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, 6 (2), 51

Treating Female Infertility and Improving IVF Pregnancy Rates With a Manual Physical Therapy Technique


Treating Female Infertility and Improving IVF Pregnancy Rates With a Manual Physical Therapy Technique

Belinda F Wurn et al. MedGenMed.


Context: Infertility and pregnancy.

Objective: To assess the effectiveness of site-specific manual soft tissue therapy in (1) facilitating natural fertility and (2) improving in vitro fertilization (IVF) pregnancy rates in women with histories indicating abdominopelvic adhesion formation.

Design and intervention: Pursuant to 2 promising pilot studies, 53 infertile, premenopausal patients received a 10- to 20-hour series of site-specific manual physical therapy treatments. Seventeen patients hoped to achieve a natural pregnancy; 36 planned to undergo IVF within 15 months. The primary criteria for inclusion in the studies were the inability to conceive following a minimum of 12 months of unprotected intercourse and suspected or confirmed pelvic adhesions due to abdominal and/or pelvic surgery, infectious or inflammatory disease (eg, endometriosis, PID), or trauma. Treatments were specifically designed to address biomechanical dysfunctions of the pelvis, sacrum, and coccyx and restricted soft tissue and visceral mobility due to adhesions or microadhesions affecting the reproductive organs and adjacent structures.

Main outcome measures: (1) Natural fertility group: pregnancy within 1 year of therapy and subsequent full-term delivery; (2) Pre-IVF group: pregnancy (via transfer of fresh embryos from nondonor eggs) within 15 months of the last manual treatment date.

Results: Natural fertility group: Of the 14 patients available for follow-up (ages 25 to 44; mean, 33.5 years), 10 (71.4%) became pregnant within 1 year, and 9 (64.3%) reported full-term deliveries. Three of the 9 women who delivered reported a subsequent pregnancy, suggesting that the treatment protocol might have lasting effects. Two women have had a second live birth delivery; and the third is still pregnant. Pre-IVF group: Of the 25 patients available for follow-up (ages 28 to 44; mean, 36 years), clinical pregnancies were documented in 22 of 33 embryo transfers vs the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) 2001 age-adjusted expected number of 12.7 (P < .001). The estimated odds ratio for a successful pregnancy in a cycle (manual treatment: no treatment) is 3.20 (95% confidence interval = 1.55-8.4).

Conclusions: The data trend across these studies suggests that this innovative site-specific protocol of manual soft-tissue therapy facilitates fertility in women with a wide array of adhesion-related infertility and biomechanical reproductive organ dysfunction. The therapy, designed to improve function by restoring visceral, osseous, and soft-tissue mobility, is a nonsurgical, noninvasive manual technique with no risks and few, if any, adverse side effects or complications. As such, it should be considered a new adjunct to existing medical infertility treatments.


Figure 1
Figure 1
Pretreatment HSG for a 34-year-old woman: bilateral tubal occlusion with left hydrosalpinx. Diagnosis was consistent with pretreatment laparoscopy and laparotomy.
Figure 2
Figure 2
Posttreatment HSG: persistent hydrosalpinx with increased migration of the dye in the left tube; free spillage of contrast via the right tube.

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