Unexplained Infertility

Unexplained Infertility can be one of the most frustrating diagnoses to receive in the world of infertility. All blood and lab work has been run on each partner and everything comes back within normal ranges. All diagnostic workups, such as an ultrasound and hysterosalpingogram (HSG - checks for fallopian tube blockage), also come back normal. There is no reason why pregnancy cannot be achieved and yet, for some reason, it hasn’t.

Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine 

Sometimes when a new patient comes in with unexplained infertility, they are also quite healthy from a Chinese medicine perspective and the situation becomes even more baffling. But often, there is a glaring Chinese medicine diagnosis, that makes perfect sense why the person isn’t getting pregnant. When this happens, there is a clear road ahead to be taken.

In Chinese medicine, we do a full health history intake, make a Chinese medical diagnosis based on the person’s constitution, offer dietary, supplement and lifestyle advice; and may recommend individualized herbal formulas. 

From our perspective, this is an imbalance in the system; a stagnation, deficiency or disruption that needs to be addressed and brought back into alignment for optimal health and reproductive vitality. 

Acupuncture:

Weekly acupuncture that focuses on bringing balance and vitality to the system. We will focus on the underlying pathology to support and nourish your reproductive energy.

Herbs:

Chinese herbs will be prescribed if we determine it is appropriate for your individual situation.

Supplements:

  • High quality Prenatal that has methylated B-vitamins, like Folate (methylated Folic Acid), Methyl-colbamine (B12) and Pyridoxal 5-‘Phospate (B6).
  • Fish oil has been shown to delay ovarian aging, is an excellent anti-inflammatory and increases blood flow to the uterus and ovaries. 
  • CoQ10 improves egg quality (according to some research) and fertilization rates.
  • Vitamin D levels should be checked! Vitamin D levels of 30ng/ml or higher are associated with higher pregnancy rates (research). We suggest supplementing with 2,000-3,000mg of Vitamin D3 (this includes the amount found in your Prenatal).
  • NAC: Helps relieve oxidative stress and is essential in making Glutathione (a powerful antioxidant)

Diet:

  • Eat lots of organic fruits and vegetables.
  • Consume adequate amounts of protein, either in vegetarian form or in lean meats that have not been hormonally treated. 
  • If you eat grains, then eat whole grains that are minimally processed; like oatmeal, quinoa or brown rice.
  • Bone broth: Drink ½-1 cup per day. Bone broth supports the Kidney energy in Chinese medicine and therefore supports reproductive energy.
  • Get enough fiber in your diet. It aids detoxification and regulates hunger, blood sugar and aids in the removal of excess estrogen from the body.
  • Avoid concentrated sweets/sweeteners, refined grains, white bread, and pasta. They disrupt blood sugar and insulin levels that can negatively impact ovulation.
  • Eliminate alcohol and caffeine. See Planting the Seeds of Pregnancy: an Integrative Approach to Fertility Care for more information.
  • Drink plenty of water!

Lifestyle:

  • Reduce toxins that act as endocrine disruptors (like BPAs and phthalates). These are commonly found in plastics. Consider removing all plastic from your kitchen and replacing with glass, metal, wood and ceramic.
  • Stress management support. Stress and anxiety have been found to suppress ovarian function and menstrual cycles. 
  • Get moderate amounts of exercise to keep the body strong and reduce stress.

For more information, detailed descriptions and the research to back it all up, please see Planting the Seeds of Pregnancy: an Integrative Approach to Fertility Care.

written by Andrea Iwi'ula in the Bellevue office