Infertility is defined as the inability to produce offspring in a woman who has been trying to conceive for 2 years with unprotected sexual intercourse. Infertility affects about 10 to 15% of the population in North America.
According to Chinese medicine, infertility arises from factors like constitutional weakness, overwork, sexual activity at too early an age, irregular diet or poor lifestyle. Kidneys, Heart and the Uterus are the key organs for fertility. The health of these organs is central to conception.
- A kidney deficiency is often the underlying cause of being unable to conceive. It is implicated in male and female infertility alike. Poor kidneys will affect the menstrual cycle in women and sperm count in men. Kidneys affect the libido and sexual function as well.
- The heart encompasses the mind, the hypothalamus, and pituitary gland. Those are the glands that control and balance the hormones. The heart also houses the spirit, which contributes to the mental emotional aspect of reproduction.
- A stagnation of qi or blood in the uterus or the pelvic cavity can block the blood flow in the area and cause difficulties with implantation.
In order to treat infertility, TCM seeks to harmonize the body by:
- Regulating the adrenals and correcting hormone imbalances
- Strengthening the uterine area
- Helping in reducing anxiety and stress in general
- Improving the outcome of assisted reproductive methods
- Helping with not just conception but sustaining a healthy pregnancy
I have all the respect for western methods that couples today opt for. Success rates of assisted reproductive methods have somewhat improved over the years. Studies have shown that an integrative approach is even more successful – acupuncture alongside IVF increases outcomes by an average of 20%. Aside from improved outcomes, acupuncture can also help reduce the side effects of medications.
Trying to conceive can be frustrating and daunting – it does not need to be so. In my opinion, it is more of a journey than a struggle.
Also, come and join us for our Healthy Pregnancy Seminar series taking place every Saturday starting February 25th to March 18th from 3 pm – 4 pm. To learn more about this event, visit https://www.nhchalton.com/events/healthy-pregnancy-4-weeks-seminar-series/.