Receive the best of both worlds – consultation from both Western and TCM perspectives — for a holistic fertility assessment at Thomson Fertility Centre.
Ms Lim and her husband were in their late-30s when they started trying to conceive. After six months without success — even with the help of ovulation kits and tracking of Ms Lim’s basal body temperature — the couple decided to consult a fertility specialist at Thomson Fertility Centre. They were advised to try IVF (ISCI) as Ms Lim’s husband’s sperm analyses were unfavourable.
After failing the first cycle, Ms Lim turned to Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) for help. She started on a series of acupuncture treatments by Physician Seah Ai Wei from Thomson Chinese Medicine. The treatments were tailored to her individual needs and according to the stages of her menstrual and IVF cycles. After three fresh cycles and two frozen-thawed embryo transfer (FET) cycles over almost a year, Ms Lim was pregnant!
Empowering Couples to Conceive
Doctors and TCM practitioners both agree that Traditional Chinese Medicine, working in tandem with western fertility treatments, can vastly improve a couple’s chances of conception. A journal Fertility and Sterility, published in Germany in 2002, revealed that a study on 160 women saw increased pregnancy success when they added acupuncture to traditional IVF treatment protocols.
This, say doctors, is because both methods complement each other very well. “While the doctor from TFC (Thomson Fertility Centre) examines the couple to see if there is any evidence of causing infertility, TCM will help to adjust the couple’s body homeostasis to optimise their condition to conceive,” explains Dr Loh Seong Feei, Senior Consultant Obstetrician & Gynecologist, IVF Clinician, and Medical Director of Thomson Fertility Centre.
In a nutshell, TCM can help couples in three ways, adds Physician Seah Ai Wei, head of Thomson Chinese Medicine. TCM:
• Improves blood flow to ovaries, hence enhancing ovarian response to hormonal stimulation.
• Enhances the thickness of the uterine lining, thus promoting embryo implantation.
• Relaxes the body and relieves stress and side effects for women undergoing IVF.
When to Start Fertility Treatments?
If you intend to start a family, and have had unprotected sex for a year but still not conceived, you should start fertility treatment, says Dr Loh. Another factor to take into consideration is age. “If you and your spouse are 35 years and above, you should go for fertility assessment,” Physician Seah, who obtained her TCM Practicing Certificate in 2004, advises.
What to Expect at The First Consultations
At your first consultation with the western doctor, the doctor will take a detailed medical history, looking especially into your menstrual cycle. This is to ascertain your fertile period. The doctor will advise you and your spouse about the best time to have coitus.
The doctor will also check for the following:
(a) Medical conditions that can affect fertility, e.g. thyroid disease or endocrine diseases.
(b) Drug history – whether you are taking long-term medication that can affect the quality of eggs and sperm.
(c) Social habits — smoking and excessive drinking (of alcoholic beverages), for instance, can affect sperm and eggs.
The doctor may also conduct physical investigations such as:
• Ultrasound of the pelvis — to check for fibroids, polyps, and cysts that can affect fertility. The ultrasound can also assess ovulation status and egg reserves.
• Hormonal investigation — to ascertain hormonal balance, ovulation, egg reserves, and thyroid function.
• Infectious diseases – to screen for common infectious diseases and immunity against Rubella.
• Semen analysis for the male – to assess his sperm characterisation.
At your first consultation with the TCM physician, you will be asked to share your medical history and your current state of health (including your menstrual cycle details). The TCM physician will also want to know if you have concerns such as constipation, poor sleep, pain issues, lifestyle habits, and job stress. You will need to bring along your latest medical reports if they are available.
If your hubby has male infertility problems, TCM can help too. Both Chinese medicine and acupuncture can improve sperm quality, volume, and motility. “There are also patients with erectile dysfunction who see improvements after TCM treatments (such as maintaining erection during sexual intercourse),” says Physician Seah.
Go Holistic for Improved Fertility Success
Both Western and TCM have their merits when it comes to treating fertility issues. However, this doesn’t mean you must choose one over the other. In fact you can now receive the best of both worlds – consultation from both Western and TCM perspectives for a holistic fertility assessment — at Thomson Fertility Centre (TFC) and Thomson Chinese Medicine.
TCM helps with managing fertility issues and aiding natural conception. Furthermore, it can also complement Western fertility treatments. These are often referred to as assisted reproductive technologies (ART), such as in-vitro fertilisation (IVF) and intra-uterine insemination (IUI).
As Ms Lim’s experience confirms, TCM complemented her IVF treatments to give her a better chance at conception. In addition, Physician Seah’s caring bedside manner helped boost her morale throughout the challenging process. “I appreciate the patience and encouragement expressed by Physician Seah whenever I shared about my feelings related to my IVF experience,” Ms Lim confides.
The Holistic Fertility Consult package ($199 including GST) includes a first consult with Fertility Specialist at Thomson Fertility Centre followed by a first consult with a TCM Physician at Thomson Chinese Medicine. Find out more about it here.
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Feature image: Thomson Fertility Centre