Innovations in Infertility

By Ofer Zur, Ph.D.


After two years, and more than a hundred thousand dollars spent, I sat in the fertility specialist’s office and stared blankly at him as he informed me, “Regretfully, it’s not possible for you to have a baby!” “What?” I thought again to myself. “But women are designed to have babies.” Twenty years later, I can only smile at how wrong he was as I listen to my five (!) children play gleefully in the other room.
Dr. de Beixidon

Unlike the Baby Boomers before them, much of the following generation has placed greater focus on developing careers than creating a family. Many decided to delay families while getting their careers in order, only to discover that when it was finally the right time to have children, it was no longer biologically easy or feasible.

Infertility is now rampant amongst 30-45 year olds, affecting about 25% of reproductive-aged couples, leaving many with heartache and guilt. In a desperate effort to turn back their biological clocks, couples are spending hundreds of thousands of dollars for technical procedures and costly medications. While there is certainly merit to all that is available through modern medicine, a growing number of couples are looking to a more comprehensive approach to infertility treatment, one that actively combines tools from Western and Eastern Medicine.

Infertility – 101:
  • It is estimated that more than 6.1 million people were diagnosed with some form of infertility in the US.
  • Research suggests that 9% of those of reproductive age suffer from infertility.
  • Nearly three quarters of a million women lose their pregnancies each year to ectopic and molar pregnancies, miscarriage, and stillbirth.
  • The decrease in female fecundity beginning after the age of 30 and exaggerated after 40, is a well-documented finding.
  • The incidence of miscarriage increases with maternal age.
  • Women who conceive late in life generally have a late menopause as well.
  • As most clinicians have experienced, while we can address and explore the loss of a pregnancy with a couple, nothing seems to deter them from the desire to succeed with a live birth. Having techniques that are designed to provide more than just loss management or bereavement counseling provides more of what these couples are seeking.
  • Approximately 1% of the live births in the US are due to Assisted Reproductive Technologies (ART) procedures.
  • Success rates for pregnancy by ART range between 20% and 30%.
  • The first “test tube baby” was born less than 30 years ago.
  • The research suggests that implantation and “take-home baby” rates are significantly higher with electro-acupuncture than without.
  • Acupuncture can increase blood flow to the reproductive organs, which dramatically improves a woman’s response to the hormonal therapy.
  • Infertility can result from building up emotional baggage- when you stuff the contents of your emotional life into virtual suitcases inside, and fail to empty them out at an appropriate time.
  • Use of individual and couples psychotherapy to increase awareness of process and to explore emotional and psychological issues has been proven to increase chances of conception.
  • Research conducted through Harvard Medical Center indicates that use of mindfulness techniques can significantly, positively, impact fertility.


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