By Anna Plavnicky, WPUNJ student writer
From a young age, women are influenced to remain abstinent out of fear of pregnancy. But what happens when the fear changes to, “why can’t I get pregnant?” Luckily, there are many natural fertility options that balance both masculine and feminine energies to promote conception.
While many westerners regard sex as pleasure-based, Eastern medicine focuses on successful reproduction. New drugs and treatments enter the western market daily, but Eastern Medicine achieved herbal treatments for infertility since 200 A.D. While the U.S. focuses on medication and artificial insemination, Eastern medicine strives to aid in overall fertility. Therefore placing their focus through balanced energies and traditional holistic methodology.
Traditional Chinese Medicine and fertility
Traditional Eastern Medicine grounds itself in the balance of energies known as yin and yang. Yin and yang is a fundamental concept in Chinese culture based on two opposites attracting and complimenting each other; for example, dark and light, or old and young. This attraction and complementing of opposing energies manifests itself in all aspects of our lives, including intercourse and fertility.
Dr. Jill Blakeway, a licensed and board certified acupuncturist and clinical herbalist at the YinOva Center in New York City, states that, “Lovemaking contains an interplay of yin and yang, or giving and receiving. If one partner is dominant and one yielding, the imbalance of yin yang can lead to problems in the bedroom.”
The truth about infertility
Although a woman may feel alone while struggling with infertility, statistics show that a majority of women face infertility issues. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the number of women aged 15-44 with impaired fecundity, the impaired ability to get pregnant or carry a baby to term, is 7.5 million, or 59.8 births per 1000 women. A significant increase in infertility over when, as of 1957 records, the fertility rate was 122.9 births per 1000 women. This is the lowest level recorded in the United States since the initiation of the study.
A 2011 compilation study completed at the The University of Adelaide in Australia, agreed that Chinese Herbal Medicine can improve pregnancy rates twofold within four months in comparison to Western Medical fertility drug therapy or IVF. Although Chinese herbs and treatments have been used for centuries, western based research is still uncovering potential risks. A study at Loma Linda University School of Medicine in California found that small amounts of herbs, such as St. John’s wort and ginkgo biloba, made eggs difficult to fertilize, changed the genetic material in sperm and reduced it’s viability.
Although western medicine has not put years of time and money into eastern medicine research, doctors in the U.S. have started to create their own practices based around the combination of eastern and western medical treatments. According to the research, the best results stem from the use of traditional eastern medicine, such as herbs, in combination with the newer treatment plans developed in western medicine.
Natural fertility options
Chasteberry helps regulate ovulation and promotes fertility by lowering prolactin levels and increasing progesterone ones. Dr. David Edelberg, board certified in Internal Medicine and founder of WholeHealth Chicago, states that chasteberries may ease menstrual complaints, fertility problems, and even menopausal discomforts.
Asian Ginseng, although said to help balance the menstrual cycle, can help increase levels of testosterone, sperm count, and sperm motility in men. The National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health’s fact sheet for Asian Ginseng notes that ginseng may help to regulate stress levels, improve physical stamina, and relieve health problems such as erectile dysfunction.
Acupuncture, when paired with Western fertility treatments, such as intrauterine insemination, is the best option available to increase your conception rate. A 2012 study from Tel Aviv University reports that 65.5 percent of the test group were able to conceive when combining IUI with traditional chinese medicine treatments, compared to 39.4 percent of the control group that received no herbal or acupuncture therapy. While research has not tested the multitude of herbal treatments, western medicine has accepted the benefits of acupuncture therapy.
Balancing Yin and Yang naturally
These treatments are recommended to balance the yin and yang energies within ourselves. Once you have inner balance, you’ll find better harmony between the yin and yang energies shared with your partner.
For an alternative medicine, contact a doctor certified to prescribe herbal treatments. The National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine requires certification through rigorous and specific training requirements in order to conduct acupuncture and practice herbalist medicine. The NCCAOM has created a directory of practitioners available to the public if you are looking for a referral. By discussing your needs with a licensed practitioner, you’re giving yourself the best odds of finding the perfect treatment plan.
Lao Tzu, an ancient Chinese Philosopher and founder of philosophical Taoism, once said, “A journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step.” Allow yourself to take that first step and begin the journey to fertility.