For those of us who have children, we have probably never thought about how lucky we are to be able to conceive and have kids, let alone appreciate how wonderful our bodies are to let us accomplish our fertile mission. Many couples, roughly 6.1 million in the United States, don’t have such luck. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), about 10 percent of women in the United States ages 15-44 have difficulty getting pregnant or staying pregnant, which means that there are approximately 6.1 million unfortunate couples who cannot conceive naturally or cannot maintain pregnancy. This situation is called infertility. Fertility in a woman is an outcome of a very complex chain reaction between hormones and ovaries and uterus. Any weak link of such a chain, from defective organs to abnormal hormones, can lead to infertility. Infertility can also be caused by structural issues such as prostatitis or varicocele in male or endometriosis and PCOS (Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome) in female.
Efforts through Assisted Reproductive Technology
Most of infertility cases opt for Assisted Reproductive Technology, most prominently the Intrauterine Insemination (IUI) and In Vitro Fertilization (IVF), to seek help for pregnancy. Unfortunately, even such highly sophisticated and expensive procedures cannot grant a pregnancy 100%. For IVF, the general success rate, not counting male infertility, is ~40% for females 35 years of age or younger and <10% for those over the age of 35. For those over the age of 40, the IVF success rate can even drop down to <5%. So, why are there situations that even IVF cannot help? The answer lies in the fact that the body has been in such a deficient state that even vigorous hormone manipulation from IVF won’t work – a situation similar to the fact that the windows or doors of a house cannot be properly fixed if the foundation is unstable.
Introducing Traditional Chinese Medicine
Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) is a medical system that focuses extensively on the fundamentals of the body. This medical system originated more than 3000 years ago when there was no anatomy or chemistry or any modern experiments. “How is the body doing?” was the primary focus of the founding fathers of TCM. After 3000 years of evolution with consolidation and modification of its diagnosis and treatment, TCM became well-equipped in defining deficiencies and in treating imbalances within the human body. Our bodies can work effectively when our bodies’ imbalance is adjusted, so then the fertility-chain can work more properly and smoothly. With improvements through TCM treatments, some patients can finally conceive naturally or through IVF.
How does Traditional Chinese Medicine help with Fertility?
TCM defines a person’s health status into the following patterns --- Yin, Yang, Qi, Blood, Excessive, Deficiency, Dampness, Phlegm, and Stagnation. Each of these 9 basic patterns has its representing manifestations or symptoms/signs. These different patterns react or mingle with each other and create many complex situations that TCM refers to as “syndromes.” Whatever it may be referred to, it’s an “imbalance” of the body’s internal environment. This “imbalance” then generates issues to the organ or the related system. In severe cases, the organ or its related system can be totally dysfunctional. In gynecology, the imbalance can affect the function of the Hypothalamus – Pituitary – Ovary Axis and cause reproductive issues from irregular periods to infertility. For men, the scale of the devastation can range from low libido to failure to produce semen or absence of sperm in the semen. In order to fertilize, the ideal status of the internal environment needs to be restored so the reproductive system can be functional. A patient’s internal imbalance is often complicated and has different deficiencies and excessiveness. An experienced TCM practitioner will gather the clues from the patient’s complex symptoms and signs to define the patient’s internal imbalance and then construct a treating strategy. The treatment consists of acupuncture, Chinese herbal medicine and other modalities such as cupping, Tui Na, and Gua Sha. The treatment plan will be modified closely when the patient’s condition gradually improves. The restoration process will not just be based on the general condition; the involved system for the particular ailment will be heavily addressed during the treatment as well.
Giving New Life a Fighting Chance
If you are experiencing issues with fertility, come visit our acupuncture and Chinese medicine clinic. We recommend scheduling a free 30-minute private consultation so that your concerns and questions are answered thoroughly by one of our experienced practitioners. Even if you are already being treated with an assisted reproductive treatment such as IUI or IVF, acupuncture and Chinese medicine can boost your success rate. We promise that our practitioners will work alongside you every step of the way towards parenthood. Let us help you take control of your fertility by scheduling an appointment today!
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