FERTILITY. They say “first comes love, then comes marriage, then comes Mary with a baby carriage”. But that was for the 1970s Mary. Millenial Mary, might decide she is going to put her career first; or travel more before settling down; or maybe just hasn’t found the right guy; OR quite commonly, she may just be having a hard time getting pregnant. Whatever the case may be, statistics have shown that more millenial couples are waiting till later in life to enter the child-bearing stage. The challenge with this is after 35, reproductive age begins to decline and egg quality and quantity starts to decrease.
Thank goodness for IUI (in vitro fertilization) or IVF (Intra-uterine Insemination) right? Yes, couples can achieve their pregnancy goals when faced with these challenges, but it doesn’t come without a cost. IVF procedures can cost anywhere from $10,000 to $15,000. Not including medication that can cost anywhere from $3000 to $5000.
It is no surprise that couples develop anxiety over this very time-sensitive window and understandably, become emotionally and financially stressed. This is why many fertility doctors refer couples to get Acupuncture as adjunctive therapy to fertility treatments.
Acupuncture helps reduce stress, increase blood flow to the reproductive organs and bring balance the endocrine system. In addition, Acupuncture also helps reduce some of the side effects of fertility medications, such as nausea, aches and pains, headaches, stress and anxiety, insomnia, digestive issues, etc.
But it doesn’t end there. Many reproductive endocrinologists are referring couples out to receive Traditional Chinese Herbal Medicine to help prepare the body for 9 months of fetal development. As much as the IUI and IVF can be successful, if the internal environment of the mother isn’t balanced, it cannot properly carry and nourish a healthy embryo to a live birth.
A recent study from Tel Aviv University reports, “When used in conjunction with Western fertility treatments, acupuncture increases conception rates by 26%. By combining IUI with TCM treatments, 65.5 percent of the test group were able to conceive, compared with 39.4 percent of the control group, who received no herbal or acupuncture therapy.
The specialized and individualized diagnostic method a TCM practitioner takes in assessing one’s underlying condition is the most important part in preparing the couple for fertility treatments. For example, in Chinese Medicine, infertility can be due to an accumulation of dampness or phlegm resulting in pathologies like polycystic ovarian syndrome or structural blockage in the fallopian tubes. Or for some there may be hormonal imbalances in each stage of the menstrual cycle causing short ovulation phases or longer luteal phase, etc. Some may have blood stagnation restricting micro circulation of flow in the uterus or reproductive organs. In other case, it could be the male contributing to the problem. Because, let’s face it. Men are 50% of the fertility equation. Chinese herbal medicine can help with healthy sperm production and improving sperm motility which can be a sign of Kidney Yang or Kidney Essence deficiency.
These are just a few examples of how Chinese Medicine and Acupuncture can help in preparing couples for fertility treatments like IUI and IVFs. If you or anyone you know is looking to conceive, advise them to see a Chinese Medicine Practitioner first and get their internal environment balanced to ensure that their 10,000-$15,000 investment returns with a happy and healthy baby!