Just as it is vital to lay solid foundations when building a new house or cultivate the soil before planting seeds in a vegetable garden, your health also needs to be in prime condition to be able to conceive successfully. A preconception care routine can also help guard against miscarriage and other pregnancy complications.
Studies show that on average it can take 90 days to influence changes in a woman’s menstrual cycle, about 150 days for an egg to develop from a resting state follicle into a mature egg ready for ovulation and approximately 90 days for a sperm to grow and mature.
With these factors in mind, it is advised to begin treatment for 3-6 months before you start trying to conceive or undergo IUI or IVF. Many people however don’t find out about the benefits of TCM for fertility until they have already started trying to conceive or have started Western fertility treatments, in these cases it is best to start treatment as soon as possible.
It is important to reassure all clients that in acupuncture treatments related to improving fertility, acupuncture needles are NEVER placed anywhere near the genital area, most are on the lower leg, feet, wrists, back or abdomen.
Treatments can address gynaecological conditions that reduce fertility and impede conception, such as:
- Irregular menstrual cycles
- Heavy or scant menstrual bleeding
- Painful periods (dysmenorrhea)
- PMS (Mood swings, agitation, frustration, sadness, breast tenderness, headaches)
- Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS)
Acupuncture and natural medicine can impact the menstrual cycle to improve hormone regulation, ovulation, endometrial thickening, follicle maturation, blood flow to the uterus and alleviate PMS and period pain.
When combined with basal body temperature (BBT) charting, ovulation tracking using urine test kits and monitoring of fertile mucous (Billings method), a clearer internal picture can be seen to monitor progress.
Approximately 4% of men have a low sperm count and almost 3% are sterile. Over the last 50 years there appears to be a global trend toward a decline in sperm count, volume, motility and morphology. Studies in this area are controversial as there are many factors that affect the reported outcome of sperm quality including geological location, ethnicity, fertility history, increase in testicular cancers, patient selection criteria, and the mathematical statistics used.
Traditional Chinese Medicine has been shown to significantly:
- Increase sperm production
Arch Androl. 1997 Sep-Oct;39(2):155-61
Andrologia. 2000 Jan;32(1):31-9
Zhongguo Zhen Jiu. 2008 Nov;28(11):805-7
- Increase the ratio of healthy to abnormal sperm
Fertil Steril. 2005 Jul;84(1):141-7
Asian J Androl. 2003 Dec;5(4):345-8
- Improve sperm movement (motility)
J Huazhong Univ Sci Technolog Med Sci. 2002;22(3):228-30
Fertil Steril. 2009 Oct;92(4):1340-3
- Increase blood flow to the testes
Fertil Steril. 2008 Nov;90(5):1732-8