What Is It?
Infertility is usually defined as being unable to get pregnant after unprotected sex for a year or more, and between 10% and 15% of couples experience it.
We distinguish between Primary Infertility, where someone has never conceived, and Secondary Infertility, which covers the case where someone has been pregnant before but is having difficulty conceiving again.
What are the Causes?
There can be many possible causes. Common causes for women include:
- Irregular menstrual cycles, which may cause irregular ovulation.
- Damage or blocked fallopian tubes
- PCOS (Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome)
The most common cause of infertility in men is poor quality sperm. Other possibilities include morphology, motility problems, low sperm count and DNA fragmentation.
Sometimes, there is no clear cause.
What Factors affect Fertility?
There are some well-known factors that affect fertility in both men and women.
Fertility decreases with age, more so in women and especially from 35 years onwards.
Being over or under weight can affect ovulation.
Smoking can affect both men and women. Alcohol, stress and environmental factors such as pesticides may also affect fertility, as can excessive exercise and long working hours.
What can be done about it?
An initial consultation would look at overall health and any medical test results such as hormone levels and sperm tests. These can be helpful to plan treatment to address particular issues as well as dietary advice, lifestyle advice and helping to alleviate stress.
Then I can work with both partners to establish a treatment plan tailored specifically for you. It will be based on the Chinese Medicine holistic tradition of treating mind, body and spirit together.
I will normally ask women to complete a BBT chart to look at the menstrual cycle. This is done to track temperature and cervical mucus over the four phases of the menstrual cycle. I then adjust treatment accordingly over the four phases. The aim is to see if ovulation is taking place and when that is during the cycle.
The aim is to achieve a balance of yin and yang in the body and boost blood to help couples be in a good place to conceive, preparing the body for conception and leading to a healthy pregnancy.
What about IVF?
Couples using IVF to help them conceive have a special set of considerations. Traditional Chinese Medicine acupuncture can be used alongside western medicine treatment.
First, IVF treatment can be very stressful. The holistic approach used in acupuncture aims to help you to feel healthy, balanced and relaxed while trying to conceive.
Second, Chinese Medicine offers a specific protocol of treatments to help create and maintain the ideal conditions for conception, and I would be happy to discuss this with you.
I offer a free 15-minute initial consultation, usually by phone, to give you the chance to explore whether Traditional Chinese Medicine may have something to offer. Why not get in touch to find out?