Enhancing Fertility with Asian Medicine
By Maureen H. Rozenn, LAC, DAOM, PhD (c)
According to the American Society for Reproductive Medicine, approximately 3 million couples in the United States are unable to conceive after one year of trying. Asian medicine has been used to enhance fertility for over 2,000 years.
I have treated both men and women seeking to improve their fertility. A number of factors that contribute to low fertility can be addressed with acupuncture, Chinese herbal formulas, and simple lifestyle adjustments. These approaches can be used alone to improve overall health and increase fertility, or to boost the effectiveness of Western reproductive techniques.
Recently, a variety of studies have been published showing acupuncture and herbal therapyís usefulness in treating infertility. Researchers from the Weill Cornell Medical Center in New York evaluated studies on acupuncture and confirmed what I have seen in my private practice, that acupuncture can enhance fertility. Acupuncture can improve uterine blood flow, which increases the chances of an ovum implanting in the uterine wall. Hormones released during stressful situations can interrupt normal reproductive hormonal activity, and markedly decrease fertility. Acupuncture can reduce these hormones. Also, acupuncture can regulate the endocrine systems responsible for ovulation and regular menstrual cycles, even in women with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome.
In my practice, I have seen that using herbal formulas to regulate hormone levels increases the chances of conception. In Japan, researchers found that herbal treatment can decrease high levels of the hormone prolactin, which can lead to anovulation in women and low sperm production in men. In the Chinese Journal of Integrated Traditional and Western Medicine, Dr. Yu reported that 48.8% of 74 women with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome were able to conceive after treatment with Chinese herbs.
The number of couples that come to my practice wanting to combine Eastern and Western approaches to fertility is steadily increasing. Acupuncture and herbal formulas used in conjunction with Western fertility treatments can dramatically raise conception rates. In 2002, a study published in the medical journal Fertility & Sterility, showed that acupuncture, combined with assisted reproductive techniques nearly doubled the rate of pregnancy. In another study, women were given an herbal formula that has been used in fertility treatments for hundreds of years. These women had not been able to ovulate with the drug clomid. When given in conjunction with cholmid, the combination dramatically improved ovulation rates.
In the process of helping men and women accentuate their fertility, I have seen Asian medicineís value in improving overall health, increasing fertility, and boosting the effectiveness of Western reproductive techniques.
Simple techniques for enhancing fertility:
Reduce exposure to environmental toxins. Couples planning a family should eat organically and drink pure spring water.
Maintain a normal body weight. Being overweight can interfere with menís hormonal balance and being underweight can reduce sperm production. In women obesity can impair ovulation, while being underweight can stop the menstrual cycle.
No alcohol, marijuana, coffee and smoking. Use of these substances can lead to poor sperm motility, malformed sperm and low sperm count. In women smoking can alter both the cervical mucus and fallopian tube function.
Testicles temperature should not exceed 96 degrees. Avoid tight fitting underwear and hot tubs. Some studies indicate that cold baths may increase fertility.