The dream of a lot of adults is to have a good prosperous life as well as raise a loving and healthy family. But the sad reality is that a significant number of people living in the United States (about a fourth of the population) have problems conceiving. Thus, for them, raising a family can be an unattainable goal although they now can avail of medical procedures that are basically extremely stressful and frustrating, quite expensive and emotionally draining.
If a couple is trying to raise a family and has tried to conceive for a whole year without success, they are considered to be suffering from infertility. The human body sometimes may develop complications that can result in its inability to conceive.
The rate of infertility is actually almost the same for both sexes with 50% of infertility cases coming from women and men contributing 40% of it. Men are usually infertile due to defects in their sperm cells: insufficient sperm, slow moving sperm and abnormally shaped sperm.
Women, on other hand, have issues in their reproductive system that is more complicated compared to men. Several possible problems can cause female infertility and these include blocked fallopian tubes, poor ovarian reserve and hormone imbalances. There are also cases where both the man and the woman suffer from fertility problems which are reasons why some medical professionals advise couples to both seek treatment. Around 10% of infertility cases are considered idiopathic in nature which simply means the cause for infertility is unknown. This type of infertility is the most frustrating kind of diagnosis for infertility. For some unknown reason, idiopathic infertility is often found in couples that seem fit and healthy.
Fertility Procedures to Choose from
Upon deciding the need to seek medical help for their infertility, couples may then consult with a fertility specialist for examination in order to know what’s wrong with their body. The outcomes of the exams will enable the fertility expert to choose the best procedure for the couple’s problem. The most popular conventional fertility therapies these days are ZIFT, IVF, GIFT, ICSI and IUI. Basically, most of these treatments take hormones in the female to help regulate them and improve the manner of ovulation and implantation. These techniques are quite expensive which many couple these days can’t afford. The couple also needs to provide a considerable amount of time for these procedures although they do have a relatively high rate of success.
The financial cost of these therapies forces couples to consider more affordable and natural treatments for them to bear a child. A few of these natural alternatives can be done as a stand-alone treatment or as complementary treatments for the aforementioned conventional therapies such as IVF. Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) and acupuncture are among the most popular and most effective natural therapies for treating male and female infertility.
Acupuncture: How it Works
Most people having a basic idea of what acupuncture is know that needles are used to treat a condition. What they want to know is how do the needles help treat an illness. Acupuncturists may answer this question in two ways: One explanation is that the needles help the energy in the body known as qi or chi to flow in the right and normal manner and this helps balance the body leading to the resolution of the illness. Another explanation and one that western medicine provides and most people living in the west seem to comprehend is further elaborated below.
The Connection between the Brain and Acupuncture
When an acupuncture point is stimulated by a needle, interesting activities happen in both the body and brain. Studies have revealed that the brain undergoes changes when an acupuncture point is needled. This is confirmed through fMRI examinations. In the treatment of infertility using acupuncture, researchers have observed that acupuncture causes the production and release of endorphins that affect the gonadotropin hormones (FSH and LH). These gonadotropins regulate and influence ovarian and testicular function. One’s chance of conception significantly improves when the reproductive organs’ function much better. Also, this stimulation has been observed to also boost circulation to the uterus, making the environment very conducive for implantation. Acupuncture generally seems to help normalize a person’s hormone production – hormones that are normalized translate to a normal menstrual cycle, timely ovulation, successful implantation and a perfect environment for getting pregnant.
Fertility can also be severely affected by stress. Personal problems, financial strain and stress from work can affect the balance of the hormones and so may lead to fertility issues. Women who are under too much stress have been known to even skip a period. The body seems to help the woman deal with her stress, conserving energy by foregoing her menstrual cycle at least until the stress has subsided. Because of its well-known ability to remove stress, acupuncture can help the couple successfully go through fertility assisted procedures by relieving the stress in their body.
Chinese Herbal Medicine
A lot of medical studies have focused on acupuncture treatment. That is not to say that Chinese herbal medicine is not an outstanding modality that can be used to treat infertility. When they are correctly prescribed, these types of medicine can help normalize the cycle of menstruation to enable the woman to successfully conceive. A lot of Chinese herbal formulas are very effective at boosting male potency and fertility as well. They can resolve issues such as low sperm count and erectile dysfunction among others. You need to be careful though when using these formulas as most of them have powerful effects. They should only be prescribed by licensed traditional Chinese medicine practitioners who were properly trained in the art of traditional Chinese herbal medicine.
IVF Provides Much Better Results when Used With Acupuncture
Recent studies have focused on acupuncture’s impact on ART (Assisted Reproductive Technologies) procedures such as In-Vitro Fertilization or IVF. The March 2008 publication of the British Medical Journal showed that embryo transfers complemented with acupuncture boosted pregnancy rates and live birth among females being treated with IVF. This report showed the very high success rates of therapies that have been combined with eastern medicine and western medicine.
IVF and other assisted fertility techniques do greatly help infertile couples realize their dream of bearing a child of their own. And when they are combined with acupuncture, these procedures provide the couple with a high chance of making this dream come true.