The discussion and research below provides some highlighted information on infertility based on our best knowledge, understanding and daily practice. It is by no means a substitute for the medical advice from your physician.
There are numerous causative factors that could result in infertility. Both systems, Western Medicine and Classical Chinese Medicine, have their insights and understanding on the causes and pathophysiological mechanisms of human infertility, and thus, the corresponding approaches to it’s management are discussed below.
Fertility requires balanced hormones, structurally sound reproductive organs, good health and a nutritious, clean diet. Even with the above in place, the chances of a healthy couple conceiving each month is just 25%. According to the paradigm of Chinese Medicine, “Fertility” equates to an unobstructed, free flow of Qi, Blood and Body fluids within the body, as well as, a balanced reproductive system that produces healthy fluctuations in the Yin and Yang of the body. For the reproduction system to function at its peak, there must be a balance among all these components & body systems.
A couple is considered infertile if after one year of having unprotected sex they have not conceived. Infertility is an increasing problem, particularly in the U.S where infertility affects approximately 15% of women with 1 billion spent annually on treatment. In roughly 10% of cases, the exact reason is unknown. In other cases, either the female or the male has a reproductive problem, or both partners are infertile which makes up about 18% of the population according to the 2005 CDC national statistics.
Female infertility & sub-fertility:
Female infertility accounts for about 46% of infertile cases. Infertility can be caused by functional disorders such as hormonal imbalances or structural problems like endometriosis or tubal obstruction. The most common cause of female infertility is an ovulation disorder where the egg development and release is impaired. Age is also an important factor in infertility. According to some studies one in three women or 20% of women over 35 years will have fertility problems. This is due to a decline in reproductive function (diminished ovarian reserve), which is why there are much lower IVF success rates for women over 35 than for younger women. Aging also affects the uterus and increases the risk of miscarriage.
From a Chinese medical perspective, infertility is a manifestation of reproductive imbalance coupled with impaired general health and well-being due to imbalances among the yin, yang and Qi of the body, as well as, a lack of free flow of the Qi and blood.
The Fertility Program at our clinic, utilizes Functional Medicine, Acupuncture, Chinese Herbal Medicine, Nutritional & Dietary support, in addition to, Lifestyle recommendations and modifications to promote fertility, improve general health, and support the possibility of conceiving and carrying a healthy baby to term. This treatment approach is also used for the general Pre-Conception Care program.
Pre-Conception Care is necessary and extremely important when planning a pregnancy. A healthy, well-balanced and timely menstrual cycle, as well as, healthy, viable eggs depend on the overall health and well being of the woman seeking to become pregnant.
Conception and thus Pregnancy, occurs when the right bodily conditions meet the correct biologic timing. Coordinating both the biologic timing and specific physical conditions can be a challenge for many women and couples which is why it is very important to consider a “whole body” approach. In working towards natural conception, we focus on restoring fertility by restoring proper physiology & functioning of the body as a whole. This is vital for conception to occur.
For many patients and doctors alike, there is a tendency to focus almost exclusively on the reproductive system. In our experience, this approach is often insufficient (evidenced by the fact that many of our patients seek us because conventional Western medical treatments have failed them). When the patient’s overall health and well-being are addressed as a whole, the outcome should yield, exceptional results . Once the overall health and well being of a pating begins to change and evolve into a state of health and balance, fertility is often restored automatically. With all this being said, there are most definitely many aspects that need to be directly addressed at the level of the reproductive system: (ie: irregular menstrual cycles, painful menses, heavy or absent menstrual flows, etc….) and these definitely require specialized knowledge, however we could never get the kinds of results we are seeing in Chinese Medicine if we only focused on the reproductive system.
Take into account that each of your internal organs have a crucial role in maintaining a healthy internal environment via not only optimally functioning individually, but also optimally functioning together with one another. If any of these organs are not functioning optimally individually, then this will create a cascade of dysfunction throughout the entire internal systmem, which can thus, affect your ability to concieve, not to mention the resulting health of your baby if you do become pregnant. Because of this, our program for natural conception utilizing Chinese Medicine is not just about treating, addressing and optimizing reproductive function, its really about making the individual and or couple healthy.
Achieving a state of “health and wellness” is not just about locating and correcting problems with acupuncture and herbs, rather, it is about establishing an environment that is conducive to health. In many cases, this involves dietary and lifestyle modifications, many of which are small adjustments that can yield lasting change and differences in the body as a whole. This is why our approach to fertility is “holistic”. We consider and address both the internal environment of the body, as well as, the “outer environment” or lifestyle of an individual as well.
Some of the simple lifestyle modifications include adequate nutrition dietary & exercise recommendations, which will be assessed individually.
By correcting imbalances and changing the things that prevent your body from healing itself, you create an environment that is very supportive for fertility. Using this holistic approach has astounding impacts both on fertility and on your overall health.
Chinese Medical Treatment can be utilized and provide support for a range of women’s health disorders that cause Female Infertility such as:
- Anovulation (no ovulation)
- Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS)
- Amenorrhea (no periods)
- Uterine Fibroids
- Luteal phase insufficiency
- Menstrual irregularities
- Endometrial lining problems
- Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID)
- Implantation disorders
- Acquired ovarian failure (for example, as a result of chemotherapy)
- Autoimmune Conditions (ie: Hashimoto’s, Lupus, etc.)
- Cervical Mucous abnormalities
- Early menopause
- Unknown Causes
Chinese Medical Treatment can be utilized and provide support for a range of Men’s health disorders that cause Male Infertility such as:
- Oligozoospermia (low sperm count, <20 millions/ml or < 40 million per ejaculate): the most common male factor of infertility, and azoospermia (lack of viable sperm).
- Sperm abnormalities:
- Morphology: <30% normal (WHO Standards); < 14-15% Normal (Kruger Criteria – More strict)
- Motility: <50% forward moving sperm or < 20% total Motile Sperm
- Semen factors:
- Semen volume: < 2 ml/ejaculation (Normal: 2.0-5ml/ejaculation)
- Abnormal pH: (Normal 7.2-8.0)
- Prolonged liquefaction time: > 30 min (Normal: < 30 min)
- Sperm Vitality (% of alive Sperm): (Normal: >75% of sperm alive
- Seminal White Blood Cell count: (Normal: < 1 million/ml)
- Some sexual functional disorders, such as retro ejaculation.
- Other Urologic or Reproductive Health Issues.
In many occasions, the exact underline causes and mechanisms of the resultant abnormalities in semen and sperm listed above often can be unknown, as well as, difficult to address from the Western Perspective, other than circumnavigating the issue with ICSI (Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection). However, current research demonstrates the promising effects Chinese Medicine – both acupuncture and Chinese Herbal Medicine, play with improving the semen parameters in male factor. We suggest at least 12 weeks of treatment (3 months minimum) as the development and maturation of new sperm (spermatogenesis) takes between 90-100 days. Depending on the severity of Male factor, treatment could last up to a year+. Acupuncture treatment frequency for the male partner is usually biweekly to once per month combined with ongoing internal Chinese Herbal Therapy, dietary and nutritional therapy, as well as, applying lifestyle modifications if necessary.
Western Medical Assessment and Diagnosis:
The following are the most commonly used diagnostic procedures that assist both Western and Eastern clinicians to reach a causal diagnosis in the infertility management.
- A semen analysis should be done to evaluate the male factors.
- Prepare a basal body temperature (BBT) Chart in female patients beginning the charting on the first day of the woman’s cycle (aka ~ first day of the woman’s period).
- Anovulation is suspected if the BBT does not show the typical mid-cycle temperature elevation.
- Anovulation is suspected if the BBT does not show the typical mid-cycle temperature elevation.
- Blood Work Analysis:
- Checking thyroid-stimulating-hormone (TSH), prolactin, T3and T4 to exclude hypothyroidism, a correctable cause of anovulation.
- Checking Estradiol, Follicle Stimulating (FSH), Luteinizing hormone (LH), Progesterone Levels
- A luteinizing hormone to follicle-stimulating hormone ratio (LH/FSH) (normal 1.5:1) assay.
- A luteinizing hormone to follicle-stimulating hormone ratio (LH/FSH) (normal 1.5:1) assay.
- (Day 21 Progesterone), SHBG (Sex Hormone Binding Globulin), Testosterone, DHEA(s).
- Checking anti-mullerian hormone or (AMH) blood levels – levels thought to reflect the size of the remaining egg supply – or “ovarian reserve”.
- Checking thyroid-stimulating-hormone (TSH), prolactin, T3and T4 to exclude hypothyroidism, a correctable cause of anovulation.
- An ovary ultrasound study would be helpful to assess polycystic ovary syndrome, if the patient presents irregular menstrual bleeding, obesity and hirsutism (excess facial hair).
- Antral Follicle Count via pelvic usltrasound to assess the number of potential “Antral Follicles” or “resting follicles” which is indicative of the ovarian reserve remaining (aka – a reflection of the remaining number of primoridial follicles that contain the eggs).
- If the semen analysis is normal and ovulation is confirmed, fallopian tube abnormalities should be assessed by hysterosalpingogram (HSG). If potentially correctible tubal disease is suggested by the HSG, laparoscopy may be indicated to visualize the oviducts and to reconstruct the damage (tuboplasty) when possible.
After the necessary diagnostic assessments have been done, you may want to discuss the results of the examination(s) and the treatment options with your physician. There are a number of treatment options available in both Western medicine and TCM and you are responsible to make your decision based on your need and preference.
Western Medical Treatment Approaches:
- Treatment of correctable medical conditions, such as hypothyroidism, PID and, in some cases, oviduct obstruction, as well as, some of the male factors can be addressed first before preceding forward with other western fertility treatment approaches.
- Ovulation induction: Clomiphene citrate is administrated orally for 5 days beginning on day 5 of the menstrual cycle; other medications such as Letrozole or human menopausal gonadotrophin (HMG) may be used if clomiphene fails. The common side effects include ovarian hyperstimulation and multiple gestation (the latter can cause various severe obstetrical complications).
- Intra uterine insemination (IUI): An artificial insemination of sperm directly into the uterine cavity close to the fallopian tubes. Before insemination, the sperm have been washed free of seminal fluid.
- In vitro fertilization (IVF): This is an option in many clinical situations, especially when uncorrectable tubal obstructions exist. In IVF procedure, eggs are aspirated from the ovarian follicles transvaginally with the aid of ultrasound. In laboratory, the eggs are fertilized with sperm resulting in the formation of embryos. Multiple embryos are then transferred into the uterine cavity. A cumulative pregnancy rate reaches 60% after six IVF cycles, However, this can be a quite costly Process.
- Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection (ICSI): Currently, this is the most utilitzed option in many clinical situations, especially when there is any form of Male Factor in addition to the the uncorrectable tubal obstructions or other unexpalined fertility conditions that exist. In ICSI-IVF procedure, eggs are aspirated from the ovarian follicles transvaginally with the aid of ultrasound. In laboratory, the eggs are fertilized by sperm which are directly injected into the eggs hopefully, resulting in the formation of embryos. Multiple embryos are then transferred into the uterine cavity. A cumulative pregnancy rate reaches 60% after six IVF/ICSI cycles, However, this can be a quite costly Process.
Chinese Medical Treatment Approaches may help ” turn back the reproductive clock.”
Patients are encouraged to undergo a necessary “medical evaluation” done either by their Primary Care Physician and or their Reproductive Endocrinologist in order to assess any immediately correctable medical disorders, or exclude any underlined malignant diseases before they embark upon Classical Chinese Medical and Functional Medical treatments.
It is also advisable, as well as, being very helpful if the patients bring their medical exam data/results (including a basal body temperature charting, ALL labwork – Blood chemistry panels, hormone panels, etc.) when visiting our clinic. A defined Western medical diagnosis, if available, will also be valuable for us in evaluating and treating the case even within the paradigm of the Classical Chinese Medical system.
For many women, the treatment course which will consist of acupuncture treatments, and/or herbal therapy, dietary therapy and lifestyle changes, normally ranges from 6 to 12+/- menstrual cycles depending on the individual case, to improve fertility markers and increase the chances of conceiving. Some difficult cases may need a longer period of treatment in order to prepare the body to conceive and ultimately achieve pregnancy.
- Please be patient with yourself and with the treatment process. It takes at least 3-6 cycles to normalize a woman’s cycle; longer (6-12 months +) if she has taken fertility drugs, has a history of sexually transmitted disease, endometriosis, pelvic inflammatory disease, polycystic ovaries or very irregular menstrual cycles. Again, In general, we inform our fertility patients that the fertility treatment process could range between 6-12 months +/-. Acupuncture treatment frequency will vary among different patients who present with different pathologies – ie: For some women, it will be important to come in during their menses, some it will be important to come in postmenstrually, however, it will be optimal for everyone to be seen for acupuncture during their ovulation time (ie: somewhere between the woman’s day 10-16). So, if a patient must choose one time during a month to come in for acupuncture, we recommend that they come in during their ovulation time frame. However, if there is a history of painful menses, or endometriosis we highly recommend coming in to receive acupuncture during your menstrual window (days 1-4) in addition to ovulation time. Post menstrual time (days 5-9) is also an optimal time to receive acupuncture during the fertility and preconception care process. On average, most patients are seen for acupuncture 1-3 times per month while they take/drink Chinse Herbal Tea Formulations daily. Internal Chinese Herbal therapy will most likely be included into this treatment regimen with the woman drinking Chinese Herbal Decoction teas that are addressing each of the different phases of the woman’s menstrual cycle (ie: Menstrual, post-menstrual or follicular phase, Ovulation phase, Post-ovulation or Luteal Phase). Please see below for more detail.
This length of this process is due to a woman’s reproductive biology which in Chinese Medicine, must work “with” vs. circumnavigating biology (ie: IVF). The egg a woman is ovulating in any given month, began developing literally 120 days prior. 120 days prior to any given ovulation, a cohort or group of follicles began to develop, grow and mature into mature follicles, eventually yielding one dominant follicle which develops and ovulates an egg on that given month. This 120 day cycle is called the “Tonic Growth Phase” and it is during this time that the body’s environment subjects its influences on the developing follicles which contain the developing eggs. If the body is in a state of health and balance this will positively influence the environment in which the developing follicles and thus eggs are maturing, yielding eggs which are of “High Quality”. High quality eggs yield optimal fertility potential and therefore increased pregnancy and birth rates.
One of our main goals in the Fertility treatment process at our clinic is to focus on positively influencing the Tonic Growth Phase via Acupuncture, Chinese Herbal Medicine, Nutrition-Dietary-Lifestyle modifications & recommendations. We effect the quality of the eggs by improving the egg’s energy capacity, aka, the egg’s mitochondrial capacity. The Mitochondria of any given cell, in which the egg is the largest in the human body, is the area of the cell that produces energy or ATP for that given cell and its functions. In order to effectively and positively influence and change a women’s cycle and therefore also the Tonic Growth phase, which is the deeper, longer cycle underlying and superimposing the 28 day menstrual cycle, we recommend patients commit to at least 4-6 months of treatment. Again, if there is a complicated menstrual and or fertility history, or history of ART (Assisted Reproductive Technology), the process may very well require a longer course (ie: 6-12+ Months). Likewise, it takes roughly 90 days to generate new sperm in a man. If he has a history of drug and alcohol abuse or urological complications, it may take longer to regenerate his reproductive capacity.
During patient visits, the overall health of the patient and their reproductive system is assessed through understanding the patient’s general health symptoms and charting the various bodily changes throughout the menstrual cycle, specifically using basal body temperature charting. Treatment will consist of acupuncture and Chinese herbal therapy combined, in addition to dietary, nutritional and lifestyle recommendations.
Acupuncture and herbal therapies are gentle, yet effective. Conventional Western medicine offers a bigger bang, but we liken this to putting a thumbtack in the wall with a sledgehammer. For some, modern reproductive technology is the appropriate course to take, however there are many women who do not need fertility drugs and medically assisted reproductive techniques, yet they go through months of physical and emotional agony, not to mention the financial burden. TCM will put the tack in the wall with a thumb. 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 utilizing fertility medications or medically assisted fertilization techniques. See below)
- How can Classical Chinese Herbal Medicine and Acupuncture treat these 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.
Modern diagnostic techniques may not detect any laboratory abnormality or functional causes at all. This does not necessarily mean that fertility drugs or surgical procedures are warranted.
Research has shown that both acupuncture and Chinese Herbal Medicine influences these hormonal pathways, and assists our own internal energies to restore endocrine harmony. Both Acupuncture and Classical Chinese Herbal Medicine are associated with meridians (or energy channels) spanning the body which are correlated and connected to the internal organs, thus, they are able to influence the internal organs, the reproductive organs, as well as, effect the hypothalamic-pituitary-gonadal axis, which is responsible for ovulation, sperm production and overall hormone production and balance. These systems all need to be balanced for optimum function.
- Classical Chinese Medical View of Hormonal Effects:
Chinese Medicine developed a different twist on the perspective of hormones and where they come from. The endocrine system is the basic equivalent of the Kidney system in Classical Chinese Medicine. It is responsible for maintaining functions related to genital, urinary, endocrine, bone, blood and central nervous system. The Kidney is our most basic energy source and is primarily responsible for reproduction, growth and development of the body.
Acupuncture treatment focuses on balancing the systems of the body that are unbalanced by exerting a strong homeostatic effect utilizing the nervous and hormonal systems. You will likely be treated for imbalances in the Kidney and Liver systems in order sedate your nervous system and balance endocrine function.
In regards to Chinese Herbal Medicine, Chinese herbal formulas have been clinically proven to be effective in altering hormone levels in the body. A commonly used formula in the treatment of menopause, for example, known as Rhemmania Six, or “Liu Wei Di Huang Wan”, alters female sex hormones by directly affecting the adrenal cortex, other endocrine glands, or both.
From a biomedical perspective, this particular formula with or without modifications, has been reported to increase plasma levels of cortisol (our stress-dealing hormone), increase estrodiol (an estrogen derivative) and decrease overall FSH (follicle stimulating hormone) and LH (luteinizing hormone). It also was shown to increase estrogen receptors significantly. What does all of this mean? The overall effect of the above data indicates a balance of hormone levels resulting in reduction of menopausal symptoms.
Your Chinese herbal formula will be designed according to what your Chinese Medical Diagnosis is and will also be based on the signs and symptoms you exhibit and may be experiencing. From a Classical Chinese medical perspective, we would aim at treating imbalances in the Kidney, Liver and Spleen system. Your formula will be completely customized for your body using either Bulk or powdered herbs that can be combined to address both your symptomatic picture, as well as, your root causal or underlying disorder. In other words, we will treat both your symptoms so that you feel better, but we will also be addressing the underlying cause of your symptoms so that your body can regain balance and homeostasis.
- Herbal Fertility Enhancement Utilizing Chinese Herbal Medicine:
Certain herbs contain natural energetic substances whose essence gently corrects underlying deficiencies or removes obstructions. By way of a thorough diagnosis, we will analyze your body’s individual disharmonies and develop a prescription designed precisely to correct your imbalances.
These herbal formulas will be created based upon your past medical history – from an Eastern and Western perspective, your present symptoms, and your basal body temperature chart results. We will individualize each herbal formula, 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. We will tailor each herbal remedy to meet your body’s reproductive requirements.
- The herbal formula prescribed for you will be multi-faceted, containing:
1. herbs to strengthen your entire system and improve general health
2. herbs to correct your particular imbalances
3. herbs directly targeted at improving reproductive function – depending on your individual diagnosis.
4. Please be consistent with your treatment regimen. If you “forget” to take even a few days’ worth, that whole month may be lost.
If the patient is undergoing other reproductive therapies, such as IVF, the program can be an adjunct therapy to promote health and well-being, relieve stress and support the possibility of a positive outcome.
- IUI/IVF support to enhance the success rate. This is achieved by improving the quality of eggs and sperm before fertilization, and promoting the maternal uterine- endometrial environment. In order to prepare an optimal Uterine environment, as well as, improve egg quality, we suggest the patient start acupuncture treatment at least 4-6 months before the IUI or IVF procedure. More…
Miscarriage Prevention – Chinese Medicine-Acupuncture and Chinese Herbal Medicine can also be used to help prevent miscarriage and aid in the treatment of recurrent pregnancy loss or problem pregnancies. In general, Chinese Medicine is extremely effective for preventing miscarriage when threatened miscarriage is due to hormonal imbalances, such as low progesterone or immune factors. For this purpose, it may be used either preventively when the woman is asymptomatic or even after symptoms of threatened miscarriage has happened.
Not only does Chinese Medicine address the underlying pysiological issues associated with infertility, but also effectively helps to address the stress known to occur when coping with a shattering diagnosis of infertility.
As you have observed, the two medical systems, Western Medicine and Classical Chinese Medicine, appear quite different and sometimes even “irrelevant” to each other in regards to diagnosis and treatment of infertility and other diseases. However, they BOTH possess the same objective of treating the human body and it’s ills, through their different approaches and paths of diagnosis and treatment. This is not an issue of which one is superior, but rather, the fact that by integrating the two systems, we are able to “see” more clearly, the entire picture of the human body with a broader view and with various-depths, and thus, we have more treatment approaches to choose from for each unique scenario, which, we believe, is a blessing.
Studies involving Chinese Medicine & Female Infertility:
- Electroacupuncture modulates reproductive hormone levels in patients with primary ovarian insufficiency: results from a prospective observational study., Zhou K, Jiang J, Wu J, Liu Z – http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23533511
- Effects of electroacupuncture on in vitro fertilization-embryo transfer (IVF-ET) of patients with poor ovarian response. Chen J, Liu LL, Cui W, Sun W – http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19873910
- Studies by Chen, Dong and Luo et al have shown that acupuncture relieves stress. The relationship between stress and infertility is thought to be through the hypothalamic-pituitary-ovarian axis (HPA), which plays a significant role in fertility. The axis regulates both our sex hormones and our stress responses, which suggests stress contributes to a range of fertility disorders such as amenorrhea, anovulation, ovulatory disorders and irregular periods.
- Stener-Victorin et al studied the use of electro-acupuncture on 24 women suffering from Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) with oligo/amenorrhoea. In cases of mild obesity, ovulatory cycles increased from 15% to 66%, suggesting acupuncture is a long-lasting effective treatment for ovulation induction.
- Another study Stener-Victorin led, demonstrated that a certain acupuncture protocol increases uterine blood flow (decreased the pulsatility index of the uterine arteries). This means that acupuncture increased the blood flowing through the uterine arteries.
- Stener-Victorin E, et al Reduction of blood flow impedance in the uterine arteries of infertile women with electro-acupuncture. Hum Reprod 1996;11:1314 -7.; Stener-Victorin E, et al, Ovarian blood flow responses to electro-acupuncture stimulation at different frequencies and intensities in anaesthetized rats: Auton Neurosci. 2003 Oct 31;108(1-2):50-6.
- Therefore, when the diet is nutritionally sound and the body is in balance, adequate nutrients will be more easily supplied to the uterus when using the Stener-Victorin protocol. This supports the development of a healthy endometrial lining, which is an important prerequisite for embryo implantation and growth.
- Gerhard & Postneek assessed the hormonal effect of ear acupuncture on 45 infertile women with oligomenorrhea (scanty or infrequent menstrual flow) or luteal phase deficiency. Results were compared with 45 women undergoing conventional hormone therapy. The authors assert, ‘Based on our data, [auricular] acupuncture seems to offer a viable alternative for female infertility due to hormonal disorders.’ They also observed a reduced miscarriage rate in the auricular acupuncture group compared to the hormonal treatment.
- Gurfinkel et al., Effects of acupuncture and moxa treatment in patients with semen abnormalities. Asian J Androl. 2003 Dec;5(4):345-8.
- ABORM final Comprehensive Review of Published Literature on the Role of TCM with or without Acupuncture on Reproductive Medicine – by Diane K. Cridennda, L.Ac., (FABORM)
- Acupuncture on the day of embryo transfer significantly improves the reproductive outcome in infertile women: A prospective, randomized trial. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/
- Effects of acupuncture on rates of pregnancy and live birth among women undergoing in vitro fertilisation: Systematic review and meta-analysis. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/
- The relationship between perceived stress, acupuncture, and pregnancy rates among IVF patients: A pilot study. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov
- A Pilot Study Evaluating the Combination of Acupuncture with Sildenafil on Endometrial Thickness
- Conducted by: Wendy Yu, L.Ac., Brandon Horn, J.D., L.Ac., Brian Acacio, M.D., Daoshing Ni, D.O.M, L.Ac., Ph.D., Rudy Quintero, M.D., Mory Nouriani, M.D.Sher Institutes for Reproductive Medicine, Glendale, CA and Eastern Center for Complementary Medicine, Los Angeles, CA
- Conclusions: This pilot study is consistent with previous reports that acupuncture improves uterine lining measurements over previous cycles.
Chinese Herbal Medicine Studies
- Lian used Chinese herbs in 60 cases of luteal phase insufficiency. The author recorded a rise in the Basal Body Temperature (BBT) and a 56% successful outcome with over half achieving pregnancy. This modest study suggests that Chinese herbs have a normalizing effect on the hypothalamic-pituitary-ovarian axis.
- Chinese herbal medicine and clomiphene citrate for anovulation: a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/
- Pregnancy in premature ovarian failure after therapy using Chinese herbal medicine. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12956293
- A Comprehensive Review of Studies Related to Chinese Herbal Medicine and Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) in Conjunction with Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART), IVF, and IUI for Male and Female Infertilityby Ray Rubio, DAOM, L.Ac., (FABORM)
- Chen A, ‘An introduction to sequential electric acupuncture (SEA) in the treatment of stress related physical and emotional disorders’, Acupuncture Electrotherapy Research,1992; 17, pp. 273-83.
- Damone, B, Principles of Chinese Medical Andrology: An Integrated Approach to Male Reproductive & Urological Health, 2008
- Dong JT, ‘Research on the reduction of anxiety and depression with acupuncture,’ American Journal of Acupuncture, 1993; 21, pp. 327-30.
- Fritz, M., Speroff, L., Clinical Gynecologic Endocrinology and Infertility, Eighth Edition, 2011
- Gerhard, I & Postneek F, 1992, ’Auricular acupuncture in the treatment of female infertility’, Gynecological Endocrinology, September 1992, Vol. 6, Issue 3, pp. 171-81.
- Lian F, 1991, ‘TCM treatment of luteal phase defect – an analysis of 60 cases.’ Journal of Traditional Chinese Medicine, June 1991, Vol 11, Issue 2, pp. 115-20.
- Liang, L, Acupuncture & IVF, Third Edition, 2005
- Liang, L. Contempory Gynecology – An integrated Chinese-Western Approach, 2010
- Lyttleton, J, Treatment of Infertilty with Chinese Medicne, 2004
- Maciocia, G, Obstetrics & Gynecology in Chinese Medicine, Second Edition, 2011
- Magarelli, P – Western Reproductive Endocrinology Course – Prod Seminars
- Notes from – The Fertile Soul: Reproductive Training Seminar, presented by Randine Lewis, PhD., M.D., M.S.O.M., L.Ac., Pro D Seminars
- Stener-Victorin E, Waldenstrom U, Andersaan SA, & Wikland M, 1996, ‘Reduction of blood flow impedance in the uterine arteries of infertile women using electro-acupuncture’, Human Reproduction, 1996, Vol.11, No. 6, pp. 1314-7.
- Stener-Victorin E, Waldenstrom U, Tagnfors U, Lundeberg T, Lundestedt G & Janson PO, 1996, ‘Effects of electro-acupuncture on anovulation in reproductive treatments: a critical review,’ Human Reproduction Update, 1996, No. 2, pp. 323-5.
*For additional information on any of the above or related conditions, please contact: email@example.com