Most young people will have a desire to conceive a child at some point in their life. Pregnancy and carrying a child to term are actually complicated processes, as many factors can go wrong that can lead to infertility. Infertility often leads to a crisis, with social and cultural consequences. Traditional Chinese medicine offers certain solutions to treat infertility. During the COVID-19 pandemic, most IUI and IVF centers are closed to protect young couples. This is especially because steroids are sometimes necessary during the IVF procedure, which can compromise a person’s immune function. Chinese herbal medicine can help young couples improve their ovarian and testicular function so they can have a healthy pregnancy. Older couples can also take Chinese herbs to enjoy a happier and healthier sexual life now that they have more time to spend together.

What is Infertility?

Infertility is generally defined as the condition of not getting pregnant even with carefully timed and unprotected sex for two years. There may not be any apparent symptoms. In some cases, women with infertility may experience irregular or absent periods. Men may show signs of hormonal problems like low testosterone, low sperm quality, and erectile dysfunction.

Causes of Male and Female Infertility

Infertility can affect one or both partners. A usual cause in men is abnormal sperm production or function due to undescended testicles, inflammation, low testosterone, and varicose vein. Overexposure to certain environmental factors or damage due to radiation or cancer treatment also may result in infertility. In women, ovulation disorders such as polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) and hormonal imbalances can affect the menstrual cycle. Other causes may include fibroids, high FSH, hypothyroid condition, premature ovarian failure, poor egg quality, low progesterone or estrogen dominance, blockage in the fallopian tube, endometriosis, and pelvic adhesions. Risk factors like age, tobacco and alcohol use, too much coffee, weight management problems, and exercise issues can contribute to infertility or recurrent miscarriage.

Concepts in Chinese Herbology

Chinese herbal medicine is a part of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM). TCM is based on the principle that every living thing is sustained by two opposing forces of energy, Yin, and Yang, which form the essential energy flow called Qi. This flow occurs in the body through channels called meridians. Any imbalance in Yin or Yang results in the blockage of Qi, which causes illness. Chinese herbal medicine is mostly plant-based, and different herbs have different properties that can balance particular parts of the body. The practitioner assesses the patient to understand the state of their Yin and Yang and prescribes a specific herb or a concoction of herbs to treat the affected organs. If a young couple wants to have IUI or IVF, they should use Chinese herbs and a healthy diet to enhance their ovarian, uterine, and testicular function for 3 months. They will have a much higher success rate for IVF. IVF and IUI only stimulate the ovaries to produce more eggs and tends to cause estrogen dominance condition or hyper ovarian stimulation.

Research Results

A review study including 40 randomized clinical trials with 4,247 patients with conditions such as PCOS, endometriosis, anovulation, fallopian tube blockage, or unexplained infertility was published in Complementary Therapies in Medicine in 2015 by Karin Ried. The study compared Chinese herbs with Western medicine for 3 to 6 months and concluded that the Chinese herbal medicine group had an average pregnancy rate of 60%, while the Western medicine group had only a 33% pregnancy rate. Chinese herbs help improve ovulation rate and cervical mucus score and optimize body temperature and endometrial lining.

Author's Bio: 

Dr Li Zheng is a licensed acupuncturist and herbalist. Graduated from the Beijing University of Chinese Medicine, Li Zheng now has 26 years of clinical experience. She holds a PhD in neuroscience from the US and is a Harvard Medical School-trained researcher and a professor at the New England School of Acupuncture. Her two practices are located in Needham, MA, and Boca Raton, FL. For more information please visit: