Infertility is generally defined as an inability to conceive after a year or more of regular sexual activity without using birth control. Women who can get pregnant but are unable to stay pregnant are also said to be infertile.
The new report from the CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics tracked US fertility problems from 1982 through 2010. They found that six percent of married women aged 15 to 44, about 1.5 million women, were considered infertile and10.9 percent of women ages 15-44, about 6.7 million women, had impaired fecundity.
Acupuncture might not be the first thing you think of if you’re having a problem with infertility, but maybe it should be. Studies – and a great deal of clinical experience – suggest that it is one of the safest and most effective treatments for infertility known to modern science, even if you’re already undergoing conventional treatments, like in vitro fertilization or intrauterine insemination.
Today, IVF became the preferred infertility intervention because lab controls minimized infections, the biological status of the newborn was less questionable, and the occasional donor pregnancy was eliminated. But the success rate of IVF alone is not so great, around 20 percent, and it is expensive. Most health insurance plans won’t cover it.
However, TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine) has quietly been establishing efficacy at increasing fertility in both men and women. This has come to the attention of the western medical scientific community, which must “prove” empirically established procedures by randomized double blind testing.
Alternative fertility treatments are becoming increasingly popular among the US 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 use 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.
How does acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine help infertility?
Increases the blood flow to the ovaries to nourish the developing follicles and create better egg quality and a stronger embryo
Increases blood flow to the testicles for improved sperm quality to optimize the male’s contribution to embryo quality
Regulates the body’s natural hormonal production which in turn improves ovarian function, egg quality, and proper hormone levels and relaxes the body and reduces stress levels to improve reproductive function
Best of all, traditional Chinese medicine for infertility is truly a “whole person” treatment that looks at the woman as much more than just a dysfunctional reproductive system.
Whether you are planning to use high tech fertility treatments, or take the more natural approach, acupuncture and Chinese herbs can increase your chances of achieving a pregnancy and taking home a healthy baby.