One of the trials that investigated the effect of acupuncture on IVF pregnancy rates also collected data on the subjective experience of these women. The authors write “acupuncture patients reported significantly less anxiety post-transfer and reported feeling more optimistic about their cycle and enjoyed their sessions more than the control subjects.” Domar said nobody knows how exactly acupuncture might boost IVF success, although she suggests that it has something to do with a woman's mental state at the time of embryo transfer.
This qualitative study found that most women who had acupuncture as an adjunct to IVF treatment reported increased well-being, reduced anxiety, and an increase in capacity to cope with the stresses of IVF and infertility treatments.
Aim: There is interest in the use of acupuncture as an adjunct to fertility treatment. This study aimed to examine women's attitudes and beliefs in relation to the use of acupuncture for enhancing fertility or as an adjunct to ART.
Resilience is an interesting and important concept when applied to couples doing IVF. Studies of acupuncture involving women dealing with chronic health issues have shown that women experienced relief of presenting symptoms but also increases in energy, increase in relaxation and calmness, reduction in the reliance of prescription drugs (such as analgesics), quicker healing from surgery, and increased self-awareness and well-being.
This paper, which was included above amongst those describing the embryo transfer trials, also investigated cortisol and anxiety levels before and after acupuncture was administered at precise points with either needles which penetrate the skin or "placebo" needles which prick the points but do not penetrate. No matter how the acupuncture was administered, cortisol and perceived anxiety were significantly reduced after the treatment.