A recent study from the European Journal of Integrative Medicine showed that TCM treatments (individualized acupuncture and customized Chinese herbal formulas ) improved pregnancy rates and live births in women undergoing intrauterine inseminations (IUI) at the Fertility Research Institute in the Tel Aviv Sourasky Medical Center. As the first published study to evaluate the influence of acupuncture and herbs on IUI treatments, this was ground-breaking research. And the outcomes were pretty significant and impressive!
I was so happy to see that rather than just administering a “cookbook” standardized acupuncture point prescription on every patient like we’ve seen in so many acupuncture/ IVF transfer studies, this study used custom Chinese herb formulas and acupuncture treatments in conjunction with artificial insemination. This approach is much more real-life in terms of reflecting how Chinese medicine is actually practiced. Any experienced TCM fertility specialist knows that coming up with an accurate TCM diagnosis and treatment plan and basing acupuncture and herbal prescriptions on that diagnosis is what determines patient improvement and positive pregnancy outcomes. The outcomes of this study were pretty impressive. Pregnancy rates in the acupuncture/herb group were 65.5% vs. only 39.4% in the control group (IUI with no TCM treatment). The live birth rate was also higher in the TCM group (41.4% vs. 26.9%). It was also pointed out that the average age in the TCM study group was 39 years vs. an average age of 37 in the control group.
If you’d like to read more, here’s a link to the entire study. Hopefully, as we have seen clinically, more outcome studies like this will be published to validate the efficacy of TCM interventions in the treatment of infertility.