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05-12-2010 | Gynaecology | Article

Research reveals fertility acupuncture trends in UK


Journal abstract

MedWire News: The results of a UK survey show that over half of acupuncture practitioners have postgraduate acupuncture and fertility training, and that the majority of their fertility work relates to assisted conception.

"IVF is attractive to acupuncture researchers because the intervention can be standardized and delivered over a very short timescale," say Ava Lorenc and colleagues from Thames Valley University in Brentford, Middlesex.

Among 861 acupuncture practitioners who responded to questionnaires, 15 percent felt that supporting fertility issues constituted a large proportion of their case load.

"This is a new development for a UK profession with no formal system of specialist postgraduate training or certification," note Lorenc et al.

In all, 62 percent of practitioners who had postgraduate training received it from practitioners regarded as experts in the field of fertility. Some "questioned whether practitioners without such training should work in this area," remark the researchers.

Practitioners believed that acupuncture was most suitable for concerns such as problematic menstrual cycles (25.1 percent), unexplained fertility (21.2 percent), stress (16.2 percent), and IVF (15.4 percent).

Almost 80 percent of patients presenting with fertility concerns combined acupuncture with conventional assisted conception (IVF).

"There is debate within the profession about the extent, nature, and provision of specialist fertility training, and under what circumstances it may become a formal requirement for practice," conclude Lorenc and co-authors.

MedWire ( is an independent clinical news service provided by Current Medicine Group, a trading division of Springer Healthcare Limited. © Springer Healthcare Ltd; 2010

By Sarah Guy