Mayonnaise miracle babies! They’d endured 150 IVF attempts – and been told to give up hope.
12 Jul 2013

But after controversial jabs of egg yolk and oil, they’re mums at last.

A recent article in the Daily Mail features six women who claim to have conceived through the controversial Immunomodulation Therapy method after failing numerous IVF cycles. The therapy is said to work by flooding the bloodstreams of women with fatty acids, which reduce the ability of the body’s Natural Killer (NK) cells to produce toxic chemicals. These chemicals attack and reject the developing embryo as a foreign object. However, this method is untested, unproven and costs £7,000 a cycle. Here Dr Zhai comments on the treatment.

Dr Zhai comments: “Immunological cause of infertility has been widely-discussed over the last decade. Do I believe it? I have kept my mind open to it as it is my job to research whatever is available and a reliable option to help women get pregnant. I’m particularly concerned for those who have a long history of failing to conceive either naturally or through assisted fertility treatment from failure of implantation or recurrent miscarriages. I am ready and open for anything that may help these women conceive.

From an alternative fertility treatment point of view, it is true that we see patients fail on average 3.8 assisted fertility treatments before seeking alternative treatment methods. The majority of patients fail to conceive through assisted fertility treatment, because this treatment is unable to overcome the egg and sperm quality issue. A small portion of these cases is due to a mechanical cause such as thrombosis problems. 

I have seen a few patients benefit from NK therapy, but what concerns me is that no studies have been carried out to see if NK also applies to very fertile women. Also, I’ve seen many patients who had normal NK levels, but then after going through a few failed assisted fertility treatments, their NK levels were raised. From a TCM point of view, most of the immunological problems are linked to liver Qi stagnation, Yin deficiency and heat in the blood. Most of these patients generally have a red tongue with no coat and are of a slim built due to their body being overheated and a lack of fluid. 

At The Zhai Clinic, we had a patient who was in her early 40s and had failed four IVF/ICSI cycles which were combined with NK drug therapy. We started treating her immediately after her last failed IVF/ICSI treatment. We focused on helping her smooth the liver Qi, reduce the heat in her blood and nourish her kidney yin. After six months of TCM treatment, she conceived and went back to her assisted fertility clinic for NK therapy assistance. However, no further treatment was necessary as her NK level was undetectable. 

Many of our patients had been through numerous NK tests and underwent many NK drug therapies elsewhere, but a large portion of them still failed to become pregnant. The main reason for NK therapy is to focus on implantation. However, the quality of the egg and sperm is the key- without a healthy egg and healthy sperm, you won’t be able to make a healthy embryo. This is why only focusing on implantation, and not the quality of the egg and sperm, will not lead to a successful pregnancy. 

Another patient of ours was in her early 40s, had been trying to get pregnant since her mid 30s and had five miscarriages- two of which were spontaneous pregnancies and the other three resulted from assisted fertility treatment (two of which were biochemical pregnancies). All three of the pregnancies from assisted fertility treatment included NK therapy- one of which used a donor egg- but all failed to achieve a pregnancy. Why? From a TCM assessment, this woman had liver Qi stagnation and blood stasis, which obstructed the normal blood circulation to her abdomen and therefore, depleted the energy to her ovary. After nine months of TCM treatment, not only did she conceive spontaneously, but she didn’t need NK therapy nor a donor egg. 

The key issue is that we should not view the reproductive system as separate from the rest of the human body. The reproductive organs such as the ovary and uterus are not working on their own. They need to be in good form, free from obstruction and nourished through a good lifestyle, moderate exercise and a reliable treatment programme such as TCM to correct the human body function. This is particularly important for those who do not have a good constitution naturally.”