Couples who hope to conceive a child and find themselves unable to do so often experience confusion about where to turn to for help. The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that 9% of couples who wish to conceive a child through regular sexual activity encounter difficulties in doing so.
Many couples experiencing infertility choose In Vitro Fertilization (IVF). This option is costly. IVF can also result in dangerous adverse effects, including multiple births, premature delivery, low birth weight, miscarriage, birth defects, ectopic pregnancy, and even cancer. For males, hormone replacement and other treatments can be used but are also expensive, and sometimes dangerous.
We, at the Eastern Healing Center, offer a safe, natural, gentle alternative. TCM has been used successfully for many centuries to enhance fertility, healthy pregnancy and childbirth. The good news is that most conditions contributing to infertility in women and men can be easily identified and corrected with TCM. Treatments may include acupuncture, acupressure, herbal medicine, and several kinds of massage therapy.
Female health and thus fertility is intimately tied to the menstrual cycle. From a TCM viewpoint, cyclical disorders (yuejingbing) indicate sub-fertility. Tracking the menstrual cycle is an important diagnostic tool in TCM. TCM treatments can help make the woman’s menstrual cycles more regular, reduce menstrual cramps and PMS, manage endometriosis and thicken the uterine lining to optimize ovarian function.
Once pregnancy is achieved, TCM offers continuing support for the healthy growth of the fetus, and the prevention of miscarriage and birth defects. TCM also assists new mothers in recovering strength after pregnancy and childbirth, by contributing to the nourishment and balancing of their bodies and energies.
Infertility can affect both women and men. In women infertility can be caused by a variety of factors, such as overwork, insufficient rest, injury from excessive menstrual bleeding, or negative emotional conditions such as anxiety, worry or depression. Congenital (genetic) defects can also be involved. Negative dietary habits such as too much food or alcohol, or a lot of chilled food, may influence a woman’s fertility processes. Certain medical treatments can seriously reduce a woman’s reproductive capacity, including the long-term use of contraceptives pills, or hormonal therapies which damage the lining of the uterus.
Infertility in men is also greatly influenced by lifestyle factors such as an unhealthy diet, too much stress, overwork, smoking, and overuse of alcohol. Obesity often affects fertility levels. Anatomical abnormalities can be a factor, but this is rare. Simple lifestyle modifications can dramatically increase a man’s ability to reproduce, so it is important to consider improvements in diet, exercise, rest, and recreational habits.
In TCM, the Kidneys*, Liver* and Spleen* are considered to be the foundation of both female and male fertility, in that they directly support the healthy functioning of the reproductive system. (These words are highlighted in TCM to indicate the meridians, or bio-energy pathways, linked with these organs.) Much of the TCM fertility enhancement treatment focuses on balancing and strengthening these organ meridians.