Age is not seen as a major issue unless the end of the normal child-bearing years has been reached. Chinese medicine views infertility from a different perspective, although parallels can be drawn with Western medical theory. A number of factors play a part in fertility – the quality of the man’s sperm (number, shape and motility); the quality of the woman’s ova (number, size, development, maturation and timely release); tubal health (mucus, tubal motility), health of the uterine lining or endometrium; viability and healthy development of the egg after conception; the process of implantation; the secretion of hormones which support the pregnancy for the first 12-13 weeks until the placenta is fully developed and functioning. Chinese medicine focuses on each of these factors. By enhancing and supporting the natural processes of conception and pregnancy, the aim of achieving a natural pregnancy can usually be achieved.

Although in women’s reproductive health there seem to be more factors which potentially could present a problem, modern statistics suggest that problems with sperm quality are more prevalent than previously thought. One of the reasons for this is that the “normal range” cited in sperm analysis tests is lower than the optimum level. In other words, the cited range is not really quite good enough. Not many are aware how many sperm samples are rejected by sperm banks because they do not meet optimum standards. Modern research looking at men 40 and over has also shown the age of the father to be implicated in miscarriage. This is thought to be due to declining sperm quality associated with aging, even though 40 is far from ‘old’. Sperm quality can be improved with Chinese medicine.

And so, if both the prospective mother’s reproductive health and that of the prospective father are “not quite right”, even if there is no major problem, then the chance of conception and of carrying a baby to full term is significantly reduced. Except where the sperm being used is not that of the father, better results are obtained when both prospective parents attend the clinic for assessment and treatment.