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Journal of Integrative Medicine ›› 2022, Vol. 20 ›› Issue (3): 187-192.doi: 10.1016/j.joim.2022.02.004

• Commentary •     Next Articles

Improving the health and treatment success rates of in vitro fertilization patients with traditional chinese medicine: need for more robust evidence and innovative approaches

Marisa Casal   

  1. School of Public Health, University of the Western Cape, Robert Sobukwe Road, Bellville 7535, South Africa
  • Received:2021-07-10 Accepted:2022-01-26 Online:2022-05-09 Published:2022-02-21
  • Contact: Marisa Casale E-mail:maj.casale@icloud.com

Maximising access to and the success of fertility treatments should be a priority for global reproductive health, as should overall patient well-being. The demand for in vitro fertilization (IVF) and other assisted fertility treatments has increased over the past decade and is likely to further increase in years to come. Nevertheless, there is still considerable unmet demand for infertility support worldwide. Moreover, the high emotional, physical and financial burden experienced by individuals undergoing IVF cycles can be a risk for their mental and physical health, which in turn can influence treatment continuation and the likelihood of IVF success. Studies from various parts of the world show that most individuals undergoing IVF also use adjunct alternative medicines and procedures, the most common being traditional Chinese medicine (TCM). The complementary and synergistic role of TCM for individuals undergoing IVF is an area that merits further attention and research, both for its potential positive effects on IVF success rates and for its broader physical and mental health benefits. However, much of the existing evidence is not sufficiently robust or consistent for findings to be adopted with confidence. This commentary argues that much work must be done to understand the efficacy and clinical best practices for these integrated approaches. This can be achieved in part by developing more robust and clinically relevant randomized controlled trial protocols, collecting and triangulating evidence through a variety of study designs and methods, and strengthening the collection and pooling of clinic-level data.

Key words: In-vitro fertilisation, Traditional Chinese medicine, Mental health, Pregnancy rates

[1] Miao-yan Shi, Shi-qi Sun, Wei Zhang, Xing Zhang, Gui-hua Xu, Xuan Chen, Zi-jian Su, Xiu-ming Song, Lu-jiong Liu, Yi-bao Zhang, Yi-le Zhang, Meng Sun, Qi Chen, Yan Xue, Hua Lü, Wei-an Yuan, Xiao-rong Chen, Yun-fei Lu. Early therapeutic interventions of traditional Chinese medicine in COVID-19 patients: a retrospective cohort study. Journal of Integrative Medicine, 2021, 19(3): 226-231.
[2] Arthur Yin Fan, Sherman Gu, Sarah Faggert Alemi, Research Group for Evidence-based Chinese Medicine. Chinese herbal medicine for COVID-19: Current evidence with systematic review and meta-analysis. Journal of Integrative Medicine, 2020, 18(5): 385-394.
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