THE INFERTILITY EPIDEMIC
Twenty-five percent of couples in their thirties are infertile. Only 1 percent of teenagers are. There is a worldwide, emotionally wrenching epidemic of infertility, making it our nation's number one public health problem. Even in a country like India with severe overpopulation, the most common reason for a visit to the doctor is infertility. From our teen years (when the last thing we really want is a child) to our mid-thirties when we finally feel emotionally and financially secure enough to start our family, there is a twenty-five fold decline in our ability to get pregnant.
If you are in your thirties, have been working hard establishing yourself, and are now just thinking maybe in a few years you might like to start a family, you should realize that there is a 25 percent chance you will not be able to do so without medical intervention.
These startling figures came out of the National Center for Health Statistics in 1985 and were presented to the United States Congress through a panel assembled by the Congressional Office of Technology Assessment in 1988. We have all witnessed an explosive increase in couples desperately struggling to have a child but it wasn't until these statistics were formally assembled that we were stunned to find out just how staggering the problem is.
What accounts for this dramatic increase in infertility over the last twenty years? We could speculate about the increase in sexually transmitted diseases, environmental pollution, declining sperm count from absorption of toxic substances, and even the increased tension and anxiety of modern life. These may very well be contributing factors, but a major reason is simply that by the time the modern couple decides to have children, usually in their thirties, the human animal is just not as fertile as it was when younger.
For a couple, the diagnosis of infertility can be difficult, but for a woman it can be devastating. Being told you are infertile is like being told your body has failed its very reason for existence.
In an infamous Sex and the City episode, several friends become pregnant after using acupuncture. In reality, more women are seeking acupuncture to help boost their fertility and enhance their overall health. Today you can scarcely pick up a magazine publication without some mention to the benefit of acupuncture for various illnesses and conditions. Even the Wall Street Journal just recently published an article on the benefits of acupuncture for infertility. Acupuncture has become a mainstream complementary therapy to a large variety of conditions.
According to medical definitions, a couple of child bearing age is regarded as infertile when they have not conceived after 12 months of regular, unprotected sexual intercourse. Yet once a woman decides that she wants to conceive, she can consider using acupuncture. The same way that most women now start taking prenatal vitamins and supplements while she is trying to conceive, a woman should take a 'whole-body' approach when attempting to become pregnant. These days, the modern woman has a variety of different issues that may affect her fertility.
From working long hours to eating on the run, along with painful periods, PMS and other female issues, women may need a jump-start to get in the right reproductive direction. These disharmonies may result in difficulties with fertility by affecting various parts of the reproductive cycle: production of the egg, fertilization of the egg, implantation of the fertilized egg in the uterus and the ability to 'hold' the pregnancy.
In a growing trend, both men and women are turning to Chinese medicine's acupuncture and herbs for fertility treatments and finding the results they desire. The use of acupuncture and herbs are safe alternatives for many types of ailments, as they promote the steady circulation of energy, or qi (pronounced "chee") in the body.
Chinese Medicine treats low sperm count and low sperm motility in men, and can treat the obstacles that prevent conception in women such as blocked tubes, fibroids and polyps, in addition to lack of ovulation or menstruation. Moreover, recent medical research has proven that acupuncture can improve the outcome of assisted reproductive fertility techniques, such as in-vitro, as it also improves ovarian response and uterine receptivity.
Chinese Medicine treats infertility without use of the strong, sometimes painful-to-administer drugs or surgery that Western medicine often prescribes. Using acupuncture and specially formulated herbal remedies, Chinese medicine has a high success rate treating infertility in both women and men. And treatment with herbs and acupuncture is substantially less expensive than treatment with Western medical methods. For example, while one round of in-vitro fertilization can cost approximately $15,000, a typical office visit to an acupuncturist, including herbs, runs about $100 to $125.
Chinese Medicine treats the whole person as part of the effort to restore balance within the individual. With the treatment of infertility, Chinese medicine aims to regulate and rebalance the reproductive system. For men, Chinese medicine can balance hormone levels, and raise sperm counts and motility. Chinese medicine for women can stimulate ovulation and regulate hormones.
The success rates for in-vitro or other medically assisted fertility treatments remain disheartening. Yet when used in conjunction with fertilization procedures, Chinese medicine increases the likelihood of conception. In addition to reducing the horrible side effects, including nausea, weight gain, and depression and mood swings, and the accumulated toxicity of fertility medications, TCM brings more blood flow to the uterus in order to enhance the thickening of the uterine lining.
In a recent study on acupuncture-assisted reproduction in Germany, of 160 patients receiving in-vitro fertilization, one-half of these patients were also administered acupuncture before and after implantation while the other half went without it. The pregnancy rate for the group with acupuncture treatment was 42.5% while patients of the other group showed a success rate of 26.3%.
Chinese medicine, administered through a proper combination of acupuncture and herbs, strengthens the internal health of a woman and provides a good environment for a pregnancy to occur. Also, the enhanced reproductive system aids in a woman's safe and healthy pregnancy, and allows for rapid postpartum recuperation.
Overall, when treated with TCM, men and women can generally expect an increase in energy and a feeling of better health. And even quite possibly, a pregnancy. Of course there are no guarantees, but in many cases Chinese Medicine can help restore the body's natural reproductive processes so that couples can fulfill their desire for a family.
The Huntington Holistic Center for Reproductive Wellness offers specialized treatments for various conditions relating to fertility. Let our family help you grow your family.