The Oriental medical alternative to In Vitro Fertilization (IVF)
According to the latest figures from Australia, and New Zealand, in 2011, the success rate (live birth) per In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) cycle was only 17%(1). In addition, the required constant hormonal treatments can be very physically and mentally taxing, and it is quite common for women to have up to seven cycles of IVF before they either succeed, or finally give up the procedure which can cost up to $10,000 per cycle.
Of course, when a physical obstruction is stopping a woman getting pregnant, and a surgical procedure is required, Western medicine should always be the first port of call. Otherwise many couples are now considering a very effective, natural, and much cheaper alternative which had been able to produce hundreds of millions of healthy babies for many centuries.
Traditional Chinese Medicine has been treating gynaecological dysfunctions with acupuncture and herbal remedies for over 2500 years. In the field of reproductive medicine, hormonal problems are seen as the reflection of an imbalance which is affecting the body’s capacity of producing a child. The Chinese herbal medicine, taken in capsule form, is classified according to its qualities, and actions on the different organs of the body. Some of the herbs act on the secretion of cervical mucus to facilitate the sperm journey to fallopian tubes; others stimulate the uterus, or increase the production of the hormone progesterone in the luteal phase.
Western reproductive medicine is very skilled at navigating the obstacles which are stopping the pregnancy, without attempting to resolve the cause of these dysfunctions.
As an example, if a woman is unable to produce a sufficient amount of the hormone estrogen in her ovaries, modern medical technology can introduce synthetic estrogen into her body, but that synthetic estrogen doesn’t provide the same protection from disease. This can increase the risk of breast, and uterine cancers.
Also, introducing extra supply of artificial estrogen sends a message to the brain that producing these natural hormones is on longer needed. So the body’s ability to produce gradually decreases and more synthetic estrogen has to be injected to keep the system working.
In contrast, the Chinese herbs used in medications for estrogen deficiency stimulates the brain to increase the production of these natural hormones.
Oriental medicine treats infertility by regulating the body’s normal response. While the process is a lot slower, and a minimum of three months of weekly treatments is often required to achieve pregnancy. It is a lot gentler, cost effective, and in many cases a lot more effective.
(1) the conversation.com.au/27/7/2014)
Olivier Lejus MHSC.BHSc. is a registered acupuncturist and Chinese herbalist from Sydney specializing in infertility.