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The use of acupuncture to improve the outcome of in vitro fertilisation (IVF) has become widespread over the past five years. Three of four randomised controlled trials (RCT) published since 2002 have shown that acupuncture significantly increases pregnancy rates. Although the research has a number of methodological limitations, it does strongly endorse the use of acupuncture during IVF. Protocols for IVF are complex, involving multiple phases with specific physiological aims. Correspondingly, acupuncture treatments before and during IVF need to be carefully considered in relation to the biomedical aspects that are being manipulated. This article summarises recent research in this area, and provides an explanation of the IVF process and associated acupuncture treatment guidelines.
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