Fertility, Preconception and IVF

Helping couples to fall pregnant is one of the great strengths of Chinese medicine.

If you are just starting out on your fertility journey or are new to Chinese medicine, start with the Preconception Program.

If you are looking for a natural, integrated system of medicine to address and balance your hormonal cycles and other health symptoms – increasing your chances of falling pregnant naturally – then the Fertility Program is for you.

If you would like acupuncture and/or Chinese herbal medicine to increase your chances of falling pregnant during invitro fertilisation (IVF) and related assisted reproductive therapies (ART), then the IVF Program will support your body through the IVF cycle, helping to balance the drug side effects and recover afterwards, as well as increasing your chances of success.

You can combine the programs in any format to suit your needs and your unique situation.

 

Preconception Program

Couples who are about to start trying are highly recommended to take three months to complete the Preconception Program.  This is so much more than just giving up alcohol and taking folic acid!

The full Program includes:

 

 

The Preconception Program is tailored to your unique situation and body condition. The aim is to clear away any pre-existing blockages and toxins by cleansing and detoxing, and then to build strength in your reproductive system and your body as a whole.

It’s great to take the time for both partners to get into the best possible condition before conceiving.  Chinese medicine recognises that a child’s health is influenced by the health of their parents, and even their grandparents and many generations before.

 

Whatever you can do now will have a positive impact on your children, your grandchildren and generations into the future.

When you think of it this way, isn’t it worth taking some time and care now, and passing on this gift to those who will follow after you?

 

It’s a good idea to include both partners in the program, and you can adjust it to suit each partner.  For example, the woman might come every week for acupuncture, taking Chinese herbs and supplements, while the man might focus on taking Chinese herbs and supplements at home.

Taking time to prepare during preconception is not an “alternative” idea. For example, click here to see the IVF Australia preconception page.  Those basic suggestions are very helpful, but the Chinese medicine Preconception Program goes much deeper to address your unique constitution and correct imbalances on large and subtle levels.

 

When you were growing in your mother’s womb, all of the eggs that are in your ovaries right now were being formed, alongside every other cell in your body.  So your mother’s health was the environment in which your future children’s health was being set.

Her health directly influenced her future grandchildren, just as your health now will directly influence your future grandchildren.

Taking time to cleanse, nourish and strengthen before falling pregnant is the best gift you can pass on to the generations that follow.

 

 

Fertility Program

The Fertility Program is recommended for couples who have been attempting to fall pregnant for some time and are seeking natural means to correct imbalances and increase their chances of natural conception.

As in the Preconception Program, the full Fertility program includes:

 

Ideally, both partners follow the Program.  We can develop a treatment plan that suits your budget and lifestyle.

 

 

Click here for a Sydney Morning Herald article about Chinese and complementary medicine for fertility.

What I love about the Chinese medicine natural fertility program is that your body becomes stronger and better balanced, with more natural and regular hormonal cycles.  You feel better, and if you are charting your temperatures (see below) you can see the positive changes on your charts.

It is important to include the male partner where possible, as male factors can contribute to conception problems in about 50% of couples. See the Men’s Health section of this site for test parameters.

If there are problems on sperm test results, then targeted Chinese herbal medicine prescriptions are used to address the imbalance.  However, even where there are no problems found on the test results, Chinese medicine is still very beneficial because the Western medicine tests don’t address energy, vigour and vitality.

Through a Chinese medicine diagnosis, we can often find areas that are out of balance and work to address these.  The benefit is that you will often feel better as a result, and even though the improvements in the “life energy” in the sperm can’t be measured in a test, these methods have been used for many centuries in China and over time have been found to be very effective.

 

 

A study in the academic journal Complementary Therapies in Medicine found that Chinese herbal medicine therapy resulted in 3.5 times greater likelihood of pregnancy over a 4-month period compared to Western medicine drug therapy.

When comparing Chinese herbal medicine therapy to in vitro fertilisation (IVF), the clinical pregnancy rate was 50% for Chinese herbal therapy versus 30% for IVF.

The authors conclude that their study “suggests that management of female infertility with Chinese Herbal Medicine can improve pregnancy rates 2-fold within a 4 month period compared with Western Medical fertility drug therapy or IVF. Assessment of the quality of the menstrual cycle, integral to TCM diagnosis, appears to be fundamental to successful treatment of female infertility.”
Reference:  http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0965229911001294

 

IVF program

Clinical trials suggest acupuncture can greatly improve your chances of conceiving when you undertake In-Vitro Fertilisation (IVF) – in some cases doubling the success rates.  Most of the research has focused on the day of embryo transfer (ET).

Click here for an article in The Australian about acupuncture to improve IVF success rates.

I usually recommend that women and couples undergoing IVF treatment do some kind of combination program (see below). This allows you to:

  • build up your resources before the IVF procedures
  • alleviate the affects of stress during the cycle
  • recover from egg pickup procedure
  • boost the success rate of embryo transfer
  • repair and replenish after the IVF drugs

 

Herbal medicine taken after the embryo transfer is based on classical formulas that are traditionally used to prevent miscarriage and secure the pregnancy.

 

 

Combining the programs

Women and couples often choose to combine the Programs.  For example, while taking a restorative break from IVF cycles, it can be good to get your body back on track by following the Preconception Program to nourish and restore your energy reserves and regulate your hormones.  Your combination might look like this: 
IVF Program –> Preconception –> IVF Program.

Those who come to the clinic after having attempted on their own for some time will often opt to start with the Preconception Program and take a break from attempting for three months while they detox and refresh.  This can be a welcome relief from the pressure of longer-term fertility issues.  They are then in a great position to get off to a great start on the Fertility Program.
Preconception Program –> Fertility Program

Other couples decide to do the Preconception and/or Fertility Program for a period of time to get their bodies into the best possible condition, followed by a planned IVF cycle:
Preconception –> Fertility –> IVF Program

There is no “right way” – just what’s right for you.  Please give me a call if you’d like to discuss your own situation or to come in for a no-obligation consultation and treatment to find out more.

 

 

 

Basal Body Temperature (BBT) Charts

For any of these programs, you might find it useful to chart your basal body temperature (BBT).  Charting helps your acupuncturist to fine-tune your treatment so it targets the areas that are out of balance.  It is also really helpful for you to follow your progress as you go through the Programs as you can see the positive effects.

This can be very motivating for women who have been attempting pregnancy for several months, as it might be hard to feel the effects of your Chinese medicine treatment on a day to day basis.  However, when you can look over your charts and see the positive changes, you realise that the treatment is bringing you back to health and balance.

Click here to read an article about charting on our Blog.

 

 

Fertility articles from the Blog

Fertility diet and lifestyle tips
Drinking enough water
How to dress in Winter to improve fertility
Tips for Winter warmth and Chai recipe (good for Kidney energy = fertility)
Recipe for Goji Berry Crumble (Gojis are good for fertility)
Charting your Basal Body Temperature