Health care practitioners need to be proactive in acquiring and documenting use of complimentary therapies for infertility

ajo-infertility-acupuncture1The use of complementary medicine and therapies by patients attending a reproductive medicine unit in South Australia: A prospective survey
Marcin STANKIEWICZ 1, Caroline SMITH 2, Helen ALVINO 3 and Robert NORMAN 4

1Department of Obstetrics Gynaecology and Reproductive Medicine, Flinders Medical Centre, 2Discipline of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, School of Paediatrics and Reproductive Health, The University of Adelaide, 3Adelaide Hormone and Menopause Centre, Adelaide Fertility Centre Pty Ltd, and 4Discipline of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Medical School North, The University of Adelaide, South Australia, Australia
Correspondence: Dr Marcin Stankiewicz, Flinders Reproductive Medicine Unit, Department of Obstetrics Gynaecology and Reproductive Medicine, Flinders Medical Centre, Flinders Drive, Bedford Park, SA 5042, Australia. Email: marcin.stankiewicz@fmc.sa.gov.au
Key words : complementary therapies, reproductive techniques assisted, in vitro fertilisation, female infertility, male infertility, vitamins.

DOI: 10.1111/j.1479-828X.2007.00702.x
Abstract

Background: There is limited research describing the use of complementary medicines (CM) and therapies among patients with infertility.

Objective: (i) To examine the use of CM by subjects attending an infertility clinic at their first consultation and six months later; (ii) to examine men’s and women’s views on the effectiveness and safety of these practices; and (iii) to examine the documentation of the use of CMs and therapies in clinical notes.

Design: A prospective survey of 100 consecutive new patients presenting to an infertility clinic. Subjects were requested to complete a self-administered questionnaire at their first visit and six months later. A retrospective audit of 200 patient records.

Results: A response rate of 72% was obtained. Sixty-six percent of patients attending the infertility clinic in South Australia used CMs. Six months following the initial consultation the use of CMs had declined. The most commonly used CMs included multivitamins, herbs, and mineral supplements, and subjects consulted most frequently with naturopaths, chiropractors and acupuncturists. The use of CMs and therapies was poorly documented by clinical staff.

Conclusion: Complementary medicines and therapies are widely used by patients with infertility. Health-care practitioners and fertility specialists need to be proactive in acquiring and documenting the use of these practices. There is a need to provide further information to patients on the use of CMs and therapies. Further research examining the reasons for use of CMs and therapies is needed.

The Australian and New Zealand Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology

Volume 47 Issue 2 Page 145 – April 2007

Marcin STANKIEWICZ, Caroline SMITH, Helen ALVINO, Robert NORMAN (2007)
The use of complementary medicine and therapies by patients attending a reproductive medicine unit in South Australia: A prospective survey
The Australian and New Zealand Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology 47 (2), 145–149.
doi:10.1111/j.1479-828X.2007.00702.x