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The Treatment of Infertility with Chinese Medicine|
Having children can be one of the most fulfilling experiences in life. And yet for some couples, something that seems so natural and right, can be very difficult to manifest. In fact human reproduction is a somewhat random process. Even in young healthy fertile couples, getting pregnant can be challenging and stressful.
Though a woman can be considered fertile from the time menses begins until it ends at menopause, optimum fertility is between 21 – 25 years of age. Studies show that during this time of peak fertility, even under the best of circumstances, a healthy and fertile couple has only a 20% chance of becoming pregnant each month. This means that healthy and fertile couples cannot necessarily get pregnant as easily as they may have expected. In women, after 25 years of age, fertility begins to drop, so that by the age of 30, a woman is 30% less fertile than at 25. At 32 years of age, the ovaries of a healthy woman begin to physically decline. And by 35 years of age, the functioning of the ovaries has declined by almost 50% from their period of peak fertility. By 40 years of age, a woman has only about a 5% chance to conceive each month. And after 40, the possibility of a woman being able to conceive continues to further decline.
This becomes an important consideration for those women who plan to have children and are postponing this until later in life. Of course there are those women for whom getting pregnant appears to be easy. However, for many this is not the case, especially after 32 years of age.
Men are fertile from puberty throughout adulthood. Some men can even father children into their advanced years. However studies show that approximately 15-20% of all cohabiting couples are infertile. In almost 50% of cases, it is the male factor that is responsible for the infertility. In recent years there has been a steady reduction in the quantity and vitality of male sperm. Sperm count and motility are both very vital to fertility, as there is a lot that must be done in order for one sperm to fertilize an egg. There are many causes of male infertility, such as: infections such as mumps and prostatitis, physical injury, exposure to toxic substances or drugs, varicoceles, STD’s and even stress and cigarette smoking are known to diminish sperm count and motility. In addition, sperm abnormalities can be congenital as well, however, for many men there is no apparent cause of the infertility.
Chinese Medicine treats infertility in women by harmonizing the hormonal rhythms of the hypothalamic - pituitary - ovarian axis, balancing the menstrual cycle, and energizing the reproductive system. Chinese Medicine is effective in treating infertility whether it is due to anovulation, luteal phase defect, mid-cycle bleeding, habitual miscarriage, or complicated by such conditions as: premature ovarian failure, endometriosis, polycystic ovarian syndrome, endocrine dyscrasia, and immune infertility.
Chinese Medicine can treat male infertility as well. Chinese Medicine can increase testosterone, improve the production of sperm and semen, and improve the vitality of sperm. Chinese Medicine treats disorders of sperm morphology, motility, and density, azoospermia, and infertility due to varicose, and uro-genital infection.
One recent study came to this conclusion: “Male infertility is a problem and there is little available treatment. Acupuncture may be a possible alternative or addition to these [conventional] treatments.”
Chinese Medicine also provides an effective method to help couples who are not diagnosed as infertile, yet they are experiencing difficulty with getting pregnant. In this case, Chinese Medicine can enhance the functions of the reproductive system to support conception. Additionally, Chinese Medicine can help couples who want to explore other options before turning to interventions such as Assisted Reproductive Technologies. Many studies from China and Europe show that the success of Assisted Reproductive Technologies, such as In-vitro Fertilization, are significantly improved when combined with Chinese Medicine protocols. These protocols are specifically designed to integrate with, and support, modern reproductive technologies.
When treating infertility, Chinese Medicine works by supporting the natural wisdom of the body to regulate the hormonal and endocrine systems, and to vitalize the reproductive system. Chinese Medicine accomplishes this through natural means, which harness and focus the bountiful vitality which is inherent within every person’s body, mind, and spirit.
Robert Lawrence LAc. has completed advanced training in reproductive medicine with:
· The Berkley Center for Reproductive Medicine
· Bob Flaws and Blue Poppy Enterprises
For more information, please see LINKS.