Research on Chinese Medicine and Fertility

Jane Lyttleton’s acupuncture fertility clinic in Australia is in the midst of several studies looking at the efficacy of 4 months of preconception treatment using acupuncture, herbs and dietary therapy to improve pregnancy rates.  They’ve compiled research and reviews on Chinese Medicine and its affect on different aspects of fertility.


Local Resources:

I work at Crossings: A Center for the Healing Traditions in downtown Silver Spring, MD. It is my pleasure to work with gifted practitioners of massage, physical therapy, holistic nutritional counseling, and psychotherapy. Crossings also offers a very comprehensive list of classes to nourish body, mind, and spirit.

Holistic Nutrition

Joy Hawk of How to Grow a Baby and Not Just Kale is a gifted health coach offering practical guidance on improving fertility through food choices.

Catherine Varchaver, NC MAT of Body and Soul Nutrition is a certified holistic health counselor bridging the gap between Eastern and Western approaches to health through our relationship with food.


Barbara Blitzer has a special gift for working with women and men with fertility issues and teaching a body/mind approach.

Emory Luce Baldwin does individual and family therapy.  She is truly gifted at helping one shift perspective and see new possibility.


Crossings has a wonderful selection of classes including Tai Chi, meditation, yoga, and parenting education (PEP).

Willow Street Yoga offers classes and workshops in Anusara Yoga, one of the most spiritually inspiring, therapeutically effective and physically transformative styles of hatha yoga.  They offer fertility and pregnancy yoga.



The Infertility Cure by Randine Lewis is a DIY of Chinese Medicine and fertility.  Learn what fertility type you are and treat yourself with acupressure and herbs to improve your chances of conceiving.

Making Babies is co-written by Dr Sami S. David (one of the first doctors to perform IVF in NY) and Jill Blakeway, an acupuncturist.  It’s a unique and practical blend of east and west, with plenty of information on what ARTs will work with your fertility type and making lifestyle choices to improve your fertility.  A client of mine has worked with Dr. David for her IUIs and cannot recommend him highly enough for his excellent bedside manner, ability to listen and incorporate the needs of the patient, and ability to titrate medication dosage based on the needs of the individual he’s working with.

Principles of Acupuncture by Angela Hicks
A very simple introduction to Acupuncture. She’s a very clear writer and includes a good deal of patient examples.

Discovering the Five Elements One Day at a Time by Janice MacKenzie
A fantastic way to really get the Five Elements in your life. Each chapter or season begins with a general description of the element/season and its associations. Each day following offers poetry, excerpts from Chinese medical classics, and exercises you can do to stay healthy in that season. It’s a way of using the principles of acupuncture to support your health without using a needle.


Lifestyle Changes for Fertility

Again, Jane Lyttleton has created fabulous pdfs with recommended lifestyle changes:

Preparing to Conceive

Male Factor Infertility

Your Embryo Transfer


Useful Tips for Natural Conception

  • Don’t forget foreplay!  Arousal improves cervical mucus and increases flow of hormones, thereby increasing fertility.  Men turned on by their partner have a higher sperm count.
  • Missionary position gets sperm closer to the cervix where it needs to be.
  • No anal sex – it may transfer bacteria and threaten fertility.
  • After sex, remain lying down for 10-20 minutes so sperm doesn’t have to fight gravity.  It’s not necessary to stand on your head.
  • Lubricants – use Preseed if any.  It’s the only commercially available lubricant that doesn’t decrease sperm motility or compromise sperm DNA.  Don’t use water, saliva, mineral oil, etc as they affect the acidity of the cervical mucus and health of the sperm.
  • Frequency – every other day around ovulation.  If sperm count is normal, sex daily is fine.  Daily ejaculation can improve sperm quality but will decrease quantity.
  • Timing – day before and day of ovulation is ideal.  Once sperm is in the body, it will live in fertile mucus 3-4 days waiting for the egg to drop from the follicle.  Ideally, try to get sperm there before ovulation occurs.  Have sex 14 days before you expect your period to start. Counting backwards may be more reliable than counting from menses.


Chinese Dietary Therapies

Debra Betts in New Zealand specializes in acupuncture and acupressure for pregnancy and labor, but she has great dietary and lifestyle recommendations useful for building your substance while you’re trying to conceive.  The most common issues I see in the clinic are:

Yin Deficiency

Blood Deficiency

Yang Deficiency