Fertility & IVF Support

 Hongwei Chinese Medicine Clinic is specialised in Fertility & IFV Support with Chinese Medicine & Acupuncture

Fertility & IVF Support

in Chinese Medicine

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) treats infertility by getting to the deeper, underlying root of the problem of each person. As a result, treatments are strictly individualized to each patient.

In addition, what makes TCM so unique, is the fact that unlike other approaches that typically focus on just one aspect of one’s health, TCM takes into consideration the overall patient’s physical and emotional state, seeking to improve both body and mind in an effort to optimise fertility. This holistic approach is globally gaining popularity for its efficiency and effectiveness.

According to TCM there are three main causes, called “syndromes” of infertility, deficiency, stagnation, and heat. Therefore, once the Chinese Medicine diagnosis takes place, the appropriate treatment is selected and applied. In addition, from a TCM perspective, infertility is caused by an imbalance of Qi in the body, especially in the three organs responsible for reproduction (Kidney, Liver and Spleen). Therefore, Chinese Medicine is used to restore the balance of Qi in the body and reproductive organs and thus, treat infertility.

In women, special focus is given on regulating the menstrual cycle in four phases for the treatment of reproductive concerns: menses, follicular, ovulation, luteal.

The most important and promising Chinese Medicine modalities towards fertility support are acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine. Both these modalities are widely used in China to treat fertility issues since the Shang dynasty 1500-100BC, when the first gynaecological records were written.

In addition, Chinese Medicine is used today as an adjuvant IVF treatment as its input is associated with greater odds of live birth (Hullender et al. 2015).

``The principle of Yin and Yang is the foundation of the entire universe. It underlies everything in creation. It brings about the development of parenthood; it is the root and source of life and death.``

– Neijing Suwen


for fertility and as an adjuvant therapy for IVF

There is a growing popularity of traditional Chinese medicine used alone or in combination with Western medicine for the management of infertility and/or IVF support.

Acupuncture as a treatment for infertility shows great results both in man and women, by improving the sperm quality and ovaries function and balancing the endocrine system and hormones (Zhu et al., 2018).

Researchers conclude that two to three acupuncture sessions performed on or around the day of embryo transfer can provide significant IVF-related stress reduction (Isoyama D et al., 2012, Hullender et al. 2018). In addition, patients have reported significantly less anxiety post-transfer along with feeling more optimistic (Domar et al., 2009).

These effects of acupuncture on stress and anxiety are of great importance as it is well known that stress and anxiety levels tend to be significantly elevated to women across IVF cycles, while low stress and anxiety levels (on the day prior to oocyte retrieval) result to higher pregnancy rates (Turner et al., 2013).

In parallel, numerous studies suggest that more acupuncture treatment sessions tend to be associated with increases in clinical pregnancy and live birth rates (Smith C. et al., 2006, Dieterle S. et al., 2006), while acupuncture performed on the day of in vitro fertilization can be detrimental to the success of the transfer (Craig et al., 2014).

Chinese Herbal Medicine

for fertility and as an adjuvant therapy for IVF

Chinese medicinal herbs have been used for since antiquity to treat gynaecological disorders including infertility.

Today, experimental and clinical studies reveal that the herbal ingredients used in Chinese medicinal recipes can regulate gonadotropin-releasing hormone and ovarian sex hormone levels, inducing ovulation, promoting blood flow to the ovaries, and improving ovarian reserve (Zhang et al., 2016, Teng B. et al., 2017).

Numerous case reports highlight the effectiveness of Chinese herbal medicine and recently a case study was published where a 43-year-old woman with infertility due to ovarian insufficiency and multiple fibroids after unsuccessful IVF outcome, was successfully treated by Chinese herbal medicine (Teng B. et al., 2017).


Hullender Rubin LE, Opsahl MS, Wiemer KE, Mist SD, Caughey AB3. (2015). Impact of whole systems traditional Chinese medicine on in-vitro fertilization outcomes. Reprod Biomed Online. 2015 Jun;30(6):602-12. doi: 10.1016/j.rbmo.2015.02.005. Epub 2015 Feb 24.

Zhu, J., Arsovska, B., & Kozovska, K. (2018). Acupuncture Treatment for Fertility. Open access Macedonian journal of medical sciences, 6(9), 1685–1687. doi:10.3889/oamjms.2018.379

Isoyama D, Cordts EB, de Souza van Niewegen AM, de Almeida Pereira de Carvalho W, Matsumura ST, Barbosa CP. (2012) Effect of acupuncture on symptoms of anxiety in women undergoing in vitro fertilisation: a prospective randomised controlled study. Acupunct Med. 2012 Jun;30(2):85-8. doi: 10.1136/acupmed-2011-010064. Epub 2012 Apr 12.

Hullender Rubin LE, Anderson BJ, Craig LB. (2018). Acupuncture and in vitro fertilisation research: current and future directions. Acupunct Med. 2018 Apr;36(2):117-122. doi: 10.1136/acupmed-2016-011352. Epub 2018 Feb 10.

Domar AD, Meshay I, Kelliher J, et al. The impact of acupuncture on in vitro fertilization outcome. Fertil Steril 2009;91:723–6.

Turner K, Reynolds-May MF, Zitek EM, et al. (2013) Stress and anxiety scores in first and repeat IVF cycles: a pilot study. PLoS One 2013;8:e63743.

Smith C, Coyle M, Norman RJ. (2006). Influence of acupuncture stimulation on pregnancy rates for women undergoing embryo transfer. Fertil Steril 2006;85:1352–8

Dieterle S, Ying G, Hatzmann W, Neuer A. (2006). Effect of acupuncture on the outcome of in vitro fertilization and intracytoplasmic sperm injection: a randomized, prospective, controlled clinical study. Fertil Steril 2006;85:1347–51

Craig LB, Rubin LE, Peck JD, Anderson M, Marshall LA, Soules MR. (2014). Acupuncture performed before and after embryo transfer: a randomized controlled trial. J Reprod Med. 2014 May-Jun;59(5-6):313-20.

Zhang C, Xu X. (2016). Advancement in the treatment of diminished ovarian reserve by traditional Chinese and Western medicine. Exp Ther Med. 2016 Apr;11(4):1173-1176. Epub 2016 Jan 26.

Teng, B., Peng, J., Ong, M., & Qu, X. (2017). Successful Pregnancy after Treatment with Chinese Herbal Medicine in a 43-Year-Old Woman with Diminished Ovarian Reserve and Multiple Uterus Fibrosis: A Case Report. Medicines (Basel, Switzerland)4(1), 7. doi:10.3390/medicines4010007

Dr. Zunli Guo

PhD Cand., MSc, LicAc, MATCM

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