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Acupuncture comes to the rescue of childless couples.

WOMEN who have failed to conceive despite continued in vitro fertilisation ( IVF) now have some hope -- acupuncture.

Though the initial treatment includes acupuncture followed by IVF two months later, there are cases where the women did not require IVF. Ritu Sobti, 38, failed to conceive till after seven years of marriage. She had undergone five IVFs at various clinics but failed to conceive. It was then that she opted for acupuncture at Sir Ganga Ram Hospital.

Three months later, she conceived normally and gave birth to a baby girl, Mannat, in January 2008.

" At the time of delivery, the doctor said I would need to undergo a caesarean section. But I was administered acupuncture inside the labour room and within half- an- hour, I had a normal delivery," Sobti added.

She is not the only one to have benefited from acupuncture. Mamta Tiwari failed to conceive after four IVF cycles.

She conceived soon after undergoing acupuncture treatment.

More than 50 IVF procedures have proved to be successful at Sir Ganga Ram Hospital. Last year, the hospital's acupuncture department started treating those who had gone for IVF. " Eight out of 10 cases have shown positive results," said Dr Sunita Kapur, an acupuncturist at the hospital.

A study published in the British Medical Journal few years ago had stated that acupuncture, in tandem with fertility treatment, could increase the chances of conception by 65 per cent. " Here, it has increased the chances of pregnancy to 80 per cent. We encourage only those patients who have failed to conceive despite many IVF attempts," said Kapur.

According to the western studies, acupuncture boosts the IVF process by influencing the levels of pituitary and ovarian hormones. Experts claim electroacupuncture may help improve blood flow in the uterine arteries in patients. " The possible effect of acupuncture in IVF procedure is it may serve to relax the uterus around the time of the transfer. Several studies have also shown that the uterus has contractions which could cause expulsion of the transferred IVF embryos. If the contractions were reduced by acupuncture then it could improve IVF pregnancy rate," said Dr Kapur.

Many other private hospitals like Max Healthcare, Apollo and Fortis have also started using acupuncture on requests by patients.

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Publication:Mail Today (New Delhi, India)
Date:Dec 24, 2009
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