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06 July 2007
Women receiving IVF treatment could hinder their chances of conceiving by using complementary therapies, according to new research by Cardiff University.
A team led by Dr Jacky Boivin of the School of Psychology found that women who used acupuncture, reflexology and other alternative therapies whilst undergoing assisted reproduction were 20 per cent less likely to become pregnant than those who didn’t.
The research, carried out with the University of Copenhagen, was presented to the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology conference in Lyon, France by Dr Boivin.
"It looks as if complimentary therapies may not be as benign as we previously thought in the context of fertility treatment," said Dr Boivin. "For therapies that are biologically active such as herbal medicines, it could be that reduced the effectiveness of fertility drugs. It could also be that if someone is mixing and matching conventional and complimentary medicine that they are less committed and accurate in complying with the self injections and precise timings involved in IVF."
818 women from five Danish fertility clinics took part in the year long study, which explored whether women used complementary or alternative therapies (CATs) to reduce stress or increase their chances of getting pregnant.
"We hope that our study will provide a good basis for women to make a decision on whether or not to use CATs as compared with other available options," said Dr Boivin, who added that the next stage of the research will be to study the same group over a five year period.
Last year Dr Boivin won the Society for Reproductive and Infant Psychology Award for her "outstanding contribution to research and scholarship in the area of reproductive psychology."
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