One of my teachers used to say 'the way you see a problem depends on how you look at it', he would also say 'if the only tool you have is a hammer then all your problems look like nails'. Chinese medicine has a number of ways of looking at infertility, which may be different to more conventional perspectives, it also has a number of tools which may be used to address any problems which are perceived. Perhaps the best way to illustrate this is to take some actual cases which I have dealt with over the past few years.
Woman age 39 with secondary infertility, that is to say she had had a successful first pregnancy but had not been able to conceive for a second time despite trying for over two years. She had a full time and fairly stressful job and was anxious about other aspects of her life. In Chinese medicine she had a deficiency of liver and kidney Yin and liver Qi stagnation. Energy becomes stagnant in situations that we in the west may term stressful. Yin energy which is the nurturing holding feminine aspect of our beings can become depleted through hard and anxiety making work. This lady had ten acupuncture treatments during which she and her husband decided their priority was to have another baby and that she should leave work. As she was working her notice she concieved.
During her pregnancy she experienced stabbing pains in her ower abdomen and groin and was concerned about a possible miscariage. She was given a Chinese herbal formula called Jiao Ai Tang which is a mixture of Gelatine and very Yin nourishing herbs. This eased the pains sufficiently for her to continue her planned trip to New Zealand. She had a healthy boy.
The next case is of a woman age 38 who had decided late on in life that she wanted to have children but after 18 monhs had not yet conceived. I found her lower abdomen was colder than the rest of her body and that she had a pale purple and slightly floppy tongue. These were signs of Qi deficiency and coldness in her uterus, a condition for which there isn't really a Western equivalent. The basis of treatment was therefore to warm and nourish the uterus with acupuncture and moxa, (a herb which when burnt gives off a deep and penetrating heat). She became pregnant after 3 months, and continued to have treatment through her pregnancy. She gave birth to a girl,
In Britain, conventional treatments such as IVF have success rates running at about 30% as well as a waiting lists of well over a year. Acupuncture and Chinese medicine would be particularly appropriate for those couples who had been checked out by the medical profession and were found to have no biomedical reason for not getting pregnant. The time they might otherwise spend on a waiting list becoming increasingly agitated (remember Qi stagnation) could be well spent having some treatment.
Male infertility can also be addressed using chinese medicine with patients showing increases in both sperm count and motility with acupuncture and herbal treatment.