Traditional Chinese Medicine
Balancing a woman’s hormonal cycle
A regular 28 to 30 day cycle with good quality fertile mucus, pain free
ovulation midcycle, no premenstrual symptoms and a pain free period with
efficient bleeding indicates a balanced hormonal cycle.
Improve the quality of a woman’s fertile mucus
Fertile mucus appears several days prior to ovulation and is required to help
nourish the sperm and guide it to the egg.
An ovulation occurring on day 13 to 15 of a cycle indicates that the egg is
being released at its optional developmental time.
Promote an efficient menstrual bleed
In traditional Chinese medicine the menstrual bleeding reflects the quality of
the uterine lining. This lining appears important for implantation as women with
poor endometrial development have an association with IVF failure or recurrent
Chinese medicine aims to increase the thickness and quality of this lining, it
does this through promoting corpus luteal function (which in turn produces
progesterone) and through its documented action of increasing blood flow to the
uterus ( Human Reproduction 11:1314-1317)
Ideally it is expected that a woman will experience menstrual bleeding for at
least 3 to 5 days and that this blood flow will be red in colour without any
clotting or flooding.
Enhance egg development.
While the genetic material for a woman’s eggs are created when the woman is
herself an embryo, the process of the egg maturing comes under the influence of
Clinically it also appears possible to influence the integrity of the eggs
released following acupuncture treatment, this may be due to increasing the
blood supply to the developing follicles or by increasing the nutritional supply
to the egg via the fluids that surround and nourish it.
Improve sperm quality
Normal sperm count values are currently given as;
- greater than 20 million sperm per ml
- greater than 50% of sperm moving vigorously (motility)
- greater than 14 % with no deformities (morphology).
A population study looking at men’s fertility found that those men that
succeeded in fathering a child had;
- greater than 48 million sperm per ml
- a motility of more than 63%
- a normal morphology of 12% (New England Journal of Medicine 345(19):1388-1393).
This study indicates the importance of men achieving the highest sperm count and
Enhance the internal environment of the fallopian tubes.
Traditional Chinese medicine aims to improve the elasticity and the secretions
of the fallopian tubes, facilitating the passage of the fertilised egg into the
Promote embryo implantation
In a study where acupuncture was used during IVF at the time of embryo
implatation the result was a significantly higher viable pregnancy rate.
(Fertility and Sterility 74(4):721-72). In this study 160 women undergoing IVF
were monitored. The success rate in the acupuncture group was 42.5% compared to
a 26.3% success rate in the group of women that did not receive acupuncture.
In a study of 114 women at the Reproductive Medicine and Fertility Centre in
Colorado Springs (American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) October
2004) half of the women received acupuncture prior to and following embryo
The women who received acupuncture had a 51% pregnancy rate compared to 36% in
control group and a 08% miscarriage rate compared to 20% in control group.
Acupuncture also was found to reduce the risk of tubal pregnancy and increase
the live birth rate. The live birth rate for each IVF cycle was 23 % higher than
the cycles for the control group.
Follow on research in medical journals such as Fertililty and Sterility supports
the use of acupuncture in assisting embryo implantation. Acupuncture is
usually administered 20 - 30 minutes prior to and following embryo replacement
but in some of the research, women also had an extra series of treatments
several weeks prior to thier embryo replacement.
To view the lastest research on acupuncture and fertililty visit
Promote a viable pregnancy
Traditional Chinese medicine can also be used in pregnancy to help promote
maternal and fetal well being.
Acupuncture to assist in the first 12 weeks of a pregnancy may be useful to
reduce anxiety and induce relaxation. Research has shown that for women with a
history of recurrent miscarrige, regular monitering and stress reduction
treatment in the first 12 weeks increased live birth rates. 86% of women in the
treatment group, compared to 33% for women that did not receive treatment. (Aust
NZ J Obstet Gynecol 1991:31:4:3210)
There are also treatments to aid with any problems during pregnancy (such as
neasea and vomitting, heart burn, consipation, varicose veins, haemorrhoids,
insomina, breech and posterior presentation, anaemia, babies that are small for
their gestational age, blood pressure problems and muscular skeletal pain such
as back, rib and pelvic girdle pain), as well as treatment protocols to prepare
for childbirth and if necessary to promote induction of labour.