Nutrients for Female fertility Pregnancy, Breast feeding and beyond
This nutrient is important for the correct formation of foetal blood, brain, eyes, bones and an overall healthy growth rate. It is also vital for a healthy immune system, mucous membranes, for general health and fertility. However many women do not realise how important iron is very important in fertility health. Women with low iron stores could suffer anovulation (no ovulation). In a Harvard University study of 18,500 women, women supplementing iron were 40% less likely to suffer from fertility problems.
During pregnancy there is an increased need for iron due to greater red blood cell mass and plasma volume. Iron should be increased in the 2nd and 3rd trimesters as the foetus will draw on the mother’s iron stores to prepare itself for the 4-6 months after birth (because breast milk is low in iron). Deficiency increases the risk of anaemia, pre-term delivery and low birth weight
Women with low iron are suggested to supplement 10-20mcg daily, however if you are prone to constipation a liquid supplement is more gentle on the stomach; we suggest capsules by bio-ceuticals or liquid spatone.
Also note iron will not be absorbed with calcium, so if taking a supplement make sure to separate these. Inorganic iron supplements can bind up in the gut and cause constipation; they also destroy Vitamin E and compete for absorption with zinc; therefore, use of organic iron supplements and chelates are preferable. Vitamin C enhances the absorption of iron.
Natural sources include green leafy vegetables, dried beans, black strap molasses, lean meat (organic/chemical free), dried apricots, almonds, egg yolk, seaweed, wheat germ, parsley, pumpkin, sesame and sunflower seeds.
Folic acid (B9) and B vitamins
Essential for RNA & DNA formation, it is the most important pre-conception nutrient. Supplementation at least three months prior to conception is suggested, and the need doubles in the first trimester. This is especially so for women who have been on the Pill, as it depletes Vitamin B9 in the body. Prior to conception, make sure your Vitamin B9 intake is around 10mgs per day. During early pregnancy, 25-50mgs of B9 taken 3 times per day can reduce the risk of morning sickness.
Deficiency can lead to infertility and spina bifida. When increasing B9 please note the vitamin is water soluble means that the body only has a limited capacity to store B vitamins (except B12 and folic acid). A person with a poor diet can end up with a deficiency of B vitamins. Delicate means that cooking and processing can reduce amounts in foods; highly processed foods like white flour, have far less than wholegrain counterparts.
Natural sources include dark green leafy vegetables, i.e., uncooked spinach, kale, beet greens; asparagus, broccoli, corn, lima beans, parsnip, mung beans, soy beans; wheat germ; oranges, pineapple, banana. Most of these foods need to be eaten fresh and raw if possible, as B9 is destroyed by heat.
Vitamin D – The sunshine vitamin
I recently saw a new client who works in child care; I asked her if she had any known deficiencies of vitamins. She was not sure so I suggested a blood test with her GP testing all major vitamins including vitamin D, she assured me that her vitamin D would be fine since she spent part of her day outside with the children. Unfortunately she was low in Vitamin D.
Vitamin D has now been strongly linked with temporary infertility. Most of us work and play indoors especially during the colder months. We always advise clients to test their vitamin D levels since 23-49% of Australian’s have a deficiency, and obesity can increase the risk. 10 minutes a day in morning and afternoon sunlight can help correct a slight deficiency however supplements are advised for levels under 50. Supplement 100mcg or 4000iu daily.
Omega 3 fatty acids
Omega 3 is needed for the correct hormone balance; including prostaglandins, increases cervical mucus, helps to promote ovulation and increase the blood flow to the reproductive organs. In pregnancy it aids in the development of the foetal brain and nervous systems. Omega 3 fatty acids contain 2 acids that are essential to health; EPA and DHA. Low levels of DHA, has been linked to depression and other mental health issues.
One study where couples where given 1000mg of omega 3 had a 76.5% verses without omega 50.4% fertilisation rate. Considering that only half of all follicles collected commonly fertilise this could greatly improve the number of viable embryos for transfer.
During pregnancy, a lack of DHA may be associated with premature birth, low birth weight, chromosomal defects, spontaneous abortion, hyperactivity and asthma in children. A recommended daily dose of 500-1000mg daily should be supplemented.
Natural Sources include deep sea ocean/cold water fish (ie. salmon, cod, herring, trout), mono-unsaturated cold-pressed oils (flaxseed especially, walnuts, hemp and chia seeds.
Assists with conception, a healthy pregnancy and regulates oestrogen levels, improves circulation and protects against varicose veins and haemorrhoids. Vitamin E also helps in the absorption of essential fatty acids and has antioxidant actions as well. Deficiency can lead to spontaneous abortion or cystic fibrosis (with selenium). In later pregnancy Vitamin E will help facilitate an easy delivery.
Sources include sunflower seeds, almonds, organic cold-pressed wheat germ oil, cold-pressed vegetable, seed and nut oils. Best not heated or cooked, i.e., use in salad dressing.
Vital for the number and quality of the ovum (eggs) produced the fertilisation process, and the early development of the embryo.
Natural sources include deep sea fish, tofu, legumes ie. lentils, soy beans, kidney beans, eggs (free range), lean organic chemical-free meat and poultry, nuts and seeds, sprouted grains.
Essential for the development of the baby’s bones, formulation of nerve tissue and muscles; necessary for controlling blood clotting; makes your fertility mucus ‘stretchy’ and therefore aids ability of sperm to swim through it; aids uterine muscle tone. The foetus requires roughly 30g of elemental calcium to be deposited in the skeleton by the time of delivery (200mg during the 3rd trimester).
If inadequate in the mother’s diet, the supply to the foetus will occur at the expense of the maternal skeleton. Therefore, insufficient calcium supplies during pregnancy and lactation may result in maternal bone loss, reduced breast milk calcium secretion, or impaired infant bone development. If the mother’s diet includes a high proportion of processed foods, soft drinks, high red meat intake, sugar, salt, and alcohol; if she smokes, does not exercise, and consumes caffeine and tea, this will reduce the absorption of calcium. Deficiency can lead to nervous tension, fluid retention, and hypertensive disorders and toxaemia in pregnancy.
Sources include broccoli, cauliflower, soy beans, almonds, sesame seeds, tofu, leafy greens, Brazil nuts, sunflower seeds, unhulled tahini, black strap molasses and kelp (other seaweeds). Dairy foods are another source of calcium; however, since they are not as easily absorbed, it is best to vary your sources of calcium as widely as possible. If you are prone to any sort of mucus congestion such as hayfever, sinus, asthma, recurrent colds/flu or other chest infections, it is best to avoid dairy foods as a source of calcium.
Royal jelly is a natural bee product; it is rich in amino acids, contains high levels of vitamin D and E, calcium and iron. It is a super food for fertility and been used in Chinese culture for many years. Consider this; the queen bee is only feed royal jelly throughout her lifetime which she will need to lay millions of eggs up to 2000 per day.
Royal jelly has been shown to help balance hormones and increase propensity to mimic human oestrogen, which may help those that suffer from low oestrogen levels. Some evidence exists that royal jelly might also;
- Improve egg and sperm health
- Increase libido
- Reduce inflammation
- Support the immune system
- Decrease signs of aging
- Helps women with irregular cycles
PLEASE DO NOT TAKE IF ASTHMATIC OR ALLERGIES TO BEE’S
CoQ10 is a mitochondrial enzyme. It does multiple jobs in our cells; 1) anti-oxidant, 2) energy production and 3) gene regulation. CoQ10 is the most basic energy currency of our body. Our body makes a huge amount of its own CoQ10, but this ability decreases as we age beyond 35 years.
CoQ10 can be absorbed through supplements and evidence is slowly being accumulated that it could possibly boost a women’s egg health and IVF success rates. It is strongly suggested women older than 35 years wishing to conceive either through IVF or naturally supplement 100-200mg daily preferably in a gel capsule.
Clients who have been diagnosed with PCOS can supplement with Chromium and magnesium to help maintain glycaemic control in addition to a low GI diet. Suggested chromium supplementation is between 200-800mcg daily and magnesium between 400-800 mcg daily.
FERTILITY FOODS AND OTHER IMPORTANT INFORMATION
Consume fresh foods that are in season. It is also important that most of your food is organic. If you find that getting organic food is difficult for you, wash all of your vegetables and fruit with a solution of 1/3 cup vinegar + 3/4 cup of water, to ensure that all pesticides and chemicals used in the soil are washed off. Limit the amount of dairy and wheat in your diet. A great company to get organic or fresh vegetables delivered to home is farmer’s direct; www.aussiefarmers.com.au
Protein – eat 60g (grams) daily equivalent to 2x100g portion of meat per day
Proteins Amount of protein per amount of food
- Egg 6g per egg
- Lean meat, fish, poultry 25-30g per 100g portion
- Milk 8-9g per 250ml
- Yoghurt 8-10g per 250ml
- Cheddar cheese 7g per 25g
- Nuts and seeds 2-3g per Tablespoon
- Most fruits 1g per fruit
- Kidney beans 15g per 200g
- Tofu 10g per 100grams
- Lentils 9g per 120g
- Cooked soy beans 28.62g per cup
- LSA mix, flaxseed oil, tablespoon pumpkin seeds, evening primrose oil, oily fish, salmon, herring, avocado, etc.
- eat 4-5 servings daily
Fats – eat 40g daily
Vegetables and fruit
Reduce dairy intake to 1 serving per day, yogurt is the best source of calcium from cow’s milk. Try coconut yogurt available from health foods stores; great for people sensitive to lactose. Consider using almond milk to replace regular milk. Other calcium sources include broccoli, cauliflower, soy beans, almonds, sesame seeds, tofu, leafy greens, Brazil nuts, sunflower seeds, unhulled tahini, black strap molasses and kelp (other seaweeds).
Many women ask which herbal tea is ok during conception, pregnancy and breastfeeding. During conception women can use raspberry leaf tea and chaste berry to aid in conception. However during early pregnancy (1st trimester) it is recommended that women pick the following teas; Dandelion, ginger, peppermint, fruit teas (orange or lemon peel), Jasmine, lemon balm, rose hips, citrus, spearmint, or fennel.
During the last trimester after 35 weeks women should start raspberry leaf tea in preparation for labour. Raspberry leaf tea can also be drunk after birth to help restore uterine shape and encourage discharge of clots. Remember we can make you are personalised Chinese tea for helping with increasing breast milk and mastitis. Other options include dandelion tea.
Caffeine and alcohol
It is best to minimise both caffeine and alcohol consumption but not to cut out all together until pregnant. However caffeine has various different sources; black tea and green tea are much healthier sources than coffee. Minimise alcohol intake to 1-2 glasses per week.
8 glasses of filtered water every day
We recommend women achieve 8-9 hours of sleep per night. Ideally between the hours of 10pm and 7am for at least 3-4 days per week. Shift workers need to discuss extra nutritionals such as melatonin that will assist with your acupuncturist.
Suggested supplements for all women;
- Multivitamin; In Natal by Bio Ceuticals
- Fish oils; Ultraclean EPA/DHA by Bio Ceuticals
If deficiencies exist;
- Vitamin D; D3 capsules or D3 forte drops by Bio Ceuticals
- Iron; liquid iron
- CoQ10 100mg by Bio Ceuticals
- Royal jelly 1000mg daily preferably from an Australian source. Fresh royal jelly is available but must be refrigerated.
- Chromium starting at 200mg daily
- Magnesium starting at 400mg daily
For women on IVF or older age group;
“Women seven and men eight” is the Chinese statement on the growth cycle of human being from the “Yellow Emperor’s Canon of Internal Medicine“- The “Bible” of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM).
That is, the number of women’s life cycle is seven and the number of men’s life cycle is eight. Every seven or eight years, women or men’s life change.The 7 years life cycle is so obvious for woman, and her fertility status changes every seven years too.
The physical change of women occurs obviously every seven years; and men’s change occurs every eight years. – “Yellow Emperor’s Canon of Internal Medicine”
7 year old:
A moman’s kidney energy growing strong, teeth change and hair grows longer and stronger. (the 1st 7 years).
Kidney is a special term in Traditional Chinese Medicine. It not only has the function of controlling the urinary system, but also has a very important role – control the developing, growing, and reproduction. In terms of reproduction, you can think Kidney as a “Small Kidney”- the ovaries or testis.
At the age of 7, a woman’s reproductive system start to develop.
14 year old:
Her menstruation appears as the Ren meridian (the sea of Yin/Essence) flows and the Qi and blood in the Chong meridian (the sea of blood) becomes prosperous, she can have a child. (2nd 7 years)
At the age of 14, her menstruation appears and she is able to have a child. In Traditional Chinese Medicine, the age of menarche is one important factor to help make diagnosis. If menarche is later than 14 year old, often indicate lower fertility energy.
21 year old:
Her kidney energy is balanced, her adult teeth completely developed and her body grows to full height. (3rd 7 years)
A woman’s energy especially fertility energy is full at the age of 21.
28 years old:
Her bones and muscles are strong, her hair grow to full length, her body is at optimal condition. (4th 7 years)
From the age 21 to 28, a women’s fertility energy reach the peak. This is the best time in her life to have children.
35 year old:
Her peak condition declines gradually. Her energy in Yangming meridian declines. Her face starts wither and her hair starts to fall. (5th 7 years)
From 35 year old, she start to have wrinkles on the face, and her general energy and fertility start to decline. She still able to have children.
42 year old:
Sanyang energy declines. Her face wanes and she starts to have white hair. (6th 7 years)
From the age of 42, her physical energy and fertility energy declines and difficult to conceive.
49 year old:
The Ren meridian (Conception Vessel) and Chong meridian vital energy declines, her menstruation dried up, her physique turns old and feeble; She is no longer to conceive. (7th 7 years)
From the 7-year-life cycle, we can see that the good age for a woman to have children is from 21 to 35. And the best age is around 28 year old.
Note: Aphra may not accept these research as evidence. You should consult your treating practitioners about how acupuncture may be able to help you.
Reviews of Acupuncture Chinese medicine for IVF Support
The effects of acupuncture on pregnancy outcomes of in vitro fertilization: a systematic review and meta-analysis.
BMC Complement Altern Med. 2019 Jun 14;19(1):131.
Our analysis finds a benefit of acupuncture for IVF outcomes in women with a history of unsuccessful IVF attempt, and number of acupuncture treatments is a potential influential factor. Given the poor reporting and methodological flaws of existing studies, studies with larger scales and better methodologies are needed to verify these findings.
Impact of whole systems traditional Chinese medicine on in-vitro fertilization outcomes
Reproductive BioMedicine Online (2015) 30, 602–612
In this retrospective cohort study, 1231 IVF patient records were reviewed to assess the effect of adjuvant WS-TCM on IVF outcomes compared among three groups:
IVF with no additional treatment;
IVF and elective acupuncture on day of embryo transfer; or
IVF and elective WS-TCM.
The primary outcome was live birth.
Of 1069 non-donor cycles, WS-TCM was associated with greater odds of live birth compared with IVF alone or embryo transfer with acupuncture only.
Of 162 donor cycles, WS-TCM was associated with increased live births compared with all groups (odds Ratio [OR] 3.72; 95% CI 1.05 to 13.24, unadjusted) or embryo transfer with acupuncture only (OR 4.09; 95% CI: 1.02 to 16.38, unadjusted).
Overall, IVF with adjuvant WS-TCM (Whole Systems Traditional Chinese Medicine) was associated with greater odds of live birth in donor and non-donor cycles.
These results should be taken cautiously as more rigorous research is needed.
Effects of Chinese herbs combined with in vitro fertilization and embryo transplantation on infertility: a clinical randomized controlled trial.
J Tradit Chin Med. 2014 Jun;34(3):267-73.
Our findings indicate that Chinese herbs increase endometrial thickness, improve the quality of fertility and embryo, and promote embryonic nidation, thus enhancing the success rate of in vitro fertilization/intracytoplasmic sperm injection-embryo transplantation cycle. Using Chinese herbs improves the outcomes and safety of assisted reproductive technologies.
Chinese herbal medicine for infertility
Chinese herbal medicine for female infertility: An updated meta-analysis
Complement Ther Med. 2015 Feb;23(1):116-28.
Forty RCTs involving 4247 women with infertility were included in this systematic review.
Our review suggests that management of female infertility with Chinese herbal medicine can improve pregnancy rates 2-fold within a 3–6 month period compared with Western medical fertility drug therapy.
In addition, fertility indicators such as ovulation rates, cervical mucus score, biphasic basal body temperature, and appropriate thickness of the endometrial lining were positively influenced by CHM therapy, indicating an ameliorating physiological effect conducive for a viable pregnancy.
Traditional Chinese Medicine for Diminished Ovarian Reserve: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis
Chinese Herbal Medicines, Volume 6, Issue 2, May 2014, Pages 93-102
Seventeen randomized controlled trials involving 1174 patients were included. Meta-analysis indicated that TCM was superior to Western medicine (WM) in reducing basal serum FSH level, and the effect was more obvious two months after the last, and increasing antral follicle count. The review also revealed the positive role of CMM as an adjuvant to IVF-ET in improving pregnancy rate.
TCM, with its unique way of replenishing the kidney, may provide an effective and safe alternative therapy to patients with DOR.
Dysfunction of hypothalamic-pituitary-ovarian axis
Acupuncture normalizes dysfunction of hypothalamic-pituitary-ovarian axis.
Acupuncture for polycystic ovarian syndrome: A systematic review and meta-analysis
Medicine: June 2017 – Volume 96 – Issue 23 – p e7066
We found a low level of evidence that acupuncture is more likely to improve ovulation rate (MD 0.35, 95% CI: 0.14–0.56) and menstruation rate (MD 0.50, 95% CI: 0.32–0.68) compared with no acupuncture. We found statistically significant pooled benefits of acupuncture treatment as an adjunct to medication in luteinizing hormone (LH), LH/follicular stimulating hormone (FSH) ratio, testosterone, fasting insulin, and pregnancy rates, but the level of evidence was low/very low.
Clinical therapeutic effects of acupuncture combined with Chinese herbal medicine on infertility of polycystic ovary syndrome in the patients with ovulation induction with letrozole
Zhongguo Zhen Jiu. 2018 Jan 12;38(1):27-32.
For PCOS infertility patients receiving ovulation induction with letrozole, the combined treatment with the Chinese herbal formula for regulating menstruation and removing phlegm and EA remarkably improves the menstrual cycle, reduces body weight and the levels of LH, LH/FSH, T and AMH, improves ovulation and pregnancy rates. This therapy does not induce adverse reactions and the therapeutic effects are better than the simple application of letrozole or the combined therapy of letrozole and Chinese herbal medicine.
Acupuncture in improving endometrial receptivity: a systematic review and meta-analysis
BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicinevolume 19, Article number: 61 (2019)
The efficacy and safety of acupuncture on key outcomes in women with low ER is statistically significant, but the level of most evidence was very low or low. More large-scale, long-term RCTs with rigorous methodologies are needed.
Women’s Sex Hormone
A Literature Review of Women’s Sex Hormone Changes by Acupuncture Treatment: Analysis of Human and Animal Studies.
Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2018 Nov 15;2018:3752723
Acupuncture articles including analysis of sex hormones were searched in electronic databases from inception to June 2018. The methodological quality was assessed using modified CAMRADES tool. A total of 23 articles were selected and analyzed.
In the results, overall studies showed that acupuncture increases estrogen, especially estradiol, progesterone, prolactin, and other hormones. Estradiol level was increased in most of studies except 3 studies which resulted in decreased level or not meaningful change. Two studies showed increase of FSH and LH whereas it was decreased in other studies. Other hormones were mostly increased by acupuncture.
This study possibly indicates that acupuncture changes sex hormone in various gynecological conditions in women.
Male infertility sperm quality
The Therapeutic Effects of Traditional Chinese Medicine for Poor Semen Quality in Infertile Males
J Clin Med. 2018 Sep; 7(9): 239.
To further understand the effects of TCM on semen quality, we retrospectively enrolled patients with male infertility and poor semen quality at the Tainan Municipal Hospital in Taiwan between 2013 and 2016. Semen quality analysis in accordance with the WHO criteria is an essential step in the evaluation of male fertility status. Associations between the semen parameters and body mass index, smoking status, alcohol use, duration of infertility, and age were also analyzed.
A total of 126 male infertility patients with abnormal semen analysis were included in this study: 50 TCM users and 13 TCM non-users. The basic characteristics of the two groups were not significantly different.
TCM users account for 92.5% of the total semen improvement subjects.
In conclusion, TCM supplementation may have a beneficial role as improving sperm quality for infertility patients.
Effect of garlic (Allium sativum) on male fertility: a systematic review
A total of 18 experimental studies were included in the study. Thirteen studies evaluated garlic and 5 studies compared garlic effect with adriamycin, titanium dioxide, furan, vitamin E, N-acetylcysteine and cadmium. All studies were conducted in in vivo condition. The results of the studies indicated the potential effect of garlic on enhancing fertility and spermatogenesis, increasing the level of testosterone and improving the testicular structure.
Conclusion: Garlic can increase fertility probably due to its antioxidant properties. However, more clinical trials are recommended.
The effects of traditional Korean medicine in infertile male patients with poor semen quality: A retrospective study
J Herbmed Pharmacol. 2018; 7(4): 306-312.
Of the seventeen patients who continued unprotected intercourse after TKM treatment, twelve had spouses that subsequently conceived spontaneously (70.5%) within a year after TKM. Two patients had babies after intra uterine insemination (IUI) and in vitro fertilization (IVF), respectively.
TKM may provide an effective option for infertile male patients with poor semen quality. Further prospective studies with larger populations as well as randomised controlled trials are needed to confirm these results.
Evaluation of the Spermatogenic Activity of Polyherbal Formulation in Oligospermic Males
Polyherbal formulation (PHF) is one of these herbal amalgams that can be used to treat sexual dysfunction including erectile dysfunction, impotence, ejaculation dysfunction, and hypogonadism. The pilot study was aimed at evaluating the capacity of PHF in enhancing the spermatogenic potential of oligospermic patients.
PHF could improve the quantity and quality of semen in a statistically significant manner in oligospermia male adults between the ages of 22 to 40 years, in comparison to the placebo, when used for 90 days, at 750 mg/d in three doses. PHF does also improve the serum testosterone; LH; and FSH level in a majority of PHF treated males, in comparison to the placebo.
The results suggested that the prepared PHF may be a new auspicious novel therapeutic amalgamation, which can be used to improve the spermatogenic potential of many oligospermic infertile men.
This spermatogenic property may be due to possible synergistic action of selected herbs’ parts used in the preparation of PHF. However, further investigations are warranted to confirm and elucidate the effect of PHF on semen parameters.
Traditional Chinese Medicine as a Remedy for Male Infertility: A Review
World J Mens Health. 2019 May; 37(2): 175–185.
Overall, the effectiveness of TCM for Male Infertility has been confirmed by numerous studies, but many problems exist in these studies. The advantages of TCM and the differences between TCM and Western medicine, as well as unsolved problems and solutions, are summarized.
Effect of Chinese Herbal Medicine on Male Infertility.
Int Rev Neurobiol. 2017;135:297-311
In this chapter we summarized recent development in basic research and clinical studies of CHM in treating male infertility. It has showed that CHM improved sperm motility and quality, increased sperm count and rebalanced inadequate hormone levels, and adjusted immune functions leading to the increased number of fertility. Further, CHM in combination with conventional therapies improved efficacy of conventional treatments. More studies are needed to indentify the new drugs from CHM and ensure safety, efficacy, and consistency of CHM.
Ried K1, Stuart K. Complement Ther Med. 2011 Dec;19(6):319-31. doi: 10.1016/j.ctim.2011.09.003. Epub 2011 Oct 5.
Review 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.
Chinese herbal medicine for female infertility: an updated meta-analysis.
Ried K1.Complement Ther Med. 2015 Feb;23(1):116-28. doi: 10.1016/j.ctim.2014.12.004. Epub 2015 Jan 3.
We searched the Medline and Cochrane databases until December 2013 for randomized controlled trials and meta-analyses investigating Chinese herbal medicine therapy for female infertility and compared clinical pregnancy rates achieved with CHM versus WM drug treatment.
Forty RCTs involving 4247 women with infertility were included in our systematic review. Meta-analysis suggested a 1.74 higher probability of achieving a pregnancy with CHM therapy than with WM therapy alone (risk ratio 1.74, 95%CI: 1.56-1.94; p<0.0001; odds ratio 3.14; 95%CI: 2.72-3.62; p<0.0001) in women with infertility. Trials included women with PCOS, endometriosis, anovulation, fallopian tube blockage, or unexplained infertility. Mean pregnancy rates in the CHM group were 60% compared with 33% in the WM group.
Our review suggests that management of female infertility with Chinese herbal medicine can improve pregnancy rates 2-fold within a 3-6 month period compared with Western medical fertility drug therapy. In addition, fertility indicators such as ovulation rates, cervical mucus score, biphasic basal body temperature, and appropriate thickness of the endometrial lining were positively influenced by CHM therapy, indicating an ameliorating physiological effect conducive for a viable pregnancy.
Jongbae J. Park, K.M.D., Ph.D.J Altern Complement Med. 2010 Feb; 16(2): 193–198.
The standard therapeutic package for unexplained infertility in women studied here is safe for infants and the treated women, when administered by licensed professionals. While it remains challenging to have the target population complete a 6-month treatment course, during which most patients have to pay out of pocket, the extent of successfully achieved pregnancy in those who received full treatment provides meaningful outcomes, warranting further attention. A future study that includes subsidized treatment costs, encouraging the appropriate compliance rate, is warranted.