Objective: To assess the effects of using Chinese herbs in assisted reproductive technology.
Methods: Four hundred and thirty-three subjects aged less than 42 years with infertility due to Fallopian tube or male-related factors who were willing to undertake in vitro fertilization and embryo transplantation were randomly allocated to a Chinese herb intervention group (n = 216) or a conventional treatment control group (n = 217). All subjects received one of four routine ultra-ovulation-promoting therapies at the Reproductive Center in the Third Hospital Affiliated to Beijing University according to their physician's assessments. The subjects in the intervention group received various Chinese herbs depending on their conventional treatment. Endometrial thickness, number of acquired eggs, and rates of normal fertility, high-quality embryos, biochemical and clnical pregnancy of subjects were assessed in both groups.
Results: The high-quality embryo rate of 51.9%, biochemical pregnancy rate of 51.0%, clinical pregnancy rate of 44.2% and endometrial thickness of (10.84 +/- 1.75) mm in the intervention group were all significantly higher than those in the control group [48.7%, 38.9%, 34.8%, and (10.52 +/- 1.50) mm, respectively; P < 0.05]. The normal fertility rate of 58.5% in the Chinese herb group was also significantly superior to the 54.7% achieved in the control group (P < 0.01). There were no statistically significant differences (P > 0.05) in the average number of acquired eggs within a single cycle, incidence of excessive stimulation of ovary, rates of embryo transplantation or early abortion and birth of living babies between the two groups.
Conclusion: Our findings indicate that Chinese herbs increase endometrial thickness, improve the quality of fertility and embryo, and promote embryonic nidation, thus enhancing the success rate of in vitro fertilization/intracytoplasmic sperm injection-embryo transplantation cycle. Using Chinese herbs improves the outcomes and safety of assisted reproductive technologies.