Using Chinese Herbal Medicine During an IVF cycle
Generally, I do not prescribe any Chinese herbal medicine to patients during an IVF cycle, asking them to stop a couple of weeks beforehand and to just continue with their acupuncture treatment. However, I do encourage patients to continue with their herbs alongside acupuncture where they have had 2 or more stimulated IVF cycles and responded poorly to the drugs so that very few eggs or embryos were produced.
In Chinese medical thinking when the Kidney energy and Blood is nourished then ovarian function should also improve making the ovaries more responsive to the IVF medication. The Chinese herbs and acupuncture will also improve the flow of energy (Qi) and Blood in the pelvic area with the aim of improving implantation rates of the embryo.
The use of Chinese herbs during cycles involving the transfer of frozen embryos is fine if deemed necessary. Similarly, during IUI cycles where no down-regulating drugs are being used there is no contraindication to using Chinese herbs. The use of Chinese herbs where Clomid (clomiphene citrate) is being taken has been well documented and researched by numerous trials in China and is strongly recommended.