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Some of our patients use natural or complementary therapies (also called alternative therapies) as part of their fertility treatment. Everyone seems to know someone who has achieved a miraculous pregnancy through the use of holistic therapies.
Whilst definitive scientific data is somewhat limited, we do know that these treatments can produce results for patients in some circumstances. Whether it is the treatments, the patient management, the sense of being assisted, or the feeling of wellbeing, self-confidence or calm that comes from these treatments is unknown.
Fertility and complementary therapies
There is somewhat limited scientific evidence that complementary therapies improve your chances of having a baby. What we do know is, these therapies can improve your general health and wellbeing.
Fertility treatment and its uncertainty can be a stressful experience. Some research has shown a link between stress and fertility treatment. We understand some natural or complementary therapies are designed to reduce stress and anxiety. We support you if you want to try these therapies as part of your fertility journey.
Talk to your fertility specialist
It is important to tell your fertility specialist about any therapies or supplements you’re taking so we can check nothing will interfere with your fertility treatments.
Acupuncture is a form of natural health care that takes a holistic approach to the prevention of illness as well as treatment. It’s based on the idea that energy flows through the body’s meridians (invisible pathways). During treatment, these pathways are stimulated with tiny needle injections to help the flow of energy.
Acupuncturists claim acupuncture can stimulate blood flow to the uterus, assisting menstruation and ovulation, and reducing stress. However, there is convincing evidence now that acupuncture does not improve the chances of having a baby. Acupuncture may help to reduce stress and anxiety.
If acupuncture has a positive impact for you, you can continue your treatment. Please make sure you see a qualified acupuncturist and let your fertility specialist know about the therapy.
Naturopathy takes a holistic approach focused on treating the underlying causes and symptoms of health issues. A naturopath would aim to boost your general health and wellbeing to try to boost your fertility.
Herbal medicines and supplements
Herbal medicines are mainly made up of plants or parts of plants (roots, stems, flowers, bark and seeds) and come in forms including capsules, tablets and ointments. While they are considered natural, they can contain powerful compounds and should not be taken without supervision of your GP or your fertility specialist.
Some herbal medicines and supplements claim to increase fertility. It is important you discuss this with your fertility specialist as they can interfere with your fertility or fertility medications.
Meditation trains the mind to promote relaxation. While there’s no evidence of a direct link between meditating and increased fertility, it can be a useful process when having fertility treatment. It doesn’t affect your fertility treatment or medication, so stick with it if it helps you feel calm.
Monash IVF tip: Studies have shown meditation can help lower blood pressure, boost mental health, slow down your heart rate and reduce stress.
Monash IVF collaborates with The Fertility Pod (formerly known as Bump) for complementary services.
Fertility Lifestyle Program
Developed by Dr Julie Vecera, the Fertility Lifestyle Program addresses all the lifestyle factors that have been shown through much research to affect fertility. Diet, nutrition, supplements, exercise, relaxation and complimentary medicine all influence the chances of pregnancy for both men and women. The program also features Q&A interviews by leading fertility specialists including doctors, surgeons, embryologists, naturopaths, acupuncturists, fitness experts and more.