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Research: Infertility

December 2008
Changes in serum cortisol and prolactin associated with acupuncture during controlled ovarian hyperstimulation in women undergoing in vitro fertilization-embryo transfer treatment.
Journal: Fertility and Sterility; December 30, 2008.
Abstract: OBJECTIVE: To determine whether changes in serum cortisol (CORT) and PRL are affected by acupuncture (Ac) in Ac-treated IVF patients. DESIGN: Prospective cohort clinical study. SETTING: Private practice reproductive endocrinology and infertility clinic and private practice acupuncture consortium. PATIENT(S): Sixty-seven reproductive-age infertile women undergoing IVF. INTERVENTION(S): Blood samples were obtained from all consenting new infertility patients and serum CORT and serum PRL were obtained prospectively. Patients were grouped as controls (IVF with no Ac) and treated (IVF with Ac) according to acupuncture protocols derived from randomized controlled trials. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURE(S): Serum levels of CORT and PRL were measured and synchronized with medication stimulation days of the IVF cycle (e.g., day 2 of stimulation, day 3, etc.). Reproductive outcomes were collected according to Society for Assisted Reproductive Technology protocols, and results were compared between controls and those patients treated with Ac. RESULT(S): CORT levels in Ac group were significantly higher on IVF medication days 7, 8, 9, 11, 12, and 13 compared with controls. PRL levels in the Ac group were significantly higher on IVF medication days 5, 6, 7, and 8 compared with controls. CONCLUSION(S): In this study, there appears to be a beneficial regulation of CORT and PRL in the Ac group during the medication phase of the IVF treatment with a trend toward more normal fertile cycle dynamics.

June 2008

Traditional Chinese Medicine and Infertility
Journal: Current Opinions in Obstetrics and Gynecology, Volume 20, Issue 3, pages 211-215.
Abstract: PURPOSE OF REVIEW: The present review gives an overview of the potential use of traditional Chinese medicine in the treatment of infertility, including an evidence-based evaluation of its efficacy and tolerance. RECENT FINDINGS: Recent studies demonstrated that traditional Chinese medicine could regulate the gonadotropin-releasing hormone to induce ovulation and improve the uterus blood flow and menstrual changes of endometrium. In addition, it also has impacts on patients with infertility resulting from polycystic ovarian syndrome, anxiety, stress and immunological disorders. Although study design with adequate sample size and appropriate control for the use of traditional Chinese medicine is not sufficient, the effective studies have already indicated the necessity to explore the possible mechanisms, that is, effective dose, side effect and toxicity of traditional Chinese medicine, in the treatment of infertility by means of prospective randomized control trial. SUMMARY: The growing popularity of traditional Chinese medicine used alone or in combination with Western medicine highlights the need to examine the pros and cons of both Western and traditional Chinese medicine approaches. Integrating the principle and knowledge from well characterized approaches and quality control of both traditional Chinese medicine and Western medical approaches should become a trend in existing clinical practice and serve as a better methodology for treating infertility.

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