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Med Acupunct. 2012 Dec;24(4):273-280.

Diminished Ovarian Reserve, Clomid, and Traditional Chinese Medicine: A Case Study.

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1
Research Department, Oregon College of Oriental Medicine , Portland, OR.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Infertility caused by diminished ovarian reserve (DOR) can result from an endocrinological imbalance. A rise in follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) and decrease in antral follicle count (AFC) for women age ≤35 can lower pregnancy rates to <5%, and increase miscarriage rates to >75%. Chinese medicine may improve FSH and AFC levels in patients with DOR. It is common for women to seek adjunctive Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) treatment with biomedical clomid treatment.

OBJECTIVE:

This article reports the case of a female with DOR who had completed three multiple, serial clomid cycles from September to December 2005, and for whom clomid failed.

DESIGN SETTING AND PATIENT:

This is a case study of a 34-year-old patient with a 5-year history of infertility caused by DOR. She was treated in a private practice in Bellevue, WA.

INTERVENTION:

TCM treatment-including acupuncture and herbal therapy-lasted from from January 2007 to April 2007.

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES:

The main outcomes sought were improvements in this patient's reproductive hormone panel, including tests for FSH, estradiol, and AFC levels; in addition a pregnancy outcome was desired.

RESULTS:

After 4 months of TCM treatment, the patient returned to biomedical care. Pregnancy was not achieved during three more clomid cycles, although she had improvements her levels of FSH (from 14.5 mIU/mL to 8.7 mIU/mL) and AFC (from 10-12 to 16-18 total). After 3 more cycles with clomid, her FSH level increased to 16.8 mIU/mL and her AFC level was <10.

CONCLUSIONS:

After three failed clomid cycles, a patient with DOR had improved FSH and AFC levels when she received TCM treatment. However, this patient was still unable to conceive although three more clomid cycles were attempted. More research is needed to discern demographically which patients benefit best from multiple, serial clomid interventions. In addition, it is important to investigate more-integrative treatments for patients with DOR, including assisted reproductive techniques, acupuncture, and Chinese herbs.

KEYWORDS:

Acupuncture; Diminished Ovarian Reserve; Infertility; Traditional Chinese Medicine

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