The Acupuncture Clinic for Fertility, Gynaecology and Pregnancy Care

Female Infertility

“Chinese herbal medicine is twice as effective for infertility as conventional drug therapy.”  Complementary Therapies in Medicine

The study examined abstracts in English of studies investigating infertility, menstrual health and TCM. Researchers then did meta-analyses of (non)randomised controlled trials (RCTs) or cohort studies and compared clinical pregnancy rates achieved with Chinese herbal medicine versus Western medicine drug treatment (IVF). In addition, they collected common TCM pattern diagnosis in infertility in relation to the quality of the menstrual cycle and associated symptoms. Eight RCTs, 13 cohort studies, three case series and six case studies involving a total of 1851 women with infertility were included in the systematic review.

The results showed a 3.5 greater likelihood of achieving a pregnancy with Chinese herbal medicine therapy over a four-month period compared with Western medicine drug therapy alone. Average pregnancy rates were 60 ± 12.5% (60%) for Chinese herbal medicine compared with 32 ± 10% (32%) using Western medicine drug therapy. Meta-analysis of selected cohort studies showed a mean clinical pregnancy rate of 50 percent using TCM compared with 30 percent for IVF.

Chinese herbal medicine results in higher success rates of pregnancy, with no patient side-effects and a reduction in the category of patients conventionally classified as having unexplained infertility.

Aim: To determine the relationship between female fertility indicators and the administration of Chinese herbal medicine (CHM). Design: A prospective cohort clinical study to measure accepted bio-medical factors that affect female fertility and to determine if CHM can improve these factors as well as pregnancy outcome. Setting: A private practice specialising in treating infertility with traditional Chinese medicine (TCM). The study took place between November 2003 and December 2004. Patient(s): Fifty women with the Western medical diagnosis of unexplained infertility. Interventions: One monitored menstrual cycle measuring pre-treatment fertility factors, followed by treatment with Chinese herbal medicine and subsequent measurement of the changes in the same fertility factors. Results: Significant differences were observed between the two time points for the majority of factors measured. Pregnancies in the sample group recorded 6 months after commencement of the last treatment were 28, with 11 live births and 7 miscarriages. Conclusion:  The study outcome demonstrates that using Chinese herbal medicine results in higher success rates of pregnancy, with no patient side-effects and a reduction in the category of patients conventionally classified as having unexplained infertility.

Journal of Chinese Medicine, no.80, Feb 2006