Thursday, December 30

Infertility Lecture - A Must Attend Event!

Register for the January 13th Fertility Seminar! 

This will be the most informative hour and a half you can spend learning how acupuncture and herbal medicine can make the difference between success and failure for those faced with the difficult challenge of infertility.

Mike Berkley, L.Ac., FABORM has been successfully treating infertility cases for 13 years with acupuncture and herbs.  He is one of the nations leading experts in this field.

Please come so we can help you turn your dream of family into a reality!

Love and blessings...

Click here to find out more

Wednesday, December 29

New Year's Resolution - again

2011 is the year that you are determined to get pregnant and to stay pregnant.

I have put together a list of items that may be appropriate for your New Years Resolution List.

1. I have had several failed IUI's and/or IVF's. I will try to include something different going forward as I know there must be something missing. Otherwise I'd be pregnant - acupuncture and herbs.
2. I have tried acupuncture and herbs but I'm still not pregnant. I will find an acupuncturist who is an expert in infertility to treat me rather than using the 'guy down the block' because he or she is conveniently located.
3. I have had 3 failed IUI's and 3 failed IVF's. My doctor says "no herbs". Ask yourself this: Has your doctor given you a baby? Start taking herbs. Theys have been effectively used 3000 years before your doctor was a twinkle in his momma's eye.
4. Want to know if acupuncture and herbs can help you conceive...well do your due diligence and start researching. Of course you'll find many studies that prove efficacy.
5. Ask, ask, ask your acupuncturist every question you can come up with. If they cannot answer your questions...move on until you find someone who can.
6. Find an acupuncturist who is willing to have a free mini-consultation with you so you and your partner can meet him/her, see their clinic, see if you connect and have your questions answered.
7. Find an acupuncturist who works 24/7 so that if your transfer occurs on a Sunday, your acupuncturist is available to perform pre and post embryo transfer acupuncture, a method proven by several studies to increase positive outcomes.
8. Find an acupuncturist who is a Board Certified Herbalist, not an acupuncturist who prescribes herbs but really is not qualified to do so.
9. Learn to exhale.
10. Remember to love those closest to you, express it, show it, live it.
11. Remember to love those that you don't know!
Happy New Year! And...God speed on your journey to family.
Mike Berkley

Tuesday, December 14

A great embryo - or is it?

There is no way a doctor can determine that an embryo is of good quality with today's diagnostic capabilities. This is why when a doctor says "you have a beautiful embryo and a beautiful lining" these are merely words of encouragement with no substantive clinical value.

The reasoning behind my statement is based on my experience. Thousands of patients have perfect blastocysts transferred and get pregnant and miscarry or don't get pregnant.

Thousands of patients have 5 cell embryos with some percentage of fragmentation manifest and conceive and deilver a healthy child.

Why is this? Probably becuase there are many processes and hormones, chemicals and other biochemical components that need to be in perfect balance before conception will occur.

Most doctors don't want to do embryo transfers on women whose linings are less than 9 mm but there are many documented pregnancies which occur with 5mm linings.

The role of acupuncture and herbal medicine is, essentially, one of balancing, or harmonizing - facilitating a state as close to homeostasis as possible.  This is why when patients include acupuncture and herbal medicine into their IVF embryo transfer protocols success is often found where previous failures were ongoing.

I had a patient today who has had 4 failed IVF cycles. She has been getting acupuncture and I suggested that she take herbs. She informed me that her doctor didn't want her to take herbs; I asked her what her doctor has done for her so far.  She then decided to take herbs.

If IVF were the answer, the success rates would be higher than 25-35%.  If acupuncture and herbal medicine were the answer, there would be no need for IVF. But, when these two modalities are used together, the results are frequently better than that achieved when using one of them alone.

Many doctors don't want their patients to take herbs becasue there hasn't been enough scientific research done on herbal medicine and they don't have proof of it's efficacy.  Do you have proof that God exists? Yet you have faith that he(or she) does. And, interestingly, many doctors and scientists believe in God though there is absolutely no evidence to prove the existance of God. I would say this may represent a double standard in these individuals.

Am I asking too much of my patients to have faith in herbs? After all, there is greater evidence of their efficacy than there is of the existance of God. Herbs have been ingested and have helped heal millions of people for thousands of years. You can see, touch, taste, feel and smell herbs. And you can see their immediate effect. Can you state the same about God?

I think the proof is in the pudding. IVF is only as good as it's positive outcomes and that doesn't mean pregnancies it means take home babies. Until IVF can provide a 100% success rate, patients and doctors alike are foolish to shun herbs.

Want more proof? Just ask any of my success patients about how acupuncture and herbs changed their lives by helping to facilitate an ongoing pregnancy.

I believe in integrative medicine, not egocentric, segrated, fear-based medicine. Isn't interesting how the practice of Western medicine is a microcosm of the world in which we live. Full of in-fighting, and egos, and ignorance?

Chinese medicine is far more inclusive. For example, in China today, most hospitals use both Western and Chinese medicine to treat in-patient and out-patient cases.

In Germany, homeopathy is wide-spread and is used in conjunction with Western traditional medicine. In France, acupuncture has been used for 400 years.

What is wrong with the mind, heart and soul of the American medical instituion?

Did you know that a 10mm lining provides absolutely no assurance of its health nor its ability to recieve and nurture an implanted embryo?  Some 10mm linings are pathologic and some 5mm linings are perfectly physiologic. Did you know that by doing a transvaginal ultra-sound with a color doppler a doctor can determine if there is adequate blood flow to the lining? Did you know that if there is inadequate blood flow to the lining a pregnancy will not occur? Did you know that acupuncture and herbal medicine can greatly increase blood flow to the lining?

I'll leave you with these thoughts for now. Think carefully about what I have written.

Wednesday, December 1

Conception is a natural process – Or…don’t microwave your dinner!


Conception, pregnancy and parturition are a process. One definition of process is “a series of actions, changes, or functions bringing about a result”. Any natural process is better in every way than an artificial one. A good example is cooking. There is the process of cooking which is a slow, mindful act and there is microwave cooking which is basically a non-participatory act without natural process. There is no relationship between the chef and the outcome of the meal. Which meal tastes better? And, which is healthier to eat?

The process of conception is quite complicated and requires the perfect balance and function of many components all working in a coordinated and harmonious fashion. Sperm must be attracted to egg, it must find the egg, and it must penetrate the egg. The egg has be high quality and so too must be the sperm. The lining must have qualitative integrity. The embryo must find the lining and must be able to penetrate it. The placenta must develop and nourish the developing fetus and rid the fetus of waste matter. The placenta must protect the fetus from immunological attack. The cytokines, proteins, immune function, blood flow, gycoproteins, hormones must all be in balance and not under or over functioning. There must be absence of pathological mitigators which can contribute to infertility or promote miscarriage. Each and every player in the orchestra of conception must be in tune. One sour note and pregnancy will not occur or miscarriage will ensue.

Chinese medicine which consists mainly of acupuncture and herbal medicine does not work by adding to that which is deficient or reducing that which is in excess; Western medicine is good at that. For example, a common practice in treating a deficiency syndrome, i.e., hypothyroidism is to ADD synthroid. Or a common method at reducing excess insulin is by prescribing Metformin. These medicines which add or suppress or reduce have changed the face of civilization. Without the intervention of Western medicine and surgery our life-span would probably not exceed 40 years of age and three million babies would not have been born as a result of IVF. How many couples however, have remained childless even though they have undergone multiple IVFs? I am guessing more than three million.

Here is why: Just as a microwave oven can cook a meal, IVF can create a baby. But, as the microwave does not supplant the relationship between the chef and the food and the process of creating a meal, IVF cannot, in all its glory, in all cases, replace the natural process which is necessary to occur for conception and a take-home-baby to ensue.

The alternative

Acupuncture and herbal medicine are essentially used to create a state as close to homeostasis as possible. Homeostasis is when everything in the body and mind work perfectly. Obviously, this is not attainable. But, acupuncture and herbs attempt this and by attempting it a greater state of systemic and psycho-emotional health is frequently achieved. This is why, in many cases, acupuncture and herbs work to help one achieve pregnancy when IVF fails.

Because the greater one’s physical and psycho-emotional health is, the more likely they will be to conceive and deliver.

Based upon fourteen years of clinical experience in the field of infertility it is my professional opinion that the best case scenario for the infertile patient is to utilize Western medicine in conjunction with acupuncture and herbal medicine. The reason for this is quite simple. When the reproductive endocrinologist retrieves eggs and fertilizes them with sperm the resulting embryo is as good as its constituent components, egg and sperm. Most IVFs that fail do so because of poor egg quality and/or poor sperm quality. The reproductive endocrinologist cannot improve egg or sperm quality; acupuncture and herbs frequently can.


I saw a thirty four year old patient today. She has conceived three times with intercourse only to miscarry each time. She did get pregnant and delivered a baby as a result of insemination. She had one subsequent failed IVF. Now her doctor recommends donor egg with IVF. The patient has cold hands and feet, a pale complexion, low energy and gets dizzy. Obviously she has poor hemodynamics.

Blood is what carries FSH and LH from the brain to the ovaries; blood nourishes the endometrial lining; blood carries oxygen, electrolytes and nutrition to the entire reproductive system and removes waste matter from the reproductive environment. When cells die which they constantly do, they are ‘eaten’ up by macrophages. If the immune function is not functioning normally and debris is not removed, the outer layer of the dead cells breach and the internal toxic substance circulates within the ovarian milieu causing degradation in ovarian/egg quality. Acupuncture and herbal medicine increase blood flow; as a result this- can in many instances improve the health and function of the target tissue: ovaries and endometrial lining.

Why are you not using acupuncture and herbs?

It is difficult for me to understand why all infertile patients don’t include acupuncture and herbal medicine in their protocols. Why would they not? There has been so much research elucidating the efficacy of acupuncture in the treatment of infertility that acupuncture is no longer referred to as ‘alternative’ medicine but rather ‘complementary’ medicine. Herbs have a three-thousand year history of positive clinical outcomes.

Herb safety

Regarding the safety profile of herbs I have this to say: there are at least one million hospitalizations per year in America alone which occur as a result of adverse reactions to Western medicine. Many of these hospitalizations result in death. This does not happen with herbal medicine.

It is ironic therefore, that many (but no longer all!) doctors don’t want their patients on herbs because “they don’t know what’s in them”. Do you know what’s in Lupron? Or Gonal F? Did you know that ovarian hyper stimulation even from clomid can be fatal?

Don’t misunderstand, I am 100% pro IUI, IVF and donor egg-IVF protocols. But to not partake of a modality with proven results which may change the course from a negative outcome to a positive one especially in the patient who has had multiple IUI/IVF failures is a clinical error.

Mike Berkley, L.Ac., FABORM

Founder and Director, The Berkley Center for Reproductive Medicine