An analysis of seven scientific trials has shown that acupuncture increases the chance of success during in vitro fertilization (IVF).
In a study by researchers at the University of Maryland School of Medicine and the VU University Amsterdam it was found that acupuncture applied at the same time the embryo was placed inside the womb during an IVF procedure more than doubled the chance of the woman becoming pregnant.
The analysis involve 1,366 women of different ages who had difficulty conceiving; some of the women underwent acupuncture, while others were given fake needle treatments or no therapy.
The researchers found that those who received acupuncture increased their chances of conceiving by 65 percent.
While the study does not clearly explain how the acupuncture aided fertility, experts suggest it could be due to the relaxing effect of acupuncture on the extremely stressful IVF procedure.
When compared with repeated expensive fertility treatment cycles acupuncture therapy offers a cheaper and more successful alternative.
Australia has unlimited government reimbursement for IVF and in Australia about 3 per cent of births are through IVF, three times the level in the U.S. and the UK.
This year 10,000 IVF babies will be born, and 4 per cent of all births in 2007 were IVF; one in six Australian couples experience infertility along with 80 million couples worldwide.
In the UK one percent of births or 11,000 babies out of 32,000 IVF procedures are born every year.
Lead researcher Eric Manheimer from the University of Maryland School of Medicine's Center for Integrative Medicine, says acupuncture has been used in China for years to boost the fertility level of women and is now being taken more seriously in the west.