Infertility Treatment at the Cutting Edge of Traditional and Biomedical Discourse.

Source: IASTAM International Congress on Traditional Asian Medicine, Sue Cochrane and Jane Lyttleton, September 2009
This, the Seventh International Congress on Traditional Asian Medicine, held in Bhutan attracted doctors and medical anthropologists from all parts of the world.There was much fruitful discussion on different ways of treating medical conditions and models for research.



The relationship between traditional medicines (in this case traditional Chinese medicine) and the globally dominating biomedical model is vexed. There has been much discussion about which medical system is losing or gaining from this interaction.A case example of infertility will be used to explicate this interaction. In the West the relationship between ART (assisted reproduction technology) and Chinese medicine is most interesting – is it at the vanguard in building and moulding a dialogue? Is IVF (in vitro fertilization) an arena of co-option? Who will benefit or lose most from this relationship? Are the research models used to date in IVF acupuncture studies best suited to the mechanism of action of acupuncture?  Are there other more suitable research models? This paper will explore these questions and point to the directions and possibilities for traditional medicines in this new stage of their evolution in the developed world.