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Overview

The Chinese place a large emphasis on the family so they take every possible measure to continue their progeny. Fertility management of both men and women has been well developed in TCM. Hundreds of herbs have been identified and used extensively along with acupuncture, massage, diet and lifestyle modification for treating this condition. They have become increasingly popular in Western countries as more and more couples find they work. In fact, TCM fertility techniques are relatively non-invasive and can sometimes offer a better success rate for less cost. They are significant for non-organic incidences of infertility where the problem may be functional and not structural. 

Practically, when TCM consider an appropriate therapeutic strategy, they usually take account of the Western medical diagnostic techniques and test results to design an effective course of treatment. It is advisable to find a qualified TCM gynaecologist who properly understands both Western and Chinese medicine modalities so that he or she is capable of integrating the advantages of these two medical practices. Furthermore, when a couple complains of infertility, a physician should investigate both partners and treat either or both as appropriate.

Theory

 

No individual herb is considered especially useful for promoting fertility. Rather, more than 150 different herbs, usually given in complex formulas comprised of 15 or more ingredients (average herbal powder dose ≈ 20g/day), are used in the treatment of infertility with the purpose of correcting a functional or organic problem that caused infertility. The design of the formulas has varied somewhat over the centuries, based on prevailing theories and available resources, and individual practitioners have a preference for particular herbs, thus accounting for some of the variations among formulas that are recommended. However, differences among individuals being treated accounts for the greatest variation in the selection of herbs and formulas to be used. There are some “exotic” materials that are frequently found in fertility formulas, such as deer antler and seahorse, but the prominent materials are derived from roots, barks, leaves, flowers, and fruits. Formulas for men and for women tend to be different, but there is considerable overlap in the ingredients used.

Treatment

Chinese herbs have proven to be effective in treating infertility. One benefit is that they can have less accompanying adverse effects that often are present with Western pharmaceutical drugs. Herbal prescriptions may also work well as adjuvant therapy for conventional approaches too.

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