Fertility problems affect around one in six or one in seven couples in the UK – that’s around 3.5 million people. In 2011 nearly 50,000 women had fertility treatment (either IVF or DI). The problem is now so common there’s even an iPhone app to help monitor fertility and conceive naturally: it’s called Glow.

As fertility problems have increased, so has the availability and use of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM). Treatments include acupuncture, the use of herbs (e.g. Indian ginseng) and supplements (e.g. zinc and selenium), psychotherapy and the use of special diets and nutritional advice.

At the moment there only a handful of good quality studies – or Randomised Controlled Trials (RCT) – on the use of CAM to treat fertility. Of all the approaches studied, it appears that acupuncture and psychotherapy have the most impact on patient well-being, and some studies show a slight trend towards increased pregnancy rates. However further studies are needed to confirm these trends. The research paper concludes that:

Certainly, superior RCTs regarding CAM interventions are called for so that simple, precise, quantitative, and irrefutable evidence could place CAM in a scientifically earned place.

To seek an acupuncture practitioner in the York area, see http://www.yorkclinic.com/therapies/acupuncture.aspx.

To seek a psychotherapist in the York area, see          http://www.yorkclinic.com/therapies/psychotherapy-counselling.aspx


Clark, N.A., Will, M., Moravek, M.B. & Fisseha, S. (2013) A systematic review of the evidence for complementary and alternative medicine in infertility. International Journal of Gynecology & Obstetrics, 122 (3), p.pp.202–206.