levels associated with IVF and improves the outcomes of IVF partly through increasing the levels of NPY in the follicular fluids.

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