Pacific Wellness Institute Clinic: Bloor-Yorkville Toronto

Treatment of infertility by acupuncture and breathing exercise: Part 6 Summary of pregnancy outcomes

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Treatment of Infertility by Acupuncture According to Circalunar and Cardiac Variability Rhythms

Tim H. Tanaka, Ph.D. Director, The Pacific Wellness Institute, Toronto, Ontario, Canada Visiting Research Fellow, School of Health Sciences, Tsukuba University of Technology, Japan

A part of this paper was presented at WFAS International Acupuncture Congress, cosponsored by World Health Organization, in Beijing, China, Oct. 2007.

Page updated on January 31, 2008

Summary of outcomes between January 2004 and December 2005

A growing number of patients visited our clinic seeking acupuncture for their fertility difficulties.  Administrative and basic medical records of patients were managed by Microsoft Access database.  Data of female patients with their ongoing fertility concerns, who visited our facility between January 2004 and December 2005, were extracted from the database, and then each patient’s file was further examined.  Patients who received at least two acupuncture treatments were included for further analysis.  Most of the acupuncture sessions were provided by the author who has obtained acupuncture training and licensing in Japan, and who has had over 20 years of clinical experience.

For patients who received acupuncture during their IVF cycle, outcomes were evaluated by sending a letter requesting the outcome of a pregnancy test. For all other patients attempting to conceive either naturally, assisted with hormone administration or with intrauterine insemination (IUI), outcomes were determined by volunteer self-reporting following pregnancy or post term. Self-reporting included contact through telephone calls, letters, and visits to the clinic.

Analysis of these patients showed a total of 76 pregnancies.  Among those, 34 were naturally occurring pregnancies, 12 were through IUI, and 30 were through IVF procedures. In 13 out of 76 (17 %) total pregnancy cases, some male partner abnormality was reported (i.e.: low sperm count, low motility, poor morphology, high DNA fragmentation, etc.).  17 out of the 59 (29%) total non-pregnancy cases reported male abnormality. The average age at the first visit for the pregnancy group was 35.9±4.1; whereas for the non-pregnancy group it was 35.6±3.7. The mean number of acupuncture treatments received prior to first pregnancy was 9.7±5.7 (3-27 visits) for natural, 15.3±7.4 (6-32 visits) for IUI, and 15.8±8.4 (2-36 visits) for IVF.

34 natural pregnancy cases (Patients who conceived without assisted reproductive therapies) were confirmed through self initiative reporting by patients (ie: visit to the clinic, telephone, e-mail, etc.).  Except for 4 cases, in which patients were taking either follicle-stimulating hormones and/or progesterone during the pregnancy cycle, all other natural pregnancy cases achieved conception without any fertility drugs.  There was 1 case in which the patient became pregnant in the following menstrual cycle after treatment was ceased.  In all other cases (n=33), patients received acupuncture during the pregnancy cycle.   There were 2 patients who became pregnant twice (both carried to term following an initial miscarriage), and one patient who became pregnant three times (2 miscarriages, status of 3rd pregnancy unknown) during the study period.

Many of the patients had underlying gynecological or hormonal related conditions which potentially interfered with conception (ie endometriosis, an elevated prolactin level, hypothyroidism, fallopian tube obstruction, an elevated day 3 FSH level, autoimmune disorders, PCOS, etc.).  Ten out of 34 patients who became pregnant naturally had some kind of pre-existent fertility condition (29%), as compared to 6 out of 13 patients who did not conceive had underlying conditions (46%).

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