Read Dr Karin Ried’s latest book chapter

Date: 25-03-2013

Dr Karin Ried has published her newest book chapter titled ‘Infertility: The Traditional Chinese Medicine Approach to Fertility Management, Menstrual Health, Fertility Awareness and Emotional Well-Being’. The book discuses the usage of Traditional Chinese Medicine as a treatment for infertility and the benefits of it’s holistic non-invasion treatment options compared to the conventional in-vitro-fertilisation (IVF) approach. Dr Ried’s new book chapter is available for FREE download from


Infertility affects about 15% of couples in western societies. Despite infertility occurring relatively often in the population, it is experienced as a lonely road for individual couples. In addition to isolation, infertility challenges women‟s sense of identity, expectations of their life trajectory and their perceived value in society. This can lead to feelings of failure, guilt and shame. Women‟s sense of powerlessness can be exacerbated by the Western medical approach, through fragmented care, technical interventions and invasive procedures, and a lack of individualised continuous support.

Infertility may be experienced for several years and the draining becomes more considerable with time. While some help is offered through the Western medical health system via in-vitro- fertilisation (IVF), IVF procedures are expensive, often painful, physically and emotionally, with only 18% resulting in live births. Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) offers holistic non-invasive treatment options for infertility with a higher success rate of up to 60% resulting in life births. However, awareness about TCM and the menstrual cycle as a diagnostic tool is low amongst women, couples, as well as medical doctors.

Part 1 of this chapter summarises current evidence of the effect of Traditional Chinese Herbal Medicine in the management of female infertility and on pregnancy rates compared with Western Medical drug treatment based on our systematic review and meta-analysis.

Part 2 of this chapter provides an overview of menstrual cycle characteristics and their relation to fertility status, providing a non-invasive diagnostic tool routinely used in the Traditional Chinese Medicine approach to general health and fertility.

Part 3 and 4 tell the stories of ten women with infertility in their own voices who had sought Traditional Chinese Medicine therapy captured by interview. Some women had problems conceiving, some had suffered miscarriages or stillbirths, most had been told that their infertility was “unexplained”. Women shared their journey of trying to achieve a viable pregnancy, some for as long as 10 years, what they did, how they felt, how they coped. They reveal where they found support, empowerment and importantly, hope.

All women agreed that awareness and recognition of holistic therapies such as Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) in relation to fertility is low, and wished to raise awareness and help other women by telling their story. Each of the women‟s stories is unique including the reasons for infertility, how they navigated the health system, what support they had and how they coped. Their stories display the diversity of infertility and treatment approaches, and shed light on relevant lifestyle and environmental factors, as well as menstrual health, often dismissed in a conventional medical diagnosis.