A study in March issue of reproductive journal Fertility and Sterility reported that a large number of American couples are trying to improve their chances of conception by looking beyond Western medicine: they are applying treatments that are considered alternative or also known as alternative medicine treatments that include herbal treatments, acupuncture, acupressure etc. A research reports than more than 25% of couples from north California that were investigated in the study also sought help from more alternative treatments such as massage, herbal treatments, acupuncture, and they often combined these treatments with conventional fertility techniques such as IVF (in vitro fertilization).
The rate of couples who included alternative treatments in their conventional treatment was especially high among older and wealthier couples. Partly this is due to the fact that couples that are trying to conceive are willing to try absolutely anything that offers hope and that could help them conceive. For example, other studies have shown that up to 40% of Americans use alternative medicine for health conditions. Nevertheless, this study is the first in the reproductive and infertility field that combines complementary and alternative medicine. Researchers observed and analyzed more than 400 couples from 8 reproductive clinics. A research method that was applied were questionnaires and interviews, and the research was exercised over the period of 18 months.
During the observed period, almost 30% of couples reported using some sort of complementary and alternative medicine, more precisely 22% underwent acupuncture, 17% of couples applied some sort of herbal therapy; approximately 5% of them went to chiropractor or massage practitioner, and 1% of couples dealing with infertility tried meditation. According to the study, the older the woman was, the more likely it was the couple will pursue some form of alternative treatment: for example with every five-year increase in the woman's age, the chances of couple applying at least one of the alternative strategies rose by almost 30%. The percentage was so high even after accounting for factors such as having previous children and the use of other infertility treatments. Additionally, couples that was wealthier were more likely to use alternative medicine. For example, couples that are earning more than $200.000 annually were three times more likely to seek alternative remedies comparing to couples to earned less than $100,000 of annual income.