View Comments
Tackling infertility with Chinese medicine
Getty Images Tackling infertility with Chinese medicine

A Federal Government-funded study at Adelaide University has found traditional Chinese herbal medicine to be more effective in the treatment of female infertility achieving, on average, a 60 per cent pregnancy rate over four months compared with 30 per cent achieved with standard Western drug treatment or IVF over 12 months.

The study, called the Efficacy of Traditional CHM in the Management of Female Infertility: A Systematic Review, also found that Chinese herbal treatment tailored to the individual's Chinese medicine diagnosis was a key to successful treatment.

When you see a Chinese medicine practitioner they will ask a series of questions about your general health condition seemingly unrelated to the reason you are seeking help.

But it is this individualised history and current snapshot of your health that allows Chinese medicine practitioners to grasp a potential cause of the difficulty you are experiencing.

The myriad tests given by your GP or specialist can also identify crucial information in cases of infertility.

For those who are having difficulty conceiving, it is clear Chinese medicine offers an alternative worth considering.

A stumbling block to choosing whether to try Chinese medicine has been the lack of Federal Government standards. Referrals from friends and family have been one avenue to selecting a practitioner.

Australia's peak Chinese medicine body also has a referral service ( However, from July 1 Chinese medicine practitioners and acupuncturists will be registered by the Federal Government.

Another difficulty has been preparing and drinking the herb teas. Chinese herbs are described in China as a bitter brew.

In the past, it was a cumbersome process to boil packets of leaves and twigs twice a day. The smell permeated the house and the taste was difficult to take.

Technology has come to the rescue and Chinese herbs are now available as granulated products.