Assisted Reproductive Technology – this term refers to all assisted reproductive technology methods, including in vitro fertilization (IVF) and intrauterine insemination (IUI), both of which are used in cases of male or female fertility problems.
More specifically, ART refers to any procedure in which the egg and sperm are manipulated so as to result in pregnancy.
Boosting success rates
Up to 30% of couples now experience difficulty when trying for a baby, with this figure rising every year. In a great number of these cases, there is no clear diagnosis and the problem is simply described as “unexplained infertility“. Other people have a specific problem, such as blocked fallopian tubes, egg problems, or sperm issues in men (around 30% of fertility problems are due to male factors). Chinese Medicine (acupuncture and herbal medicine) and holistic approaches have been demonstrated to increase the effectiveness and successes rates of Assisted Reproduction Therapy (ART) by 60% (1) and to have a significant effect on fertility in general (2,3).
Many people that come to see me have already had tests and may have either undergone or be considering IVF or similar procedures. We try to have a very flexible approach when working with people that want to have a baby, carefully considering your priorities and wishes, as well as any treatments or diagnosis already used or underway. It is usually essential to have a clear understanding of any limiting factors before deciding on the most appropriate course of treatment: if a tube is blocked or sperm count is very low, we need to know that so the right treatment can be given.
Our treatment is therefore either the main intervention being used, or is complementing and increasing the success rate of an ART procedure. A personalised combination of treatments might include acupuncture, herbal medicine, nutritional supplements, and stress-management. I also often suggest blood or sperm tests and refer to a consultant gynecologist or radiologist if required. I am an expert in the use of Basal Body Temperature charts to assess fertility and hormonal function.
It is both costly and emotionally painful to invest in course of action that has a limited chance of success from the start, so I always try to ensure that we know what must be done from the outset.
- Paulus, Zhang, Strehler. Fertility and Sterility Vol.77, No4, April 2002
- Wing, Sedlmeier. Measuring the effectiveness of Chinese Herbal Medicine in improving female fertility. Journal of Chinese Medicine, number 80, Oct 2006
- Heese. The egg factor. Journal of Chinese Medicine, number 82, Oct 2006