About one in every seven couples in this country has trouble conceiving a child. Fortunately, there are infertility treatments to help, but doctors are always looking for new ways to improve on helping women get pregnant. Now, they've turned back in time to the ancient art of acupuncture.
Francesca Piotrowsky is having acupuncture done. But, what makes this unusual is the reason why.
"We became pregnant without IVF, miscarried early on, then we did our first cycle of IVF, became pregnant, and lost that pregnancy as well," Francesca said.
But, acupuncture may help her get pregnant again.
"Several years ago a group in Germany actually studied acupuncture and felt like they had higher implantation rates when they used acupuncture," Dr. Richard Scott, of reproductive medicine associates, said.
Implantation means embryos from in vitro fertilization, or IVF, are transferred into the womb where they attach to the uterine wall. Dr. Scott says acupuncture can aid the process.
"Western trained scientists have been able to demonstrate that when you do acupuncture that the uterus relaxes, contractions decrease, blood flow increases, and those are all changes that we consider more favorable," Dr. Scott said.
Three-year-old Zachary Kertesz is a success story his mom Doris chalks up to acupuncture.
"We did the acupuncture before transfer and after transfer, and, it worked!" Doris said.
Yet, none of this proves acupuncture is what makes the difference. So Dr. Scott is doing a study to compare women who get acupuncture during IVF, and women who don't. Even if acupuncture doesn't make the womb more receptive, it often has a secondary effect.
"I definitely feel more relaxed, the relaxation does last a couple days beyond the treatment," Francesca said.
Preliminary results of Dr. Scott's study show the acupuncture group is getting more successful embryo implantations.
But, acupuncture is not meant as a replacement for proven fertility treatments...only as a way to improve the pregnancy rate for IVF.Source: WHDH