Infertility is defined as the inability of a couple to conceive following
a minimum of one year of trying, and where there are no obvious health
problems to prevent conception.
Infertility in men
is frequently the result of a low sperm count or an anatomical abnormality
such as a varicocele (dilated vein of the spermatic cord). There are
many factors which influence sperm count. Some of which are: alcohol
consumption, acute illness or prolonged fever, endocrine disorders,
exposure to radiation, toxins or excessive heat, and testicular mumps.
There are a number
of causes of infertility in women as well. The most common are: blocked
fallopian tubes, endometriosis, history of venereal disease, ovulatory
failure or defect and uterine fibroids. In addition, psychological
issues such as fear of parenthood or stress may contribute to infertility.
is often extremely effective in treating male infertility, using its
methods to boost the quantity, strength and motility of sperm. It can
also be very useful in treating infertility in women, dependant upon
For example, severe
blockage of the fallopian tubes would probably be better suited to
surgery to restore fertility. However, a condition such as hormonal
imbalance, usually responds well to TCM.
The first step
is to determine which type of imbalance is at the root of the infertility.
These fall into one of five types: kidney deficiency (most often
a male problem resulting in low sperm count or lack of sperm activity),
blood deficiency (symptoms include miscarriages, anemia or bladder
infections), liver qi stagnation (usually affects women and
is related to mental stress - this is often the case when there is
no obvious blockage or other infertility causes cannot be found), phlegm
and damp stagnation (more common in women, results in fluid retention
or being overweight and can include symptoms such as endometriosis
or fibroids), and blood stagnation (related to previous physical
injury, circulation problems, heart and lung disease or endometriosis
and other diseases of the lining of the uterus).
practitioners believe that treatment can only be successful when a
patient's infertility is clearly and accurately diagnosed as belonging
to one of the above noted patterns.
herbs are used for a period of two to three months. In addition, acupuncture
can help, especially in cases of kidney deficiency, blood deficiency
and blood stagnation.