Fertility clinic sought outreach experience with the CAM community.

Several complementary and alternative health practitioners were invited to a “meet and greet” event at the upscale reproductive clinic in Burnaby, PCRM (Pacific Center for Reproductive Medicine). The goal was to bridge the gap between the conventional and CAM (complementary and alternative medicine) community.

It was inspiring to be at PCRM with other Naturopathic doctors and Doctors of TCM. I applaud the efforts by PCRM to attempt to meet the collective goal of bringing the best care to patients struggling with infertility. PCRM doctors acknowledged that CAM practitioners were beneficial in providing acupuncture services, which have been shown in some studies to improve success rates with IVF and reduce miscarriage rates with IVF. Other acknowledged benefits of CAM with regulation of menstrual cycles, health promotion, pain relief, micronutrient supplementation and comfort.

We listened to a short lecture that reiterated the need to identify and work up the different causes of infertility. The workup included transvaginal ultrasound (TVUS), sonohysterography (SHG), hysterosalpingography (HSG), hormone studies, and semen analysis. I encourage all patients who have not investigated the cause of their infertility to get a thorough workup. I strongly discourage patients to self-diagnose and take random herbs and fertility kits available on the internet.

While there are undoubted benefits and successes to IVF, it was interesting to hear that the outcome of IVF babies with some degree of negative outcome was about double compared to the normal population (including pre-term deliveries, underweight babies, birth defects, twins and all the associated risks). This confirmed to me, as a naturopathic doctor, the value in promoting healthy lifestyles with or without IVF, and where possible, promoting attempts to seek natural conception when possible.

Dr. Nari