People often ask about research on acupuncture and pregnancy. Most of the published studies involve acupuncture and IVF, as opposed to acupuncture and natural pregnancy. But acupuncture helps promote fertility for natural pregnancy for the same reasons it helps in IVF (hormonal regulation and increased blood flow to reproductive organs).

Below is a sampling of some of the studies that have been done and published in peer reviewed and in some cases, Western Medical journals.

Auricular acupuncture in the treatment of female infertility:

Gerhard et al. Gynecol Endocrinol 1992 Sep 6(3): 171-81
This study showed that pregnancies were 28% higher in a group of women who received acupuncture versus those receiving hormonal therapy.

Effect of Acupuncture on rates of pregnancy and live birth among women undergoing in vitro fertilzation; systematic review and meta-analysis.

 Manheimer, E, Zhang G,Udoff ,et al. British Medical Journal. Published online February 2008.
Conclusion: Reviewers found that acupuncture given as a complement to IVF increased the odds of achieving pregnancy. 
See more information on this study.

Acupuncture on the day of embryo transfer significantly improves the reproductive outcome in infertile women :a prospective randomized trial:

Westergard, Fertility and Sterility 2006 Apr 4
Results showed a higher pregnancy rate for women who received acupuncture.

Influence of acupuncture stimulation on pregnancy rates for women undergoing embryo transfer: 

Smith C, Fertility and Sterility 2006 Apr 4
This study compared proper acupuncture points with “sham” acupuncture points with the result that the patients who received true points had a higher pregnancy rate than those who received “sham” acupuncture.

Influence of acupuncture  on the pregnancy rate in patients who undergo assisted reproductive therapy:

Paulus,et,al. Fertility and Sterility Vol: 77, No. 4, April  2002
This study showed that women undergoing acupuncture treatments using a specific protocol had higher pregnancy rates than women who did not receive acupuncture.

A Randomized, Double Blind Controlled Cross-Over Study Evaluating Acupuncture as an Adjunct to In-Vitro Fertilization.

Quintero et al. Fertility and Sterility. Vol: 81, Supplement 3, April, 2004.

This retrospective study found 180% increase in implantation rates, and a 60% increase in ongoing pregnancy rates.

Effect of acupuncture on the outcome of in vitro fertilization and intracytoplasmic sperm injection: a randomized, prospective, controlled clinical study.

Dieterle S,  Hatzmann, W, Neuer S, Ying G. Fertility and Sterility Vol. 85, No. 5, May 2006

Conclusion: Acupuncture has a positive effect on the outcome of IVF/ICSI

The pain relieving effect of electro-acupuncture and conventional medical analgesic methods  during oocyte retrieval; a systematic review of randomized controlled trial.

Stener-Victorin E. Human Reproduction  2004 Nov 11
This study showed that acupuncture worked as well as conventional pain medication during egg retrieval.

Interesting Research in Regard to Male Infertility

Effect of acupuncture on sperm parameters of males suffering from subfertility related to low sperm quality:

Siterman et al. Archives of Andrology. 2003, 39(2): 155-61  1997 Sep-Oct
This study demonstrated that acupuncture can increase both sperm quality and quantity.

Effects of acupuncture and moxa treatment in patients with semen abnormalities. 

Gurfinkel et al. Asian Journal of Andrology. 2003 Dec; 5(4): 345-8
This study showed that men receiving acupuncture had significant increases in the percent of sperm that were normal in shape.

Quantitative evaluation of spermatozoa ultrastructure after acupuncture treatment for idiopathic male infertility.

Pei J. et al. Fertility and Sterility 2005 Jul;84(1): 141-7.

Another study showing positive results in sperm quality after administration of acupuncture.