Also known as complementary and alternative medicine (or CAM), complementary care treatment is a health and wellness therapy which can be helpful in the egg donation process when combined with western (conventional) medical care. This form of integrative medicine focuses on the whole person. It includes an individuals’ physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual health. The various types of complementary care treatment include acupuncture, herbal therapy, yoga, meditation, massage therapy, and nutrition.
Acupuncture is believed to affect blood flow, and in the case of fertility patients, it may help improve blood flow to the reproductive organs. This includes the uterus, whereby acupuncture is thought to improve the thickness of the uterine lining, thus increasing the chance of conception.
Herbal medicine, tied closely to Chinese medicine, has a reputation for enhancing both male and female fertility. Various herbs are known to support the natural fertility process and/or increase anti-oxidizing powers within the body.
Exercise, including yoga, is thought to increase circulation to the reproductive system. It also promotes a calming environment by reducing stress and anxiety, both of which regularly accompany fertility treatment.
Like yoga, meditation can help reduce stress, while helping one become more mindful of their surroundings. It creates a unique opportunity to reflect inward. It adds to the foundation of emotional stability during an otherwise turbulent time in life. Different types of meditation include sleep meditation, gratitude meditation, and morning meditation to help get the day off to a good start.
Some studies have found that fertility massage may increase blood flow to the reproductive organs, while it may also decreases psychological stress, reducing cortisol (stress hormone) levels.
Growing evidence points to the impact of diet on human fertility. On a basic level, whole grains, vegetables, fruit, and lean proteins have been associated with improved fertility outcomes. Alternatively, diets high in saturated fats and sugars are associated with poorer outcomes. Further, both women and men with BMI < 18 or > 30 have an increased risk of infertility. On another level, making food choices limiting pesticide exposure, which are linked to decreased fertility, have shown improvements in reproductive health. Further, reducing exposure to bisphenol-A (BPA), an endocrine disruptor affecting hormone regulation, also improves fertility and reproductive health.
Whether you’re trying to conceive using IVF or egg donation, or are simply trying to improve your health in preparation for pregnancy, the use of complementary care treatment as a supplement to westernized medicine has recently received expanded recognition. Fertility centers are, more and more, offering patients integrated care as a tool to support the body during fertility treatment.
Disclaimer: The content provided above is not intended for, nor should it be used as, a substitute for professional medical advice. It should not replace a conversation you have directly with your medical team regarding your complementary care treatment. Prior to pursuing complementary care treatment in association with your fertility treatment, we strongly encourage you discuss such care in detail with your medical team.