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Infertility

Couples increasingly seeking out alternative infertility treatments such as acupuncture

Tuesday, August 24, 2010 by: David Gutierrez, staff writer
Tags: infertility, acupuncture, health news


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(NaturalNews) Alternative fertility treatments are becoming increasingly popular among certain segments of the U.S. population, according to a study conducted by researchers from the University of California-San Francisco and published in the journal Fertility and Sterility.

The researchers used interviews and questionnaires to follow 428 couples who were undergoing conventional fertility interventions at eight reproductive clinics in Northern California. Over the course of 18 months, the researchers found that 29 percent of study participants used at least one alternative fertility treatment.

Twenty-two percent of study participants used acupuncture, 17 percent used medicinal herbs and 1 percent used meditation. Another 5 percent used some form of body work therapy, such as massage or chiropractic.

Couples who failed to achieve pregnancy with conventional fertility treatments were almost 150 percent more likely to used alternative therapies than those who succeeded. The older a prospective mother was, the higher a couple's chance of using complementary treatments. Even after researchers adjusted for potential confounding factors such as the number of prior children or the use of other fertility treatments, use of alternative therapies increased 29 percent with every five years of the mother's age.

"We suggest that couples struggling to achieve pregnancy are more likely to seek out any treatment that offers hope," lead researcher James Smith said.

The researchers also found that couples with positive views on alternative therapies were 85 percent more likely to use them than couples with more negative views.

Wealth was also a major predictor of a couple's use of alternative therapies; couples with a combined income of more than $200,000 per year were almost three times more likely to use such therapies than couples with a combined yearly income below $100,000.

"Couples with higher incomes were more likely to have the financial resources to seek out [complementary therapies]," Smith said.

A single acupuncture visit in Northern California averages $100, Smith noted. While inexpensive compared to a $16,500 in-vitro fertility treatment, the cost may still place such therapies out of range of poorer couples.

Sources for this story include: http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSTRE62U4CF....

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