Fertility and Pregnancy Support

There are a number of possible explanations as to why couples may experience difficulty conceiving.  TCM can be used as a stand-alone, natural, drug-free treatment option to enhance fertility and treat both medically explained and unexplained infertility.  It can also be safely used in conjunction with conventional Western Medical fertility treatment before and during pregnancy. Come to our clinic and let our practitioners work with you across a number of modalities and find the best solutions for you.



No individual herb is considered especially useful for promoting fertility. Rather, more than 150 different herbs, usually given in complex formulas comprised of 15 or more ingredients, are used in the treatment of infertility with the purpose of correcting a functional or organic problem that caused infertility. The design of the formulas has varied somewhat over the centuries, based on prevailing theories and available resources, and individual practitioners have a preference for particular herbs, thus accounting for some of the variations among formulas that are recommended. However, differences among individuals being treated accounts for the greatest variation in the selection of herbs and formulas to be used. There are some “exotic” materials that are frequently found in fertility formulas, such as deer antler and sea horse, but the prominent materials are derived from roots, barks, leaves, flowers, and fruits. Formulas for men and for women tend to be different, but there is considerable overlap in the ingredients used.


Although the outcome for any given individual cannot be predicted, the clinical studies conducted in China indicate that about 70% of all cases of infertility (male and female) treated by Chinese herbs resulted in pregnancy or restored fertility. Depending on the particular study and the types of infertility treated, success rates ranged from about 50% up to more than 90%. Included in these statistics are cases of infertility involving obstruction of the fallopian tubes, amenorrhea, absent ovulation, endometriosis, uterine fibroids, low sperm count, non liquification of semen, and other causes. In China, due to the greater experience with using herbs, the ability to directly integrate traditional and modern methods of therapy, and the willingness of individuals to consume relatively large doses of herbs, the success rates are probably somewhat higher than can be achieved in Australia at the present time.


In the Chinese clinical studies, daily or periodic use of herbs usually resulted in restored fertility within three to six months. Many Chinese doctors feel that if pregnancy is not achieved within about eight to nine months, then it is unlikely that the treatment will be successful with continued attempts. In Japan, where doctors give lower dosages of herbs and are restricted to using a smaller range of herbs, treatment time is usually longer: from six to fifteen months. In Australia, nearly the full ranges of Chinese herb materials are accessible, but the dosage to be used is usually lower than in China; as a result, it is estimated that pregnancy can be achieved within six to twelve months. It must be remembered, however, that approximately one-third of infertility cases may fail to respond to all reasonable attempts. One advantage of the Chinese herbal approach is that even if pregnancy does not occur, benefits to health can be attained because the herbs address imbalances that affect other aspects of health besides infertility.


It is not advisable to suggest that something simply cannot be accomplished in the field of health care (because there are almost always exceptions), but there are some areas where chances of success are considered quite low. Some women suffer from amenorrhea that is associated with a very low body fat content. This is apparently exacerbated by strenuous exercise (e.g., distance running). Changes in diet and exercise may be necessary before Chinese herbs or other therapeutic methods can be effective. In a few cases, a woman’s immune system will attack her husband’s sperm and thus make fertilization virtually impossible; this cannot be overcome with Chinese herbs. People who are under very high levels of stress or who have multiple health problems may need to have these things addressed-partly with use of Chinese herbs-before a reasonably high chance of success can be expected in the specific treatment of infertility.


The herbs for inducing fertility are usually discontinued once pregnancy is suspected or confirmed. In most cases, it is not necessary to use herbs during pregnancy. Women with a history of miscarriage or who are deemed at high risk for miscarriage (somewhat more common among women who have experienced prolonged infertility) may wish to take herbs that are traditionally used in such cases by Chinese women. Certain herbs can be used during pregnancy to enhance the health of the mother and to counteract symptoms of morning sickness. In addition, it is reported that labor can be made easier by proper application of herbs and acupuncture.


Threatened miscarriage, if due to an imbalance in the mother’s system (but not if due to genetic problems with the fetus), can often be overcome with application of herbs and possible adjunct therapy with moxa or acupuncture. The method to be used and the procedures to follow should be discussed early in the pregnancy so that appropriate steps can be taken should bleeding, fetal agitation, or early contractions occur. It is important to note that most cases of early miscarriage (sometimes called spontaneous abortion) are not related to an imbalance in the mother’s system but are rather a natural and fairly common event, possibly due to a development problem of the embryo. Later in the pregnancy, weaknesses in the mother’s system or excessive fetal movement become a more prominent factor. There are some popular herb formula remedies in China for use during the latter part of pregnancy.


Chinese clinicians appear confident that most fertility problems can be overcome solely or primarily with the use of herbs; most medical books describing Chinese methods of treating infertility do not mention acupuncture. However, acupuncture therapy may address particular symptoms of concern either directly related or unrelated to infertility, and might be influential in speeding up the development of normal fertility. In the event that infertility is mainly due to functional disorders, it is possible that acupuncture alone could resolve the problem.