Wanting a baby is an emotional, instinctive urge. The human race is programmed to reproduce. But for a growing number of couples, falling pregnant, and staying pregnant, is becoming more and more difficult. Around 1 in 6 couples are now described as ‘infertile’. But what is infertility? What causes it? And what can you do to improve your situation should you find yourself in this situation?
What is Infertility?
Technically, infertility is described as failure to achieve pregnancy within 12 months of trying. However, it’s not quite that simple. Fertility is a complex issue. Many couples have a successful pregnancy, only to fail to achieve a second. Others are able to become pregnant, but face the heartbreak of miscarriage, sometimes over and over.
Male infertility accounts for around 1/3 of infertile couples, whilst for 20-30% of couples there a fertility problems with both partners.
What Causes Infertility?
Whilst there are obviously some differences in relation to what causes female infertility as opposed to male, there are definitely some common factors, many of which are becoming more problematic in our increasingly busy lifestyle:
- Age – with the pressures of setting yourself up in a career, and the cost of living, many couples are leaving it later to try and start a family. Since women are born with all the eggs they will ever have, and these deteriorate over time, leaving child bearing too late can create fertility problems.
- Lifestyle – stress, smoking and drinking alcohol contribute to a reduction in fertility in both men and women
- Weight – being either over or under weight can affect fertility, particularly in women.
Infertility is sometimes classified as Unexplained Infertility. This is when no medical reason can be identified as the cause. In the case of Explained Infertility, there are many possible causes:
- Endocrine disorders
- Long term use of oral contraceptives
- Structural problems, like blocked tubes or fibroids
- Low sperm count
- Low mobility (movement)
- Morphology – the shape of the sperm
How Can TCM Help Infertility?
Traditional Chinese Medicine has been used for hundreds of years to assist couples in falling and staying pregnant.
Since many of the reasons for infertility relate to lifestyle factors, TCM uses a range of techniques to prepare the body for pregnancy and childbirth. Ideally 12 months prior to wanting to conceive couples can begin treatment that will not just assist with conception, but also successful completion of a pregnancy. This is likely to include Acupuncture, herbs, diet and lifestyle changes. Women may find during this treatment that issues like PMS, pre-period migraines and cramps are reduced.
Active Fertility Enhancement:
In cases of Unexplained Infertility, symptoms may often be sub-clinical and a balancing of the hormones, reduction in stress and improvement in diet may be all that is need in treating the problem. Your TCM practitioner will use acupuncture, herbs and diet and lifestyle to achieve this goal, ensuring your body is in the optimum health to achieve and sustain pregnancy.
Where Explained Infertility is concerned, Western medicine will generally use drugs, surgery and/or IVF to resolve the problem. TCM can work in conjunction with these treatments. Acupuncture can be ideal as a complementary therapy when patients are undergoing the stress of IVF.
And when you do become pregnant, Acupuncture can be used safely and effectively to combat morning sickness, pelvic and back pain.
If you are considering starting a family, or are having difficulty conceiving, call our Baulkham Hills Clinic on 9639 7337 to make an appointment with our highly trained Traditional Chinese Medicine Practitioner.