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Toni A. Maughan and Xiao-Ping Zhai
Patients undergoing fertility treatment often believe that all that matters when trying to conceive is the number of eggs they have. However, it is actually the quality of these eggs that determines whether an embryo is able to reach the blastocyst stage, implant and continue to develop into a healthy baby. Egg quality is affected by ovarian function and the state of the reproductive environment - for instance the harmonious functioning of the hypothalamus-pituitary-ovarian axis - as well as lifestyle factors and the age of the patient. Tubal or immune factors may further impair a women’s chance to conceive. From the Chinese medical perspective the primary gynaecological functions are governed by the Kidney jing, Liver and Spleen. This paper describes the underlying mechanisms of female fertility from a Western as well as a Chinese medicine perspective, and gives acupuncture treatment protocols that can be modified to the patient’s individual Chinese medicine diagnosis, to enhance the reproductive environment and create optimal conditions for fertilisation, maternal endometrial receptivity and a subsequent healthy pregnancy.
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