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Complementary Therapies

Complementary or adjuvant therapy is an additional treatment that can be considered during IVF treatment with the aim of trying to increase pregnancy success, particularly in women who have had multiple unsuccessful IVF cycles.

Complementary or alternative therapies are used by many people to improve their overall physical and emotional health. This could include medicines, such as herbal, vitamin, mineral, homeopathic, nutritional and other supplements and therapies such as chiropractic, naturopathy, osteopathy, homeopathy, reflexology and aromatherapy.

At Footsteps To Fertility Centre, our philosophy of individualized patient care means that a patient may, from time to time, decide with their fertility specialist, to try an adjuvant treatment, but generally, our fertility specialists will be supportive of steps you take to improve your overall health and well being.

We are more than happy to provide a supportive, personal and holistic approach.

Advantages of complementary therapies

It is important to be fully informed about the risks and benefits of each therapy and understand that the use of adjuvant therapy is currently not proven and that safety may not be established.

Kindly speak with your fertility specialist if you require further information or clarification on these treatments.

Complementary therapies, including complementary medicines and hormones, aim to try to improve the following outcomes:

  • The number and quality of eggs retrieved in a stimulation cycle
  • The quality of embryos created
  • Uterine environment
  • Sperm quality
Complementary Therapies

Role of complementary therapies in fertility

  • Low dose aspirin (LDA) has been widely used as a supplementary treatment to IVF particularly in recurrent IVF failure or miscarriages. LDA thins the blood and relaxes the blood vessels.
  • Heparin thins the blood and improves pregnancy outcomes in women who have APS. Hypercoagulation (thickening) of maternal blood due to the autoimmune disorder Antiphospholipid Syndrome (APS) is associated with recurrent miscarriage. It is sometimes given to women who have experienced repeated IVF failure based on the theory that potentially altered maternal blood coagulation status and micro clot formation could interfere with different stages of embryo implantation.
  • Testosterone is a male sex steroid hormone that is primarily secreted by the ovaries of females and the testes of males. Testosterone promotes the growth of larger follicles. The increased intra-ovarian concentration of testosterone may enhance the responsiveness of ovaries to Follicle Stimulating Hormone (FSH).
  • Glucocorticoids are steroid hormones with potent anti-inflammatory and immunosuppressive properties. It has been suggested that the use of glucocorticoids may improve the intrauterine environment and embryo implantation in some patients. This has been linked to the immune cells in the uterus called Natural Killer (NK) cells.

Multi-vitamins and fertility

Many multivitamins are considered beneficial to overall well-being, including:

  • Antioxidants – may protect cells from damage by free radicals in environmental and other toxins.
  • Vitamin E – an antioxidant that may promote circulation to the reproductive system, including to the placenta,
  • Vitamin C – an antioxidant important within the ovary itself and egg maturation and ovulation.
  • Mixed carotenoids – vitamin A (retinoid) is involved in creating DNA. In small amounts, it is essential for healthy fetal development, particularly for the immune system and eyes.
  • Manganese – involved in enzyme functions that have antioxidant effects and transfer genetic information.
  • Zinc – an important nutrient for a healthy reproductive system and is involved in sexual development, ovulation and the menstrual cycle.
  • Omega-3 fatty acids – a woman’s fat tissue stores retain a reserve of these fatty acids for the developing fetus

What is an example of complementary therapy?

At Footsteps to Fertility Nairobi, we offer additional treatments such as during IVF to increase the chances of pregnancy. These treatments, also called complementary treatments, include aromatherapy, osteopathy, nutritional, vitamin, and herbal supplements. They are beneficial in women who have had a history of unsuccessful IVF cycles.

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