Couples struggling with infertility are faced with a lot of difficult choices. One of the more difficult choices can be deciding how much Western Medical intervention you are comfortable with financially, physically and emotionally.
The path of Western Medical intervention for most couples usually goes something like this: hormone testing, sperm analysis, 3+ cycles with clomid, hysterosalpingogram (HSG), urologist examination, intrauterine insemination (IUI) and In vitro fertilization (IVF).
For some of these couples, the testing will result in a diagnosis, and hopefully a treatment is available to address said diagnosis, restoring fertile potential. For other couples, the testing will not uncover a diagnosis. These patients will most likely still be put on the same track as couples with a diagnosis, and usually for good reason.
Procedures such as IUI, and IVF do not “treat” infertility in the traditional sense, meaning they are not correcting an underlying cause for infertility. Instead, these procedures are a “strategy” for dealing with infertility, meaning they can bypass some known causes for infertility. Additionally, procedures such as IVF stimulate the woman’s body so that she might produce as many eggs in one cycle, as would normally take her up to a year. This increased chance for pregnancy in one cycle obviously has some benefits! Chinese Medicine, on the other hand, treats infertility by improving the overall health of the patient to improve their fertile potential.
Improving your overall health not only improves your fertile potential when trying to conceive naturally, but also when using a Western Medical “strategy” for pregnancy. A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis published by BMJ in 2008 concluded, “Current preliminary evidence suggests that acupuncture given with embryo transfer improves rates of pregnancy and live birth among women undergoing in vitro fertilization.” For more information, see our Resources page.
I am always excited with the opportunity to use the best of what Chinese Medicine has to offer for my patients who are also utilizing the best of what Western Medicine has to offer. So, for me, the choice between Western or Eastern medicine, when faced with infertility, is no choice at all!