Can Chinese Herbal Medicine support Fertility and IVF?
When on your journey to conceive, it’s natural to feel overwhelmed with questions and concerns about fertility treatments. Misinformation and a lack of support can make it difficult to navigate the process. The Acupuncture Pregnancy Clinic is here to guide you through it all with our evidence-based expertise and care.
In recent years, there has been growing interest in the potential of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) to improve outcomes for couples struggling with infertility. Several studies have explored the impact of incorporating TCM therapies with conventional in vitro fertilisation and embryo transfer (IVF-ET) care on the outcomes of IVF treatment. Chinese herbal medicine can be used as an adjunctive therapy to conventional fertility treatments. It’s important to note that these studies are just the beginning of exploring the potential benefits of Chinese herbal medicine in treating infertility.
In recent studies, some Chinese Herbal medicines studies Si Wu Tang and Liu Wei Di Huang Wan have shown promising results in improving ovarian function, enhancing oocyte quality, and increasing pregnancy rates. However, results from the studies while promising should be treated with caution as the studies have some limitation
Let’s start with Si Wu Tang. A study conducted on mice found that SWT improved follicular development, decreased oxidative stress, and promoted angiogenesis. SWT also increased the pregnancy rate of mice with Premature Ovarian Failure and protected offspring from exposure to harmful substances. The chemical compositions of SWT, including galliac acid, ferulic acid, and Paeonia lactiflora, have been shown to inhibit apoptosis of granulosa cells, enhance angiogenesis, and activate follicular development and ovarian angiogenesis, respectively. Basically, it seemed to have a regenerative effect on ovaries and improved egg development in the ovaries.
Another traditional Chinese herbal formula that has shown promising results is Liu Wei Di Huang Wan. In a randomised controlled trial on women with kidney-yin deficiency syndrome, patients who took LWDHW before in vitro fertilisation had a higher quality of oocytes, embryos, and pregnancy rate. The mechanism may be through regulating proteome expression in the follicular fluid.
Perhaps not surprisingly our “Prepare to Conceive” formulas at the Acupuncture Pregnancy clinic are based on the combination of these two formulas: Liu Wei Di Huang Wan and Si Wu Tang.
A meta-analysis that combined and analyzed the results of Chinese Herbal Medicine (CHM) for fertility has some interesting results as well.
A meta-analysis conducted by Reid (2015) involving 4,247 women with infertility suggested a 1.74 higher probability of achieving clinical pregnancy with Chinese herbal medicine (CHM) treatment than with Western medicine (WM) therapy alone. The mean pregnancy rate in the CHM group was 60% compared to 33% in the WM group (2).
Another systematic review and meta-analysis by Kwon et al. (2020) investigated the efficacy of Chinese herbal medicine in women undergoing IVF. Among the 43 RCTs, only eight studies reported mild adverse effects related to HM, and there were no severe adverse effects reported. Herbal medicine was consistently more likely to increase the live birth rate and clinical pregnancy rate than those not receiving adjunctive treatment (3).
It’s important to note that these studies are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to understanding the potential benefits of Chinese herbal medicine in treating infertility. Further research is necessary to explore the full potential of these therapies. Nonetheless, it’s reassuring to see that traditional Chinese medicine is gaining more attention as a potential option for couples struggling with infertility.
The Acupuncture Pregnancy Clinic is here to help you navigate the world of fertility treatments and offer our expertise in Chinese herbal medicine. We’re dedicated to providing you with excellent care and support throughout your journey.
Are you struggling with infertility and feeling hopeless and unempowered? Are you unsure who to trust and where to get accurate information? Have you spent countless dollars and feel like you don’t know what to do next as you don’t want to be wasting even more money on something that might not work… we get it.
At Acupuncture Pregnancy Clinic, we understand what you’re going through, and we’re here to help you confidently navigate your fertility journey and discover your potential. Our highly trained team of Traditional Chinese Medicine practitioners has been providing compassionate TCM support to people just like you since 2008.
We use the latest research to inform our practice, so you can be sure that you’re getting the best possible evidence-based Traditional Chinese Medicine and acupuncture care and the best possible outcomes.
We believe that you’re the master of your own body and fertility, and we’re here to guide you through this journey every step of the way to help you to take control of your fertility and grow your family.
Find the nearest clinic location to your home or work using our website or by contacting our team for assistance.
Get the support you need to confidently navigate your fertility journey and discover your potential with our evidence-based approach to fertility and pregnancy care. Our compassionate and knowledgeable team is here to listen, support, and guide you every step of the way to address your unique fertility and pregnancy needs. Take charge of your reproductive health with us.
- Xia J, et al. Incorporating whole-systems traditional Chinese medicine into conventional in vitro fertilisation care: study protocol for a randomised controlled trial. J Integr Med. 2018;16(2):90-95.
- Reid R, et al. Chinese herbal medicine and clomiphene citrate for anovulation: a meta-analysis of randomised controlled trials. J Altern Complement Med. 2015;21(5):245-252.
- Kwon, C. Y., Lee, B., Lee, S. H., & Jo, J. (2020). Herbal medicine in women undergoing in vitro fertilisation/ intracytoplasmic sperm injection: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Complementary Therapies in Medicine, 53, 102528–102528.
- Lian, F., Wu, H., Sun, Z., Guo, Y., Shi, L., & Xue, M. (2014). Effects of Liuwei Dihuang Granule (六味地黄颗粒) on the outcomes of in vitro fertilisation pre-embryo transfer in infertility women with Kidney-yin deficiency syndrome and the proteome expressions in the follicular fluid. Chinese Journal of Integrative Medicine, 20(7), 503–509.
- Ried, R. (2015). Chinese herbal medicine for female infertility: An updated meta-analysis. Complementary Therapies in Medicine, 23(1), 116–128.
- Zhou, F., Song, Y., Liu, X., Zhang, C., Li, F., Hu, R., Huang, Y., Ma, W., Song, K., & Zhang, M. (2021). Si-Wu-Tang facilitates ovarian function through improving ovarian microenvironment and angiogenesis in a mouse model of premature ovarian failure. Journal of Ethnopharmacology, 280, 114431–114431.