|Infertility | Infertility Sydney|
Many couples are seeking help with their fertility and Chinese Medicine is a key player in the treatment of both male and female infertility. Teja and Jacinda both specialise in the treatment of infertility, and have extensive experience in this area of health care.
Biomedical science is finally acknowledging the place Chinese Medicine should play in Australia's healthcare system, for more on this, specifically in relation to IVF and acupuncture, please click the link below to the ABC's Catalyst presentation that aired on the 3rd of April 2008.
If you are considering acupuncture and herbal medicine as a part of your pregnancy plan, please read through the following and contact us if you have any questions.
Sometimes there is a diagnosed/suspected gynaecological condition that is hampering fertility, for more about this topic please view our page on gynaecology.
Every couple's infertility story is different. When a couple come to see us they get a treatment protocol specific to their individual needs based on their own fertility history. In an ideal situation we advocate a period of at least 3 months of preconception care. Of course we understand that some couples simply can't wait, in this case acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine can still be of tremendous assistance in getting you pregnant, either naturally or assisting with your IVF program.
What does preconception care mean?
This means that for 3 months prior to trying to fall pregnant you get yourself 'fertility fit'. You will be encouraged to chart your BBT (Basal Body Temperature), reduce or avoid alcohol/cigarettes/drugs, increase exercise and eat wholesome foods whilst also undergoing acupuncture and Chinese herbal medical treatment as well as other supplementation. Especially if you have had troubles conceiving in the past, have a history of miscarriage, or just want to do everything 'right', this is a vital first step.
Keen gardeners know that the quality of their produce relies on the quality of the soil from which they grow. So time and effort is spent on tending the soil - fertilising with compost, turning and airing the soil and making it as nutrient rich and fertile as they possibly can before the first seeds are sown. From this sound and healthy basis will grow the most healthy and beautiful of wares....
It takes around 100 – 116 days for an ova or sperm to fully develop from a single small cell to the mature structure that can enable fertility. This maturation process is a fragile one, and this is why we recommend a period of time to get 'fertility fit', meaning your gametes (sperm/egg) are in prime shape for conception and implantation. When thought of in this way, if you were to fall pregnant today, that egg/sperm would have started its development 3 months ago... what were you doing 3 months ago? Had you stopped smoking? Were you drinking alcohol? What was your diet like? Everything you come into contact with has the potential to enter your blood stream. Once something is in the blood, the blood travels to every single cell in the body - taking that substance, whether good or bad - with it. This does not mean, however, that if you have fallen pregnant without any preconception care, that you have harmed your child, or that you will have a sick baby. It does mean that more care will be needed during your pregnancy and the early months of your child's life.
Women need to realise that the "health" of your menstrual cycle and the "health" of your pregnancy are one and the same. The same mechanisms which ensure a regular, troublesome free period will ensure a healthy, regular, low risk, troublesome free pregnancy. A normal menstrual cycle in Chinese medicine is simply an event which sees the woman bleed for about 4-5 days - with menstrual flow increasing to its heaviest on the second day and petering out until it stops on the fourth or fifth day, being turned off like a tap. There is no PMS, no spotting, no pain, no clotty flow, no headaches. Just bright, fresh red blood for 4-5 days, with no other symptoms. Ask yourself - is your cycle like this?
For many women conception happens easily enough. In fact, it is estimated that 75% of women have conceived without knowing, having what is known as a 'chemical miscarriage', whereby your period has perhaps been a day or two late, slightly heavier than normal or slightly more painful. Sustaining a pregnancy is the tricky bit. This is because you need a healthy egg and healthy sperm to make a healthy embryo and thus a healthy baby at term. While IVF procedures are only focused on quantity, Traditional Chinese Medicine focuses on quality. After all, it only takes 1 egg and 1 sperm to make a baby, and the chances of a healthy baby being born at term are maximised greatly when its DNA was healthy from the onset.
For couples who have been given the diagnosis of "unexplained infertility" it really is imperative that time is spent on preconception care. While Chinese medicine can provide you with a diagnosis for your fertility issues, we need time to work through and overcome these factors before you fall pregnant.
When waiting is NOT an option.
It's not the best but that's ok, Acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine can still be of assistance. Some women not ready to try IVF will simply start on the preconception protocol outlined above however they will be consciously trying to conceive from the onset. We monitor your cycle closely so that we can aid ovulation and implantation with acupuncture and herbs. If conception does not occur we encourage a menstrual period naturally so that a clean, fresh uterine lining can start to grow to help aid implantation the next time.
IVF & Traditional Chinese Medicine
Some women wish to undergo IVF and use Acupuncture to help their chances of conception. Associate Professor Caroline Smith, an Australian researcher, has proven scientifically that acupuncture significantly improves IVF success rates. At Point Specifics we work closely with your cycle (although artificially stimulated) so that the quality and quantity of your eggs are enhanced as well as the condition of your uterine lining. Acupuncture treatments are then timed during the stimulation phase as well as before and after the embryo transfer. The closer the treatments are to the transfer the higher the success rate.
Chinese medicine recognises the health of the man and his sperm as being as intrical to conception as the health of the woman and her eggs. Acupuncture and herbal medicine are used to improve sperm quality and can help with factors such as improving motility, improving shape/form, increasing the number of sperm, regulating the pH and so on. Treatment involves acupuncture and herbs to strengthen the body and improve circulation to the reproductive system. Having said this, the acupuncture points that influence the genital area are mostly located on the arms and legs, not the actual genitals (which unfortunately is a common misconception).