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About Infertility

Infertility is a common condition in the UK affecting one in six women and men. The causes in women may vary. There may be a functional problem, where the hormonal levels are abnormal; ovulation problems (e.g. Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome accounts for about 70% of cases of female infertility); there may be an organic reason, such as inflammatory pelvic disease (PID) which causes infertility in 1 in 5 women; or Endometriosis (which accounts for at least 30% of female infertility cases).

Over 25% of cases are attributable to male infertility.

‘Unexplained infertility’ is the most common reason in both sexes, 35% of all cases around the world are classified as ‘unexplained’.

Inability to conceive after at least a year of regular sexual intercourse without the use of contraceptives, can be due to causes that lie either in the man or the woman or both. Identification of the underlying causes is the key to successful treatment.

Infertility can often occur in women who have a history of conceiving and then losing the baby before the foetus is old enough to support itself outside the womb. Infertility can be either temporary or, in a small percentage of cases, permanent.

Western Medicine View

Conventional medicine offers many sophisticated tests and procedures to investigate and improve fertility and has been miraculous for some couples. However, the difficulty lies in treating individuals where there is a failure to conceive despite the reproductive organs appearing to work well.

Chinese Medicine View

Acupuncture has been shown to have a therapeutic effect on female infertility according to the World Health Organisation*.

According to Chinese medical theory acupuncture and Chinese herbs can be prescribed to treat unexplained infertility.

Chinese medicine believes every part and function of the body is inter-related, and assesses the entire individual not isolating fertility issues from the body’s other functions such as digestion and circulation, neither disregard problems relating to diet and lifestyle. Chinese medical theory often gives consideration to small signs and symptoms that Western medicine may regard as irrelevant. In Chinese medicine a reason for a part of the system not functioning may lie elsewhere.

The most common diagnosis is a combination of Liver Energy stagnation, Kidney Energy deficiency, Blood stagnation, Blood deficiency, Spleen energy deficiency and/or Dampness. In Chinese medicine, the Kidney is the key organ responsible for reproduction..

For more detailed information please read our clinical guide to fertility.

Lifestyle Advice

For personalised advice on diet and lifestyle, please ask the doctor during your consultation.

Please be reminded that we offer free online health advice.


Yu J et al. [Relationship of hand temperature and blood b-endorphin immunoreactive substance with electroacupuncture induction of ovulation.] Acupuncture Research, 1986, 11(2):86-90 [in Chinese].

Chen BY. Acupuncture normalized dysfunction of hypothalamic-pituitary-ovarian axis. Acupuncture and Electro-Therapeutics Research, 1997, 22:97-108.

Ji P et al. [Clinical study on acupuncture treatment of infertility due to inflammatory obstruction of fallopian tube.] Chinese Acupuncture and Moxibustion, 1996, 16(9):469-470 [in Chinese].

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"You have really helped to make what I thought would be a dream become reality. Thank you Dr Lilly so much - you are a miracle worker." - Ms. Z. S. read more
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