Fertility Today

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) consists of acupuncture and herbal therapy to treat and prevent disease. This effective form of medicine has been practiced by almost a fourth of the world's population for three thousand years. Traditional

Chinese Medicine (TCM) has been treating infertility dating back to eleven AD. Recent medical research has proven that acupuncture can improve the outcome of Assisted Reproductive Techniques, improving ovarian response and uterine receptivity. Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) will help you enhance your reproductive potential by harmonizing your endocrine system with herbal internal medicine.

Traditional Chinese Medicine techniques have been proven to:

  • Improve the function of the ovaries to produce better quality eggs Increase blood flow to the uterus and increase the thickness of the uterine lining
  • Relax the patient to decrease their stress
  • Regulate hormones to produce a large number of follicles
  • Prevent the uterus from contracting
  • Decrease side effects of fertility drugs
  • Decrease chances of miscarriage
  • Improve semen to create better quality and quantity of embryos
  • What can you do to help yourself?
  • First of all, become actively aware of your fertility signs (see article below)
  • The more you can eliminate nicotine, caffeine drugs and alcohol, the higher your chances of success
  • Take natural, high potency multivitamins and mineral complex with iron, folic acid and B vitamins
  • Only eat hormone free meat and dairy-the typical American diet is loaded with harmful synthetic estrogens
  • Eat soy products and supplements containing phytoestrogens
  • Exercise moderately and employ deep breathing techniques

How to take control of your fertility

Use the Basal Body Temperature (BBT) chart. Begin recording your temperature with a digital thermometer every morning upon awakening (before rising). A typical graph will show a slight drop in temperature just prior to ovulation followed by a rise between 0.3 and 1.0 degree Fahrenheit, a result of rising progesterone after ovulation. Progesterone (and temperature) should remain elevated approximately 14 days and then drop, signaling the onset of menses.

If conception occurs your temperature should remain elevated and even jump to a third level on the graph.

Note changes in vaginal mucous during the month-it should be wet and slippery like egg whites around ovulation.

Note these changes on your BBT chart.

Note alterations in the cervix-rising estrogen levels around ovulation cause the cervix to soften and move up and way from the vagina while the cervical opening enlarges. Note these changes on your BBT chart as well.

If your body is not showing a "normal" cycle curve, the right herbal formula can correct this.

Balancing Disharmonies

TCM can help you balance the disharmonies that have been preventing conception.

It is very common for couples today to feel like "it's getting too late; we must employ severe measures". While it is true that the average couple waits until later in life to conceive, TCM may help "turn back the reproductive clock". Please be patient with yourself. It takes at least three cycles to normalize a woman's cycle; longer if she has taken fertility drugs, has a history of sexually transmitted disease, taken birth control pills, has endometriosis, pelvic inflammatory disease, or polycystic ovaries. Likewise, it takes 70 days to generate new sperm in a man. If he has a history of drug or alcohol abuse or urological complications, it may take longer to generate his reproductive capacity.

You are not alone

Approximately one in six to ten couples experience problems with fertility. Innumerable women grieve the loss of a potential child once a month, and lose a little more hope with each period. I believe that there is reason for optimism.

Acupuncture and herbal therapies are gentle, yet effective.

It is safe, natural, cost effective, and has no side effects. In fact, TCM can only make you stronger, while helping create a healthier environment for a harmonious pregnancy. TCM will also increase the likelihood of conception if you do opt for the fertility drugs or medically assisted fertilization techniques.

How can TCM treat Hormonal Imbalances?

Many hormonal problems are due to slight imbalances in the delicate endocrine system, which may alter a pathway by which the body produces hormones. A slight aberration can throw the entire system off so it no longer functions smoothly.

Research has shown that acupuncture influences these hormonal functions, and assists our own internal energies to restore endocrine harmony. Certain methods influence the internal organs, some control the reproductive organs, other effect the hypothalamic-pituitary-gonadal axis, which is responsible for ovulation and sperm production. They all need to be balanced for optimum function.

Miscarriage; A Traditional Chinese Medicine Viewpoint

Used together, acupuncture and personalized herbal formulas, can helped prevent chronic miscarriages in healthy women.

Currently Traditional Chinese Medicine, both in China, several European countries and America, is used in conjunction with Western medical techniques and testing to design an effective course of treatment for the couple wishing to achieve pregnancy and deliver a healthy full term baby.

Sixty percent of all miscarriages occur in the first half of pregnancy. Genetics play a key role in habitual miscarriage. To presume that TCM alters genetic structure would be a stretch for the imagination. However, TCM is very effective in strengthening a person's constitution.

If a woman has miscarried, it is important to build and conserve her energy (Qi) and build her Blood. There is a famous formal that builds both Qi and Blood which is used to strengthen the body and prepare a woman for conception. This is especially useful if she has a history of miscarriage. The formula should be given for three to six months before conception is attempted. It is called "The Rock on Tai Mountain Decoction". This somewhat poetic name refers to a great mountain that many Chinese religiously pilgrimage to, hoping to get their prayers answered. It is an extremely demanding climb of thousands of steps, just as pregnancy is demanding of the modern mother. Just giving this herbal decoction does not guarantee that conception will take place and the next baby will be delivered to full term. Seeing the patient as a whole person and thereby considering their total health picture help determine how to choose and change a formula to be specific to the patient.

Herbal Fertility Enhancement

Acupuncture and herbal medicine has been an enduring and widespread system of healing across the globe. Together they are an effective modality of intervention to aid in the facilitation of conception. Additionally these treatments can be effectively combined with Western techniques. Herbal formulas help regulate the menstrual cycle as well as invigorate sperm in men. Certain herbs contain energetic substances whose essence gently corrects underlying deficiencies or removes obstructions.

By way of a thorough diagnosis, your body's individual disharmonies can be analyzed and a prescription designed precisely for you to correct any imbalances can be created.

These herbal formulas are based upon your past medical history-from an Eastern and Western perspective, your present symptoms, and your basal body temperature chart results. Each formula can be individualized providing different herbs for various segments of your cycle; some women may need to switch herbal preparations two to four times throughout the month to enhance the effect.

Over the counter herbal remedies are not as effective, because they are aimed at a "general population". The whole key to effective treatment is that each individual's particular needs be addressed. Each formula is tailored to meet your body's reproductive requirements.

The herbal formula prescribed will be multifaceted. They will contain herbs to strengthen your entire system and improve general health as well as herbs to correct your particular imbalances and herbs directly targeted at improving reproductive function-depending on your individual diagnosis.

It is necessary to be consistent with your treatment regimen. If you "forget" to take even a few days' worth, the whole month may be lost.

Book List & Resource Guide

"The Infertility Cure"

Randine Lewis, PhD & L.Ac.

"Taking Charge of Your Fertility"

Toni Weschler, MPH

"Women's Bodies, Women's Wisdom"

Christiane Northrup. M.D.

"Birthing from Within"

England Horowitz

"Prevent Miscarriage"

Jonathan Scher, M.D.

"The Thinking Woman's Guide to a Better Birth"

Henci Goer

"Getting Pregnant Naturally"

Winifred Conking

"Chinese Medicine and Assisted Reproductive Technology for the Modern Couple"

Roger C. Hirsh, OMD, L.Ac.

"Fertility and Sterility Journal of Medicine"

Issue 77 Number 4 April 2002

"Acupuncture Today Archives"


Gathered here are various articles and abstracts published by the medical community that provide supporting evidence of the effectiveness of traditional chinese medicine when treating infertility.

Also included below are articles authored by Randine Lewis, Ph.D., Lic.Ac., residing acupuncturist at Eastern Harmony Acupuncture & Herbal Clinic. Permission to post articles has been granted to Insight Acupuncture & Chinese Herbal Medicine by Randine Lewis, Ph.D.,Lic.Ac.

These are provided to you as a reference and background information about fertility treatments. All articles are property of their respective authors and publishers.

Many of these articles are quite long and will take some time to download. Please be patient as they load. All articles are in a pdf format and will open in a seperate browser window. This format allows for ease of printing on most systems. The Acrobat Reader is required to view these article.

Reduction of blood flow impedance in the uterine arteries of infertile women with electro-acupuncture

Elisabet Stener-Victorin, Urban Waldenström, Sven A. Andersson and Matts Wikland

Acupuncture Normalizes Dysfunction of Hypothalamic-Pituitary-Ovarian Axis

Bo-Ying Chen M.D., Professor of Neurobiology Medical Article

Effects of Electro-Acupuncture on Nerve Growth Factor and Ovarian Morphology in Rats with Induced Polycystic Ovaries

Elisabet Stener-Victorin, Thomas Lundeberg, Urban Waldenström, Luigi Manni, Luigi Aloe, Stefan Gunnarsson, and Per Olof Janson

Substitution of Acupuncture for HCG in Ovulation Induction

Cai Xuefen, Obstetrical & Gynecological Hospital, Zhejiang Medical University, Zhejiang Province

Relationship Between Blood Radioimmunoreactive Beta-Endorphin and Hand Skin

Chen Bo Ying M.D. Lecturer of Neurobiology, Institute of Acupuncture Research, and Yu Jin, MD., Prof of Gynecology, Obstetricus and Gynecology Hospital Shanghai Medical University, Shanghai, People's Republic of China.

Influence of acupuncture on the pregnancy rate in patients who undergo assisted reproduction therapy

Wolfgang E. Paulus, M.D., Department of Reproductive Medicine, Christian-Lauritzen-Institut. Mingmin Zhang, M.D., Department of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Tongji Hospital, Tongji Medical University, Wuhan, People's Republic of China. Erwin Strehler, M.D., Department of Reproductive Medicine, Christian-Lauritzen-Institut. Imam El-Danasouri, Ph.D., Department of Reproductive Medicine, Christian-Lauritzen-Institut. and Karl Sterzik, M.D. Department of Reproductive Medicine, Christian-Lauritzen-Institut.

Role of acupuncture in the treatment of female infertility

Raymond Chang, M.D., The Institute of East-West Medicine, The Department of Internal Medicine, Weill Medical College of Cornell University. Pak H. Chung, M.D., The Department of Internal Medicine, Weill Medical College of Cornell University. Zev Rosenwaks, M.D., The Center for Reproductive Medicine and Infertility

Abstracts of other Medical Articles discussing acupuncture treatment for infertility

Articles by Randine Lewis, Ph.D., Lic.Ac.residing acupuncturist at Eastern Harmony Acupuncture & Herbal Clinic.

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