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The use of complementary and alternative fertility treatments

Weiss, Dana Aa; Harris, Catherine Ra; Smith, James Fa,b

Current Opinion in Obstetrics and Gynecology: June 2011 - Volume 23 - Issue 3 - p 195–199
doi: 10.1097/GCO.0b013e3283455246
Fertility: Edited by Aydin Arici

Purpose of review Complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) is widely used for the treatment of infertility; however, few reviews have evaluated the quality of evidence underlying the use of CAM fertility treatments. This review summarizes and evaluates the evidence underlying the use of these therapies for male and female infertility.

Recent findings A wide range of CAM treatments are used by subfertile couples. Their use depends upon the region studied and the type of fertility problems encountered. Acupuncture, the most commonly used CAM fertility treatment in the USA, has the most literature-based support. Few randomized trials have been performed to evaluate other CAM fertility treatments.

Summary CAM is used commonly to treat infertility; however, additional high-quality studies need to be conducted to demonstrate the safety and effectiveness of these therapies before clear recommendations can be made by physicians about their safety and effectiveness.

aDepartment of Urology, USA

bDepartment of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Sciences, University of California, San Francisco, California, USA

Correspondence to James F. Smith, MD, MS, 1600 Divisadero, Box 1695, San Francisco, CA 94143, USA Tel: +1 415 885 3694; e-mail:

© 2011 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.