Unexplained infertility: taking back your power to conceive by Dr (TCM) Attilio D'Alberto Download Around 20% of couples who fail to get pregnant are likely to be given the diagnosis of unexplained fertility, a label that to many feels like hitting an invisible brick wall. Generally the only advice given is to keep on trying, either naturally or through ivf, leading many to seek alternative options for boosting their chances of conception. Chinese medicine has answers for unexplained infertility and a skilled practitioner specialising in fertility can make headway where none was found previously. Most women that come to my clinic with unexplained infertility have a deficiency of blood, usually something that comes with age and a busy, stressful lifestyle. Blood is our life force; it regulates hormones, keeps us warm and feeds the endometrial lining and foetus. In general, the more blood you have, the more there is to help the follicles mature, thicken the endometrial lining and maintain a healthy pregnancy. Women lose blood every month from their menstrual cycle, so it’s important to replenish blood supplies. However, it’s hard to build blood levels month after month. Over time, this leads to a steady reduction in blood levels. Western medicine blood tests don’t always pick up a blood deficiency. This is because in Chinese medicine, a blood deficiency diagnosis is broader and picks up more subtle deficiencies. For most people reading this, their highest priority is to have a child. However, the body’s priority works in a different way. It needs to keep going with day to day needs and demands. If after the day’s needs are meet, there is enough left over, then the body will divert that off for fertility. If however, the day’s busy needs have exhausted the body’s reserves, then there won’t be enough for fertility. Coupled with age, which naturally leads to a decrease of blood as we get older, it’s an uphill battle for most women. Blood is like money, the more you use, the more you spend. It is important to build up and conserve blood levels for optimal fertility, something that we too often “burn up” through our modern, hectic lifestyles. Acupuncture helps to regulate energy and blood flow, which helps to regulate the body’s hormones and the menstrual cycle. It also helps the digestive system produce more blood. However, it can take time. In such cases, I give dietary advice to help produce more blood, including foods such as chicken, almonds, mussels, beetroot, etc. Both of these measures can be enough for most women under 35. In those over 35, more blood is needed quicker to aid fertility. In such cases, I prescribe Chinese herbs which actively go to help produce more blood and are the first choice in China. Taking back your power to conceive is about recognising that your power lies inside you, quite literally in your blood supply. Beginning a programme that identifies and treats blood deficiency can allow you to step past the barrier of unexplained fertility. Many women who have had the blow of being told they have unexplained infertility go on to maintain successful pregnancies with the support of a skilled TCM fertility specialist.