Acupuncture for Infertility in Women with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome: What Does It Add?

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Abstract

Acupuncture is a nonpharmacological therapy to induce ovulation in women with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), but not until recently there has been a study reporting the live birth rate following ovulation induction by acupuncture or its potential as an adjuvant to pharmacological ovulation induction. Clomiphene citrate, the first-line treatment for ovulation induction in women with PCOS, was twice as effective at achieving live birth, with no effect of acupuncture alone or in combination with clomiphene. Thus, the findings from the recent randomized control trial do not support acupuncture as an infertility treatment, alone or in combination, in women with PCOS. The recent trial has important clinical implications not only for women with PCOS with an active wish for pregnancy but also for those with no active wish of pregnancy, as acupuncture induces ovulation to a higher degree than no treatment and also relieves other PCOS-related symptoms. This narrative review dissects possible mechanism of action of acupuncture on reproductive function, it discusses stimulation parameters, it discusses the recent findings on live birth, and it also discusses the control situation in potential future acupuncture trials.

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