These days, a lot of people have a basic understanding of what acupuncture is and what it can do. A growing number of people have a first-hand experience of acupuncture. However, another traditional Chinese medicine treatment known as moxibustion often combined with acupuncture needs further explanation.
In moxibustion, instead of needles heat is applied to acupuncture points. The aim is to move the flow of chi and also clear out cold from a specific bodily system.
In vivo refers to live organisms, from worms, to frogs, rats, and to humans; IVF or In vitro fertilization is in reference to petri dishes or other lab glass containers.
During an IVF procedure an egg or eggs are extracted from the ovaries of an infertile woman where they are fertilized into a petri dish (in vitro). Then the fertilized eggs or egg (zygotes or zygote) is transferred from the lab and into the uterus of the woman.
Infertility is circumvented in In-vivo procedures. This type of infertility treatment requires a human donor who is injected with a donor’s sperm or the sperm of the husband of infertile woman where it impregnates the donor. The embryo is removed and inserted into the infertile woman as it begins to form in the ovaries of the donor.
A few years before the creation of IVF in 1978, the embryo in-vivo technique was accomplished. This technique soon became the infertility intervention most preferred by doctors because infections were minimal due to lab controls, occasional donor pregnancy was prevented, and the biological status of the newborn was less questionable.
However, besides being expensive, IVF procedures have very low success rates (around 20%). It is seldom given coverage by health insurance companies.
The ancient Chinese medical practice of TCM or Traditional Chinese Medicine has silently established itself as a powerful treatment for the increase of fertility in both women and men. This success was not lost to the Western medical scientific community, whose standard is the empirically proven randomized double blind testing procedures.
As an Adjunct Treatment, TCM Tends to Boost the Effectiveness of IVF
In a randomized clinical study conducted in Sao Paolo, Brazil, a March, 2013 a review published in PubMed stated that “acupuncture’s influence on IVF results during embryo implantation has failed.”
In the study, there were 84 women who participated. All of them had IVF twice without success. The women were equally divided into three groups. One group was correctly treated with applied moxibustion /acupuncture and IVF, their pregnancy rates were 35.7%. The IVF only treatment group had a 7.1% success rate while the sham acupuncture group, 10.7%.
The researchers concluded that moxibustion and acupuncture as an adjunct therapy significantly increased the rate of pregnancy in women who underwent IVF, when embryo implantation had failed.
Is IVF Really Required?
The reason why the Brazilian study was conducted was because the rate of success of IVF was low and many believe that TCM proved a much better alternative in boosting one’s chances of conception without the need for in vivo embryo transfer or IVF.
The study showed that doctors can still utilize IVF along with TCM as an adjunct therapy to boost IVF’s success. Therefore, both doctors and TCM practitioners see this as a win-win situation for their cause.
But this should mean the Brazilians are either well off or have universal health coverage since IVF procedures are quite costly. In the United States, an IVF treatment can easily cost $10,000. So, if by itself, does TCM work for the treatment of infertility? The answer to that is YES.
To prove this, one can cite the case of Dr. Randine Lewis, who decided to only use TCM treatment when she established The Fertile Soil group. Because of her own personal issues where she used TCM to cure her infertility, she decided to have a clinic that addresses infertility using purely TCM procedures.
We should note that TCM is entirely a natural treatment that does not use any pharmaceutical medications nor performs invasive treatments. It costs considerably less than IVF therapy and does not have any side effects that drugs or IVF has.