Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of April 25, 2005
Make a baby the ancient way
Acupuncture, herbs offer an alternative to in vitro fertilization
By RAMON GONZALEZ
WCR Staff Writer
If you are experiencing infertility problems, Chris Hogan says he can treat you with herbal medicine and acupuncture. And he says by using his method, your chances of overcoming the condition are a lot better than with in- vitro-fertilization - and a lot cheaper.
Hogan, a Catholic acupuncturist and doctor of traditional Chinese medicine, says he has had considerable success with treating people with infertility by using traditional Chinese medicine and proposes it as an alternative to in vitro fertilization.
"It can be an alternative and it can be used in conjunction with IVF," he clarifies.
Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) is one of the best and most ancient infertility treatments in the world and it is a mystery to Hogan why Canadians have all but ignored it.
"If any nation has gone forth and multiplied it is the Chinese," he quips.
"Since approximately 206 BC, the Chinese have effectively treated male and female infertility; furthermore, today China has one of the lowest infertility rates in the world."
Unlike IVF, which uses an invasive drug regime and has many ethical problems, TCM is an all natural system of herbals and acupuncture with dietary and lifestyle changes that can address all but the most physical types and causes of infertility, Hogan said.
Hogan, an Irish-Canadian and father of two who attends St. Agnes Parish, began treating infertility with acupuncture and herbs about three years ago after a German study revealed that IVF chances of success are 50 per cent greater if used in conjunction with acupuncture. "So that's where it all started."
Three of his first five clients were Catholic couples who wanted to use acupuncture to support in vitro fertilization. That surprised Hogan because the Catholic Church condemns IVF. "So we have Catholics doing this," he lamented. "They wanted to start Chinese medicine and acupuncture before to get them ready to do IVF."
Fortunately the three couples didn't have to go to the IVF clinic because they became pregnant way before their IVF treatment was due to start.
"They got pregnant right here, right out of here, said Hogan."
Since then The Acupuncture & Health Centre at 4716-99 St. has treated 15 patients with a 75 per cent success rate. "I haven't had anyone(of the successful cases) go longer than six months and they are pregnant," he boasted, noting the treatment rate of success went up significantly after he started insisting on treating the males.
"We (now) treat both of them. We pull the male in mostly around ovulation time; while we have him on herbs, she is on herbs as well."
While traditional Chinese medicine is a natural system, IVF is clearly an unnatural one. "It's totally different. It takes over the woman's cycle and nothing happens until it happens in a petri dish," Hogan said. "In vitro is outside of the body in a petri dish, that's where conception happens."
The Catholic Church condemns IVF for a number of reasons, one being the fact that typically many embryos are left over and eventually destroyed.
"Personally I think it is unethical to leave embryos there. Your wife and you go and freeze, say, 20 embryos. Well, you get pregnant off your first round via the use of seven (embryos) and there are 13 left, which are human life. And to me, that's unethical. Then they sell them off for research and stem cell research or they destroy them."
Most of his Catholic clients never feel good about going to the IVF clinic.
Hogan, who has been practising acupuncture for 10 years, described in vitro fertilization as an invasive system that can cause many unwanted side effects. "The drug regime that they use to take over the woman's cycle is next to chemotherapy," he noted. "The side effects include nausea, vomiting all the way up to dizziness, headaches all the way up to (being) bed ridden."
Whole person treated
In contrast, traditional Chinese medicine treats people as a whole; an integral body, mind and spirit, he said. "The treatments are aimed at both the symptoms and the root of disharmony or disease; further, the treatments will most likely produce positive side-effects such as deep relaxation, increased energy and better sleep and an all round feeling of good health."
The full cost of treatment for a couple once a week for six months at Hogan's clinic might be up to $3,000. The full cost of IVF is anywhere from $18,000 to $30,000.
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