From a Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) view point, infertility can arise from a host of factors. In general the treatments focus on building a woman’s energy, regulating her menstrual and energy flow, and all eviating any psychological issues which may be present. Of particular focus are the Kidney, Heart and Liver meridian systems.
In TCM, the Kidney system provides a woman with the foundation of her energy. If this energy is deficient either from over work or other health issues, conception may be difficult. In theory, a woman will ideally have more energy than she needs - that is, enough extra energy to offer to the baby. Many women with busy and stressful lives present with the kidney deficiency patterns described below.
The Liver system is responsible for the smooth flow of menstruation and of Blood and energy within the body generally. A major focus of the infertility treatment is to regulate a woman’s menstrual cycle and treat any associated issues such as PMS or dysmenorrhea. Regulation of the Liver system is an important aspect of treatment, particularly if menstrual issues are present. Liver imbalances such as stagnation are also a key component in psychological issues such as depression and anxiety.
The Heart system is largely related to a woman’s psycho-emotional states. As relaxation and enjoyment are crucial aspects of fertility, the treatments will work to alleviate any emotional issues. In addition to any previous psychological issues, many women who are also undergoing western therapies experience stress - as well as hormonal imbalances - from the western procedures and the time commitments involved. Working to alleviate this stress and reducing the side effects of hormonal therapies is an important aspect of treatment.
Outside of the meridian systems listed above, the Spleen and Lung meridian systems are often used as well. The spleen has a role in the production of energy and the lung has a role in emotional issues such as grief which may coexist with infertility.
The main goals of treatment are as follows:
In addition to the meridian systems described above, Chinese medicine also looks at infertility from a yin/yang perspective. Generally speaking the first section of a women’s cycle (~days 1-14) is more related to the status of Blood and Yin, where as the second section (ovulation to period) is related to the Yang. During the first section of the period the treatment may focus more on yin building protocols, whereas, the yang tonification may be the focus of the second section. This depends greatly on the overall set of signs and symptoms.