We often have patients who present to us after having tried conventional and alternative treatments for infertility. Some of the alternative treatments may have included herbs, and patients often want to know our opinion on continuing to use these.
The docs at TFC recognize the potential benefit of combing ‘Western’ and ‘Eastern’ treatments, and we have multiple patients who undergo acupuncture during the course of their fertility treatments with us. However, herbal supplements are more controversial. First of all, there is no FDA regulation of herbal substances – meaning that there’s no proof that the amount and concentration of the substance in the bottle or box is correct. Second of all, there is very little known about how ‘Western’ and ‘Eastern’ medications interact together. We have actually had multiple patients with unusual responses to fertility treatment who didn’t realize that the ‘natural’ herbs they were on could potentially decrease the success of their fertility treatment. Just because something is labeled ‘herbal’ or ‘natural’ does not mean that it is safe in all circumstances.
As we learn more about how to combine therapies – and when there is more regulation of herbal and alternative supplements – we may be able to optimize fertility treatment by using both. Until then, however, we would recommend abstaining from any ‘herbal’ or ‘natural’ supplement while undergoing a fertility treatment cycle with us. (Please feel free to talk to your nurse if you have any questions about a particular supplement.)