In China, herbal medicine has over two thousand years of history and is used extensively for the treatment of a wide range of gynecological conditions including both female and male infertility by balancing hormonal conditions. In this way, herbal medicine treats not only the symptoms, but the root cause of infertility. This significantly increases success rates.
Our clinic has more than 600 different herbs. An individual’s personal herbal formula contains at least 12 ingredients. Over the centuries, herbal prescriptions have continued to evolve thanks to prevailing theories, clinical evidence, and scientific research. In Dr. Shen’s animal studies, herbs have shown effective results related to inducing ovulation in mice, as shown in photos below.
Fig. Dr. Shen’s animal studies has shown that 28 day-old mice ovaries developed pre-ovulatory follicle after a one week treatment of Chinese Herbal Medicine, significantly better than the control group mice ovaries (P<0.05). The study also revealed that the herbal medicine group mice uterus developed a larger size with abundant vessels and thicker uterus lining than the control group mice.
A recent systematic review investigating the effect of Chinese herbal medicine on pregnancy rates compared to that of assisted reproductive technology intervention showed that Chinese herbal medicine improved pregnancy rates two-fold within a four month period versus only fertility drug therapy, or IVF. A recent review also demonstrated the effectiveness of Chinese herbal medicine for endometriosis.
The mechanisms through which herbal medicineand acupuncture influence female fertility are believed to involve the central stimulation of beta-endorphin secretions. This in turn impacts the GnRH pulse generator and thereby gonadotrophin and steroid secretions. Then a general sympatho-inhibitory effect occurs through increased blood flow to the uterus and ovaries, resulting in uterine conditions favoring implantation. Several potential mechanisms for its effects on fertility have been postulated: (1.)It improves ovary functions to help produce better quality eggs and a larger number of follicles. (2.) Increases blood flow to the uterus and therefore increases the uterine lining thickness. (3.) Improves male semen to create better quality and quantity of embryos.(4.) Lessens Western IVFdrug side effects. (5.) Decreases the chance of miscarriage. (6.) Regulates and balances hormones. (7.) Relaxes the patient and decreases her stress.
Our clinical experience indicates that Chinese herbs increase endometrial thickness, improve fertility and embryo quality, as well as promote embryonic implantation. This enhances the success rate of an IVF/ICSI/IUI cycle, even when taking the pharmaceutical drug Clomid. Chinese herbs can also help prevent uterine contractions, strengthen a patient’s immune system, and decrease the chance of miscarriage. In conclusion, Chinese herbs help to improve the outcome and safety of assisted reproductive technologies.
Early treatment enhances and improves the quality and quantity of oocytes. TCM has attached great importance to prevention. Therefore, three months before IVF treatment, we encourage the use of Chinese herbal medicine and/or acupuncture treatment to improve egg quality. This is especially important for patients with a diminished ovarian reserve.