In Traditional Chinese Medicine theory, it is often said that there is no such thing as “infertility.” That is because TCM is founded on a theory of balance. One’s inability to conceive is considered an imbalance that needs to be rectified, not necessarily a condition of infertility. This theory applies to fertility as much as to any other condition. A woman’s natural balanced state, from the time she begins menstruating to the time she begins menopause, is in a state of “potentially conceiving.” A deviation from this state—an imbalance in TCM theory—does not necessarily imply “infertility;” it simply means a shift from one’s optimum reproductive health. According to traditional Chinese medicine philosophy, we say that the best way to achieve a healthy pregnancy and healthy baby is to cultivate the soil in order to plant the seed, so getting your body as healthy as it can be is the focus. Chinese medicine enhances fertility by strengthening and balancing organ functions and the production of hormones, an essential component of fertility. Additionally, by activating the parasympathetic nervous system (which induces the relaxation response) and calming the sympathetic nervous system (which initiates the stress response), Chinese herbs and acupuncture encourage the fertility process by restoring a deep relaxation to the mind and body.
Chinese medicine theory applies equally to male factor infertility. A man’s low sperm count, poor motility, morphology, or sexual dysfunction can all be linked to the body’s imbalances and treated with great success.
Many couples today are employing the assisted reproductive therapies of In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) or Intra Uterine Injections (IUI). A common and effective practice of TCM today is to have an acupuncture treatment immediately before and immediately after IVF. Studies have shown this practice to increase the number of resulting pregnancies by as much as 50% as compared to IVF treatments that did not employ TCM concurrently. IVF and other assisted reproductive therapies are very expensive and emotionally draining. By contrast, TCM alone is a fraction of the cost and generally promotes good emotional health. Given that stress alone can be a significant roadblock to getting you pregnant, I recommend that couples try TCM for several months before even trying assisted reproductive therapies. If you have already begun IVF treatments, you should begin your course of TCM therapies right away. This will ensure the significant emotional and financial investment you’ve made in your IVF therapy is given the best possible landscape for success. And yes, it is ok, to use both eastern and western approaches simultaneously.