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Originally published March 11 2008

Alternative Treatments for Infertility Offers Hope

by Catherine Hill

(NaturalNews) In 2002, about 12 percent of US women (7.3 million) between ages 15-44, had difficulty conceiving or carrying a baby to term, according to the National Center for Health Statistics of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Many factors can contribute to infertility, including emotional stress, malnutrition, obesity, cancer and its treatment, alcohol and drugs, general medical conditions, exposure to chemicals and pesticides, cigarette smoking and age.

Since the 70's, there has been a tremendous increase in pregnancies in women in their 30's and 40's. Currently, 1 in 5 women have their first child after age 35. However, these women may be far less fertile than younger women because ovulation, at this age, tends to take place less frequently. According to the American Society for Reproductive Medicine, about one-third of women between age 35 and 39 and two-thirds of women over 40 have fertility problems. They report that infertility affects about 6.1 million women and their partners in the U.S.

For many women, assisted reproductive technology (ART), such as in vitro fertilization (IVF), is a viable option. According to the Center for Disease Control, women who use IVF experience high success rates, similar to women who become pregnant by natural means. However, for the women who do not find IVF successful or who are not comfortable with the risks involved in this procedure, there are alternative treatments.

For many years, acupuncture has been used to treat infertility. According to Chinese medical theory, energy or Qi ("chee") runs through the body and along its surface in regular patterns. The patterns are referred to as channels or meridians. These channels nourish and regulate the functions of the body. It is thought that when the energy flows freely in these channels, health is maintained.

Acupuncture, coupled with herbs, can help throughout IVF or can be used in lieu of IVF by regulating the pituitary and hormonal system. Acupuncture also promotes blood circulation and energy throughout the body, particularly to reproductive organs (ovaries, uterus, and testicles) which is extremely important to assist with conception.

Herbs alone are another noninvasive option for infertility. Herbs are not regulated by the FDA. However, the U.S. Pharmacopeia does enforce some standards in the manufacturing process. It is recommended that you look for the "USP Dietary Supplement Verified" seal of approval on the labels of herbs that you purchase. Herbs with this stamp can help assure you are buying a quality product.

If neither of these options appeal to you, a new trend is the procreation vacation. Resorts providing this service give couples everything from local fare thought to increase the chances of pregnancy to beverages that act as aphrodisiacs. A few of the hotels offering these packages are: The Westin Grand Bahamas Island, Beachmere Inn (Ogunquit, Maine), Marco Island Marriott Beach Resort (Marco Island, Florida) and Martineau Bay Resort & Spa (Vieques, Puerto Rico).

About the author

Hill is a free-lance writer whose work has received a CAB Journalists award and Chicago Filmmaker's Grant. She has been writing for over 20 years for trade publications, in the field of public relations and in the entertainment industry.

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