Traditional Chinese Medicine- This is the original "old school" approach to treating infertility- we're talking thousands of years old. Traditional Chinese Medicine combines many of the aspects of a whole foods diet and philosophies similar to chiropractic to treat imbalances and structural problems resulting in infertility. A TCM practitioner will prescribe specific dietary changes, herbs, and acupuncture based on your symptoms to help balance your hormones. For those of you who might be squeamish about acupuncture, let me speak from personal experience and say that it's not nearly as scary as it seems. I've had ear acupuncture done and it was the most relaxing experience of my life. Seriously. I don't think I could have been more relaxed if I were on valium. MRI's have shown that acupuncture does indeed work to relieve pain and there is more research being done on its effects. One of my favorite books on infertility is about TCM and is called The Infertility Cure. It is by Dr. Randine Lewis, Ph. D.
Other Cool Stuff- Reiki works very much like chiropractic care and has been known to help pregnant women and even help with infertility. Mayan womb massage is another non-traditional option that has helped many women conceive.
Now someone out there might see this and wonder, "Why hasn't my doctor told me about all of these other options?" Well, to put it quite simply, it's not part of their course of study. Often times we assume that medical doctors are like the holographic doctor in Star Trek: Voyager- programmed with an extensive knowledge of a variety of different approaches to medical problems. The reality is that medical doctors are very good at a certain type of medicine; one that utilizes methods such as prescription drugs and surgery. Their education doesn't cover chiropractic care, herbs, or Traditional Chinese Medicine. Just like you wouldn't go to an acupuncturist for intra-uterine insemination, you wouldn't go to a medical doctor for acupuncture.
Some of the upsides to these approaches are that they are less invasive, often less expensive, and sometimes even work faster than assisted reproductive technology. However, one thing to consider is that pursuing natural treatments while trying to undergo ART procedures can be complicated. For example, in The Infertility Cure, Randine Lewis talks about a couple she was seeing who were doing TCM with her while attempting to undergo ART. The doctors told them they needed to stop taking any herbs or other supplements in preparation for a round of artificial insemination. Unfortunately, this made the TCM ineffective and the artificial insemination didn't result in a pregnancy. Other measures such as chiropractic and diet changes can work well in conjunction with ART procedures. So, now you know!