There are many possible causes of female infertility. Tubal disease and endometriosis (a condition in which uterine tissue begins to grow where it shouldn't) account for 50% of female infertility; failure of ovulation is the cause of about 30%; and cervical factors cause another 10%.
An immense industry has sprung up around correcting female infertility, using techniques that range from hormone therapy to in vitro (test tube) babies. Although these methods have their occasional stunning successes, there is considerable controversy about the high cost and low rate of effectiveness of fertility treatments in general. The good news is that apparently infertile women often become pregnant eventually with no medical intervention at all.
Proposed Natural Treatments
Women with a condition known as polycystic ovary syndrome
In a small double-blind, placebo-controlled trial, use of
Because of its effects on the hormone prolactin, the herb
Another study reported that
Caffeine avoidance has also been recommended for improving fertility, but there is no evidence as yet that it really helps.
12. Rizk AY, Bedaiwy MA, Al-Inany HG, et al. N-acetyl-cysteine is a novel adjuvant to clomiphene citrate in clomiphene citrate-resistant patients with polycystic ovary syndrome. Fertil Steril . 2005;83:367-370.
13. Unfer V, Casini ML, Gerli S, et al. Phytoestrogens may improve the pregnancy rate in in vitro fertilization-embryo transfer cycles: a prospective, controlled, randomized trial. Fertil Steril . 2004;82:1509-1513.
14. Ali AFM, Awadallah A. Bee propolis versus placebo in the treatment of infertitily associated with minimal or mild endometriosis: a pilot randomized controlled trial. A modern trend. Fertil Steril 2003;80 (Supp 3):S32.
18. Oshima M, Gu Y, Tsukada S, et al. Effects of Lepidium meyenii Walp and Jatropha macrantha on blood levels of estradiol-17 beta, progesterone, testosterone and the rate of embryo implantation in mice. J Vet Med Sci . 2003;65:1145-1146.
19. Westergaard LG, Mao Q, Krogslund M, et al. Positive effects of acupuncture in ART are not mediated by changes in ovarian and endometrial production of estradiol, progesterone, and placental protein 14. Fertil Steril. 2006 Apr 4 [Epub ahead of print].
20. Westergaard LG, Mao Q, Krogslund M, et al. Acupuncture on the day of embryo transfer significantly improves the reproductive outcome in infertile women: a prospective, randomized trial. Fertil Steril. 2006 Apr 4 [Epub ahead of print].
24. Manheimer E, Zhang G, Udoff L, et al. Effects of acupuncture on rates of pregnancy and live birth among women undergoing in vitro fertilisation: systematic review and meta-analysis. BMJ. 2008;336:545-549.
Last reviewed April 2009 by EBSCO CAM Review Board
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