Medical Research

Chinese Medicine and Pregnancy Rates

Kristen Sparrow • July 02, 2012


Acupuncture for Happy Pregnancy!

This study was cited in a circular I receive from Health Concerns, an herbal company I use as a vendor.  Even if the numbers are overstated, they are significant enough to be reported.  Given the side effects, expense and unpleasantness of IVF, I find this study compelling.  In my practice,  I use acupuncture in addition to herbal therapies.  Often, patients’ doctors won’t allow women to take herbal therapies, which is a pity
The herbal approach to fertility to address the kidney first an foremost, whether it be a yin or yang deficiency. Regulating the cycle through liver and kidney is also important and PCOS is ever more common, and there are herbal approaches to regulating the cycle in that condition, too.

Complement Ther Med. 2011 Dec;19(6):319-31. doi: 10.1016/j.ctim.2011.09.003. Epub 2011 Oct 5.
Efficacy of Traditional Chinese Herbal Medicine in the management of female infertility: a systematic review
Ried K, Stuart K
Discipline of General Practice, School of Population Health & Clinical Practice, The University of Adelaide, South Australia.
To assess the effect of Traditional Chinese Herbal Medicine (CHM) in the management of female infertility and on pregnancy rates compared with Western Medical (WM) treatment.
We searched the Medline and Cochrane databases and Google Scholar until February 2010 for abstracts in English of studies investigating infertility, menstrual health and Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). We undertook meta-analyses of (non-)randomised controlled trials (RCTs) or cohort studies, and compared clinical pregnancy rates achieved with CHM versus WM drug treatment or in vitro fertilisation (IVF). In addition, we collated common TCM pattern diagnosis in infertility in relation to the quality of the menstrual cycle and associated symptoms.
Eight RCTs, 13 cohort studies, 3 case series and 6 case studies involving 1851 women with infertility were included in the systematic review. Meta-analysis of RCTs suggested a 3.5 greater likelihood of achieving a pregnancy with CHM therapy over a 4-month period compared with WM drug therapy alone (odds ratio=3.5, 95% CI: 2.3, 5.2, p<0.0001, n=1005). Mean (SD) pregnancy rates were 60±12.5% for CHM compared with 32±10% using WM drug therapy. Meta-analysis of selected cohort studies (n=616 women) suggested a mean clinical pregnancy rate of 50% using CHM compared with IVF (30%) (p<0.0001).
Our review suggests that management of female infertility with Chinese Herbal Medicine can improve pregnancy rates 2-fold within a 4 month period compared with Western Medical fertility drug therapy or IVF. Assessment of the quality of the menstrual cycle, integral to TCM diagnosis, appears to be fundamental to successful treatment of female infertility.