What is Infertility?

Infertility is a condition that can affect both men and women.  For women under 35 years of age, infertility means you couldn’t get pregnant after one year of trying.  For women over 35 years, infertility can be diagnosed after 6 months of unsuccessfully trying to conceive.  In this article we’ll discuss the main causes and treatments for infertility, and how Chinese Medicine can help.

What Causes Infertility in Men?

Male infertility is usually caused by problems with the sperm.  This includes the number, shape, movement, and production of sperm.  Some of the main risk factors that can cause sperm issues include:

  • Heavy drinking
  • Smoking
  • Being obese or overweight
  • Exposure to toxic substances
  • Being older in age

There are also various medications and medical conditions that may affect male fertility.

What Causes Infertility in Women?

Anything that could interfere with ovulation, fertilisation, or implantation of an egg may cause female infertility.  Some of the risk factors for infertility in men (including heavy drinking, smoking, being overweight, and various mediations) can also cause infertility in women.  A woman’s fertility also decreases once she passes the age of 30.  

Certain health conditions may also contribute to female infertility.  These include:

  • Sexually transmitted infections (STIs)
  • Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID)
  • Endometriosis
  • Uterine fibroids
  • Ovulations disorders caused by hormone imbalances or polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)

Treatment for Infertility:

There are a variety of different treatment options available for infertility in men and women.  The treatment option you choose will depend on the cause of your infertility, your overall health, and how long you’ve been trying to get pregnant.  

For men, infertility treatment could consist of either medications, assisted reproductive technology (ART), or surgery.  Medications can treat male infertility by treating erectile dysfunction (ED), hormone imbalances, or infections.  ART refers to treatments like in vitro fertilisation (IVF), where the eggs and sperm are combined outside the body.  Surgery can sometimes be used to fix problems that prevent sperm from being present in the semen. 

Medications, ART, and surgery can also be used to treat infertility in women.  The medications for female fertility usually work by regulating or encouraging ovulation.  ART treatments for infertility in women include IVF and intrauterine insemination (IUI).  IUI is when sperm is injected into the uterus close to the time of ovulation.  Surgical treatment can sometimes be used for women, depending on the cause of infertility.

Natural Treatments for Infertility:

There are also many natural treatments that may help your fertility.  Eating a healthy, nutritious diet is crucial for both men and women.  Try including more nutrient-rich fruits, vegetables, and whole grains in your diet.  It’s also important to avoid trans-fats (which are found in animal products and some processed foods).  Along with improving your diet, also try getting more active.  Exercise can help improve your overall health as well as your chances of conceiving.  Also, please note that a woman is most fertile on the day she ovulates and the few days before.  Intercourse should be timed properly so that it occurs during this fertile time.

How Can Chinese Medicine Help?

If you have fertility problems, Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) may be right for you.  Chinese Medicine is a natural, holistic treatment style, which includes techniques like acupuncture and Chinese herbs.  To treat your infertility, your Chinese Medicine practitioner will firstly need to understand the cause of your condition.  Then, they can create an individualised treatment plan for you, to give you the best chances of a successful pregnancy.  Many couples have found Chinese Medicine helpful in treating their infertility.  This is shown in a recent study, which found that, “…TCM is associated with higher likelihood of successful pregnancy in infertile women…”.


Overall, infertility is an important health concern.  Infertility can affect both men and women, and can be caused by factors like smoking, drinking, medications, and being overweight or obese.  However, there are many treatments available to treat infertility.  These range from medications, ART, and surgery to lifestyle adjustments like diet, exercise, and correct timing of intercourse.  Chinese Medicine is also an effective treatment for infertility.  Many women have had successful pregnancies when treated with Traditional Chinese Medicine.


Liao, Y.-H., Lin, J.-G., Lin, C.-C., Tsai, C.-C., Lai, H.-L., & Li, T.-C. (2020). Traditional Chinese medicine treatment associated with female infertility in Taiwan: A population-based case-control study. Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, 2020.

Seladi-Schulman, J. (2019, February 3). Everything You Need to Know About Infertility. Healthline.