Beginning a family or adding to one can be a time of joy for some and a time of frustration and stress for others. The current medical definition of infertility is inability to conceive or carry a pregnancy to term after 12 months of trying to conceive. The ability to conceive relies on good reproductive health in both women & men and includes being able to partake in good nutrition, having proper hormone regulation as well as stable emotional health. For many people, one or more of these areas may need some support in order to conceive and deliver a healthy child.
While there is a wide variety of conventional treatment (prescription drugs, surgery to repair conception-related health problems, assisted related reproductive therapies – ART – including IUI, ICSI, etc.), safe & effective natural approaches to infertility can be successful when used alone or in conjunction with many conventional treatments.1 Studies have shown an increase in ART effectiveness when combined with Chinese Medicine which includes acupuncture & herbs.2 This 3,000 year old medical approach is often a good choice for infertility because it not only treats fertility challenges in both men & women but it is also a safe treatment for pregnancy-related conditions once conception occurs as it will not harm the baby.
In cases of female infertility, the focus is the woman’s menstrual cycle. An acupuncturist/herbalist can address problems associated with the first half of the menstrual cycle (ovulatory phase) such as the improper balance of reproductive hormones, an irregular cycle, blockages or scaring and abnormal egg production. Problems association with the second half of the cycle (luteal phase) like LPD can also be treated to help to build a healthy uterine lining for implantation & decrease the chances of miscarriage. It also effective for PMS symptoms and can build a better mood.
For men, acupuncture & herbs can address problems such as low sperm count, abnormal sperm shape and size (morphology), reduced sperm movement (motility) and abnormal liquefaction. Research has suggested that sperm counts and sperm quality may have decreased in the past half century due to sperm’s sensitivity to heat, environmental toxins, diet, drugs and stress.3 Acupuncture is a safe & non-invasive way to optimize sperm production and quality, resolve or reduce mechanical blockages, re-regulate hormonal factors and reduce stress.
Finally, a word about “unexplained infertility”. Sources suggest that a high percentage of all infertility cases fall into this category. While it means conventional medicine cannot locate a problem, it is not necessarily the case for acupuncturists & herbalists because Chinese Medicine treats the whole person & each treatment is crafted specifically for the individual patient. This ensures a healthy & balanced approach that can pave the way for optimal reproductive health. Our Chinese Medicine staff is knowledgeable & supportive and would be happy to help you with your reproductive health.
1 American Pregnancy Association
2 International Journal Women’s Health. 2014; 6: 313–325.
3 Mayo Clinic Foundation for Education & Research
Infertility, Acupuncture, and IVF: Acupuncture has also revealed itself to be effective in supporting other “mainstream” assisted reproductive procedures. In such cases, acupuncture may be used directly to help facilitate hormonal balance, ovulation, egg maturation, etc., or indirectly to reduce anxiety and stress, restore the body’s natural balance, and to help support overall wellness and somatic-emotional equilibrium. For women using fertility medications, acupuncture may reduce side effects and help purify the body of associated pharmaceutical toxins, thus further improving the odds that assisted reproductive procedures will work.
> Stages and Phases of Ovulation
> Holistic & Herbal Approaches Fertility
> Pregnancy: Herbs to Avoid and Herbs