symbolsFor many couples, the dream of becoming parents is easy to achieve.  They decide when they would like to start having children, try a couple of times, and then voila- a baby arrives nine months later!  But for millions of Americans, this is not the case.  According to the National Center for Health Statistics of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 12% of women in the US (7.3 million) between the ages of 15-44 had difficulty conceiving or carrying a baby to full term in 2002.  This number continues to grow each year, along with the frustration of the couples who cannot achieve their dream of becoming parents.

Most experts define infertility as not being able to get pregnant after at least one year of trying. Women who are able to get pregnant but then have repeat miscarriages are also said to be infertile.  Why do some women have problems conceiving and others don’t?  This question is asked every day by couples struggling to have a child and the answers aren’t always clear. In some cases, the cause may be obvious, but in others, it is not.

Infertility affects women and men equally.  Finding out the cause early can help couples fix the problem and hopefully conceive.  But at least one third of the time, doctors cannot find a reason, and the couple is left with only questions.  Male reasons for infertility may include deficient sperm production, varicocele, infections, ductal obstructions, and ejaculatory dysfunction.  Female reasons can be a bit more complicated because her body needs to release an egg and be able to carry a baby to term after fertilization. Some of the reasons are polycystic ovarian disease, age, pelvic inflammatory disease, ovulatory dysfunction, uterine fibroids, endometriosis, pelvic adhesions and scar tissue from abdominal or pelvic surgery, irregular menstrual cycles, stress, fear, poor nutrition, immunological infertility, and hormonal disruptions.

The most common medical treatments today include drug treatments or surgery. For men, these may include antibiotics, artificial insemination or surgery to open blocked areas.  For women, many of the drugs are hormone-related and are given to override the women’s natural hormonal cycle.  Most focus on ovulation, generally forcing it to begin or become regular. Assisted Reproductive Technology, such as in vitro fertilization (IVF), involves removing eggs from a woman’s body, mixing them with sperm in the laboratory and putting the embryos back into a woman’s body. Many of the treatments can be harsh on the women’s body and lead to side effects such as mood swings, dry cervical mucus, stomach pain, breast tenderness, insomnia, nausea, vomiting, blurred vision, headaches, fatigue, irritability, depression, weight gain, ovarian cysts, and use for more than a year may increase the risk of ovarian cancer.

Fertility treatments are also very costly, up to $15,000 for one round of IVF.  There are no guarantees that it will work the first time, and many couples may try it 2 or 3 times.  Many fertility drugs and treatments increase a woman’s chance of having multiples. Women who are pregnant with multiple fetuses have more complicated pregnancies. Multiple fetuses have a high risk of being born prematurely, and premature babies are at a higher risk of health and developmental problems. These are all unexpected costs that have to be factored in to the economic burden placed on couples who have already spent their life savings trying to conceive.

So what options do couples have who are looking for a more natural approach to treat infertility? Alternative treatments such as chiropractic, acupuncture, herbs, craniosacral therapy, Maya abdominal massage, nutrition and yoga are becoming common within the infertility community.  Many alternative treatments are safer, have fewer side effects, are less stressful, cost less, and do not increase the risk of having multiples. Couples often feel closer using a more natural approach.  Traditional infertility treatments can be very stressful on couples do to hormonal changes, financial burden, and the separation from the “experience” of creating a child together for the couple if IVF was used.

A number of studies have shown that chiropractic care can be very beneficial for treating infertility.  Chiropractic adjustments help to stabilize the autonomic nervous system and allow the reproductive organs, such as the uterus, ovaries, or prostate, to function properly. Cranial therapy and chiropractic adjustments may also have an affect on the pituitary gland or hormones. If there is a structural reason for the infertility, such as an imbalance of the pelvic floor muscles or uneven tension in the uterus, chiropractic adjustments can help relieve this to restore normal function to the area. It is a great treatment to start with because it is safe, effective, non-invasive and cost effective.

Acupuncture and herbal therapy have also been shown to increase fertility, especially when the cause is functional rather than structural.  It can help improve ovarian function, increase blood flow to the endometrium to produce a thick lining, and regulate hormones that affect ovulation and reproduction. It also works great in conjunction with other treatments and helps to enhance their effectiveness by making your body more responsive to the treatment.

Other treatments like Maya Abdominal Massage focus on restoring the uterus to the proper position, increasing blood flow and lymph drainage in the pelvic area, and breaking up adhesions or scar tissue around the uterus and other abdominal organs.  All of these things are essential to maintaining a healthy environment for the reproductive organs. Craniosacral therapy can help balance out the spinal fluid and nervous system, and can also help a woman who has fear or stress-based issues surrounding conception.

While medical treatments are a common way to deal with infertility issues, they are not without problems, such as high costs and negative health effects.  With any health issues, it is important to find the cause of the problem and fix it, not just to cover up symptoms or override the body’s natural systems.  Alternative and natural treatments are designed to work with your body, not against it.  Finding a qualified alternative practitioner may be your first step in the journey to conception.

About the Author

Dr. Brenda Trudell is a chiropractor and owner of New Beginnings Chiropractic in Mount Horeb, WI. The clinic focuses on natural health, especially for women, pregnancy and children through chiropractic, acupuncture, massage, fitness, nutrition, essential oils, and more. As a female chiropractor, she understands the special circumstances surrounding women's health. Men and women are not created equal, and it is important to acknowledge that in the healthcare world. She strives to find the most current healthcare information to help all of her patients.

Dr. Trudell is available to present to groups on many different topics. Please contact the office for details or with any questions. Dr. Trudell is certified in the Webster Technique. For more information, visit or email at