If getting pregnancy has been a challenge for you and your partner, you’re not alone. Today there is a 1 in 8 chance you either know someone with infertility or you are experiencing the challenges of infertility yourself.
If you have been trying for some time, if you are just embarking down the assisted pathway, or if you may have had multiple assisted experiences – acupuncture and Chinese herb medicine support may be an excellent way to help to bring you into better balance, wherever you may be in your fertility journey.
What causes infertility in women?
Disorders of the reproductive and endocrinal systems are common causes of female infertility. These disorders can be either structural or dysfunctional. Problems with ovulation account for most cases of infertility in women.
The common reasons include:
- Long-term stress/depression affecting the ovarian function to cause ovarian mal-development, or early failure. Some young females suffer from amenorrhea when they undergo PHD study, or high degree courses, or after a severe accident.
- Excessive physical work or training during· puberty causes mal development in the ovaries or uterus resulting in rnenoxenia, often seen in some athletes and dancers.
- Excessive use of the contraceptive pill causes imbalance of Oestrogen & Progesterone causing their ovarian activity decreased.
- Marriage or pregnancy in later ages.
- Taking drugs, or excessive alcohol intake.
We will use the TCM diagnostic criteria of history, looking at the character of your periods since puberty, including your contraceptive and conception history, as well as any assisted treatment you may be having/had, all taken in the context of your medical history. Then in combination with your signs and symptoms (in particular, how your period is behaving now), and in combination with our Chinese diagnostics of pulse and tongue and palpation, we will determine how to treat you to improve ovulation.
Our aim is to help to bring you into a better state of health for conception and gestation, optimising you for pregnancy and parenthood.
How can Acupuncture and Chinese herb Medicine help boost fertility patients?
The menstrual cycle is complex and is controlled by many different glands and the hormones that these glands produce. For example, the hypothalamus within the brain sends signals to the pituitary gland which secretes hormones into your bloodstream and alerts the ovaries to produce the hormones oestrogen and progesterone.
The menstrual cycle acts as a biofeedback system in that the hormones, glands and organs are affected by each other’s actions. Therefore, if you are trying to conceive and haven’t been able to, or are experiencing any menstrual or hormonal irregularities, regulating your cycle and balancing your hormones are key to your fertility health.
Acupuncture and Chinese herb Medicine help women enhance their reproductive potential by harmonising the endocrine system, which regulates the menstrual cycle. Without ovulation, there are no eggs to be fertilized.
A woman’s menstrual cycle can be broken down into 4 phases:
Menstrual phase: This phase, which involves the shedding of the lining of the womb, occurs in response to the drop in oestrogen and progesterone levels when a pregnancy doesn’t occur that cycle. On average, a typical period can last anywhere from 2-7 days.
From a TCM perspective during this part of the cycle, it’s important to ensure good quality of Qi and blood, support the heart-blood and uterine connection and help manage the amount of blood flow.
Follicular phase: This is the time between the first day of the period and ovulation. The pituitary gland releases follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) which stimulates the ovaries to mature follicles – each follicle can contain an egg, of which the healthiest selected follicle will grow and mature. As the follicles grow, they make oestrogen, which thickens and develops the lining of the womb.
During this part of your cycle, Acupuncture points and Chinese herbal Medicine are used to help nourish the blood of the liver and kidneys, support the ovaries and help build an ideal environment for fertility. The Chinese herbal formula, Liu Wei Di Huang Wan is a wonderful nourishing formula for this.
Ovulation phase: This is when an egg is released from the ovary. Your LH and oestrogen levels will peak before ovulation, and then drop shortly after. The ‘LH surge,’ detected by home urinary LH testing kits. The egg released should be picked by the fallopian tube in order to meet the sperm, get fertilised and form an embryo. The fertilised egg (embryo) will travel to the uterus for implantation.
This phase of the menstrual cycle is the ‘fertile window’ of knowing when you are ovulating and the optimum time for getting pregnant. The average life span of the egg is only 24 hours so in this limited time if the egg and sperm don’t unite, the egg will disintegrate.
For this part of the phase in TCM we would help nourish and strengthen the blood and essence of the spleen and the kidneys. The rising levels of oestrogen cause the hypothalamus to release a chemical called gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) which prompts the pituitary gland to produce elevated levels of the luteinizing hormone (LH) and FSH. It is the surge of the LH that triggers ovulation causing the mature egg to burst from the follicle, which transforms into a ruptured structure called the corpus luteum.
Luteal phase: This is the time between ovulation and menstruation, when the hormone progesterone prepares the already thickened lining of the womb, ready to receive a fertilised egg. Progesterone is produced by the ‘corpus luteum’, which forms from the ovulated follicle. If a pregnancy doesn’t occur, the corpus luteum breaks down and the progesterone levels drop. This leads to the breakdown and eventual shedding of the lining of the womb, known as your period.
If there is a chance that implantation has occurred, Acupuncture points and Chinese herbal Medicine can help support Qi and blood flow to the uterus as well as help ready the endometrial lining for implantation. If there’s no chance of pregnancy, liver Qi begins to rise meaning some PMS symptoms can occur so Acupuncture points that will help move the Qi and invigorate the blood would be used.
Fertility struggles and stress really can come hand in hand and for anyone treading the path of assisted fertility, stepping into the unknown and putting so much hope and trust into the hands of specialists can increase the load.
How can Acupuncture and Chinese herb Medicine support IVF treatment?
Planning on having IVF? IVF means fertilization outside of the body which is often used when a woman’s fallopian tubes are blocked or when a man produces too few sperm. IVF is the most effective assisted reproductive technology (ART); however, it is very costly and success rates vary and depend on many factors. such as: age of the partners, reason for infertility.
The data show that women in their 20s and early 30s who used ART had the most success with pregnancies, but success rates declined steadily once a woman reached her mid-30s because of the declines of health of a woman’s eggs with age.
Are you frustrated with high FSH, or waiting for donor eggs? Acupuncture can reduce your FSH level and offer you a great chance of conceiving your own genetic child.
Suffering from recurrent miscarriage? We can help you find a way through!
Acupuncture May Help Increase IVF Success Rates by 65%. – The Guardian
Within the programme of acupuncture, we suggest sessions at various key times during the IVF process:
- In the lead up to your cycle
- Pre- and post-embryo transfer
- The Two-Week Wait
During the 2 weeks wait which is often an anxious time we offer women a very gentle treatment for stress and relaxation between days 7 and 10. These are very comforting sessions which help to support your body and relieve tension and anxiety whilst you await your pregnancy result.
Our dedicated team of acupuncturists are highly experienced in treating women who are having IVF. Research suggests that acupuncture may help in various areas relating to assisted conception, including during the lead-up to a cycle and immediately before and after embryo transfer.
We believe that it contributes to our very high levels of IVF success. It’s important to make sure you are treated according to your own individual circumstances. On your first visit your practitioner will take into consideration your medical history and lifestyle, as well as making observational diagnoses. Our clinical questionnaires are carefully compiled to provide our practitioners with this important information
What causes infertility in men?
Infertility is not always a woman’s problem. In about one-third of cases infertility due to the men (male factors). Infertility in men is most often caused by:
- problems making sperm — producing too few sperm or none at all.
- problems with the sperm’s ability to reach the egg and fertilize it — abnormal sperm shape or structure prevent it from moving correctly.
What Herbal Medicines can improve quality and quantity of sperms?
Wuziyanzong Wan and Zhibao Jiaonang are most famous herbal medicine for Impaired production or function of sperm. These products are carefully prepared by using various kinds of natural Chinese herbs and adopting the ancient royal secret recipe and have an excellent efficacy in strengthening body function, help in renal insufficiency, replenishing active energy to improve quality and quantity of sperms.
“I have been trying for a baby for 5 and half years, also I have already had two courses of clomiphene but it has nothing happened. My partner and I were desperate to conceive a child, and within one course of CHINESE HERBS and ACUPUNCTURE I am pregnant!!! Now I am 10 weeks pregnant, everything is going well. Thank you so so much!” – E. Vinandy
“Dear Dr Amy, When I first came to you, I felt little hope that I would become a mother as I got PCOS & endometriosis. Thank you for your skilful treatment, positive attitude, and professional support. Thanks, above all, for helping us to become parents. MAL is a joy in our lives. We wish you and your family all the best now and always.” T.R.M Family
“Dr Amy, Thank you so much for all your help. Thanks for the advice, for the treatments, and always listening to my worries. Baby is coming at last!!! It would not be possible if you had not been there to help us through it. You have always been patient, supportive. Every treatment I had with you has been a wonderful journey towards motherhood. Now my eight years nightmare finally came to end!!! All the best! and may you continue to be a blessing to other moms, like you have been to me. THANKS SO MUCH! REALLY APPRECIATE IT.” S.H.F family
“I had been trying to conceive for 3 years without success and was due to be put forward for fertility treatment as tests had shown no known cause. I decided to try acupuncture in the hope I would not need to have the invasive I.V.F. I had 4 months of weekly acupuncture sessions plus herbal teas and noticed a change in my periods quite quickly. I am now 14 weeks pregnant! And truly owe this to the doctor. I would highly recommend Dr Amy to anybody who is struggling to conceive. Big thanks to all” E. Smith
“After trying for a baby for 8 years, one month of pills and acupuncture I fell pregnant. Still can’t believe it worked!” An x
“Thank you sooo much with all of your help with myself and xx. We are sure we couldn’t have done it without you look forward to you looking after us both. Lots of love.” Gosia and xx
“Thank you so much for your support + guidance during my IVF treatment. You made it much easier, and your acupuncture is fantastic! Your knowledge really reassured me at times when I was worried. Thank you! Lots of love.” C xx + A xx