Posted by: Scott Stewart, MSAc., Dipl.Ac., LAc.
A group of Australian researchers combed through the Cochran and Medline databases for Randomized Controlled Trials (RCTs) and meta-analyses of pregnancy rates from Chinese Herbal medicine (CHM) and Western medical (WM) treatments using drug therapies. The women who participated in these trials had infertility due to various reasons such as, PCOS, endometriosis, anovulation, fallopian tube blockage, or unexplained infertility
Their meta-analysis suggested that women with infertility had a 1.74 higher probability of achieving pregnancy with CHM compared to WM alone. The CHM group had a mean pregnancy rate of 60% compared to 33% in the WM group.
The inferences of this systemic review advocate that CHM increased pregnancy 2-fold within a 3-6 month period compared to WM. Additional findings highlight the abilities of CHM to positively influence fertility indicators such as: cervical mucus score, ovulation rates, biphasic basal body temperature, and the thickness of the endometrial lining.[i]
This review coincides with findings of past studies, which also found that pregnancy rates doubled with CHM compared to WM. As a comparison, In vitro fertilization (IVF) is the most common intervention, which is an invasive and painful procedure heavily dependent on synthetic drugs to manipulate the reproductive cycle. In general, women have a per cycle success rate of 20 – 35% using IVF alone.[ii] This number declines to 23.6% for women between the ages of 38-39, and drops down to 1.3% for women over the age of 44.[iii] Keep in mind that these percentages are pregnancies, not live births.
Interestingly, China has the world’s lowest infertility rate, and a reported 70% success rate in both men and women’s infertility cases. Reproductive issues have been extensively studies in Chinese medicine for thousands of years, and as a result they have developed sophisticated herbal formulas for specific conditions that prevent successful pregnancies.
See a comparison of Eastern medicine to IVF
 Ried K. Chinese herbal medicine for female infertility: an updated meta-analysis. Complement Ther Med. 2015 Feb;23(1):116-28. doi: 10.1016/j.ctim.2014.12.004. Epub 2015 Jan 3.
 Yanguang Wu, David H Barad, Vitaly Kushnir, Emanuela Lazzaroni, Qi Wang, David Albertini, Norbert Gleicher. Aging-related premature luteinization of granulosa cells is avoided by early oocyte retrieval. Journal of Endocrinology, 2015; JOE-15-0246 DOI: 10.1530/JOE-15-0246