'Complementary Therapies Help Boost Fertility' a truely awful article from the Daily Mail

I haven't been rattled by a news story for quite a while. This afternoon I came across this little beauty from (yes you guessed it) The Daily Mail, written by Naomi Coleman.

'Complementary therapies help boost fertility' - The title seems innocuous enough. The article itself is AWFUL the content is absolute rubbish and the advice given is absolute rubbish. 

The first line, "Scientific evidence shows that a range of alternative therapies from acupuncture and homeopathy to nutrition and hypnotherapy can help boost fertility." -Oh really, does the scientific evidence say that? Homeopathy you say? REALLY?

Queue quote from Zita West (Kate Winslet's midwife), complementary therapies can encourage conception by 'bringing the body back into balance'. I can understand that some therapies may reduce stress and aid relaxation and therefore could help someone get pregnant. Her website however, http://www.zitawest.com/ does support and sell various supplements (including omega 3 & 6 capsules), various 'fertility test kits' and also has a blog. Zita West's latest blog post is about how antioxidants improve sperm quality and how her vitamin supplement could help. No link to any scientific papers or where to find further information.  I did a quick search myself, but I am at home and do not have access to journals and therefore don't want to pass any view from the few I could read in full. If anyone has more information about this area, please share! I am interested to know more and I will have a look when I am able to access scientific journals.

Back to the Daily Mail, the article goes on to 'their guide to homeopathy'. Homeopathic remedies are diluted stuff. Fair enough. 'Practitioners claim homeopathic remedies can help women with a variety of fertility problems from blocked tubes and endometriosis to polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS).' Well the 'Practitioners' may claim that, but it is a load of rubbish. According to Dr Bob Lekridge (who is a real doctor and practiced as a GP) from Glasgow's homeopathic hospital, folliculinum may help kick start the reproductive system. RUBBISH. Folliculinum is made from Oestrone, a synthetic form of oestrogen (apparently, according to the homeopaths, the only link I could find on it). Oestrone (or E1) in my eyes is a perfectly naturally occurring oestrogen, secreted from adipose tissue (fat tissue) and the ovaries. It is the primary oestrogen in post-menopausal women, so it isn't synthetic. Regardless, the 'remedy' involves diluting it millions of times so it isn't going to do anything at all and there is no evidence to support that it does. 

The next question from the Daily Mail, 'Is it effective?' Ooh, promising here, are they going to question the evidence?! No. 'There is a strong body of evidence to show that homeopathy aids fertility. A German clinical trial showed twice as many women taking daily doses of the herb agnus castus fell pregnant compared to those not taking the drug. In another German study more than half of women with fertility problems experienced improved ovulation or pregnancy after taking a homeopathic remedy.' 

Oh, never mind, they are talking about something completely different to Folliculinum here. The herb agnus castus is NOT A HOMEOPATHIC REMEDY, it is not diluted, it is a HERB. So, about the 'other Germany study', which study? Which homeopathic remedy did they take? No information provided. 

The rest of the article is about acupuncture, the evidence for acupuncture was all supported by more unnamed German studies (is the author German or something?!) 

This article really is poor and provides poor information to people who are trying to have children. Unfortunately the Daily Mail website does not let you comment on the article, so I cannot share my views on their website. 

People are praying on the fact that sometimes there is no medical solution to infertility and that budding parents will do anything they can (and go to many lengths) to boost their chances of getting pregnant in order to make money. Folliculinum is also being 'prescribed' along with many other homeopathic remedies to help women with problems going through the menopause and for other hormonal problems. Although Folliculinum doesn't appear to be harmful (if it is just a sugar pill), it is a waste of time and money.  The Daily Mail through it's bad journalism isn't helping wannabe parents in their quest. 

*picture pinched from -http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/sex-dawn/201005/how-the-pill-could-ruin-your-life


  1. Good attitude, thank you! I am also tired of misleading, profit motivated quackery.
    My 22yr old nephew is receiving
    - chemo (Yondelis/Trabectedin)
    - radiation (brain, mouth/gum & thighs)
    - surgery (collar bone & shoulder)
    for re-occurring cancer (Myxoid Liposarcoma). Is there not a proper scientific group doing studies on the benefits of natural complementary methods to work along-side conventional treatment? Surely there are benefits? The oncologist and surgeon are pretty much saying nutrition has nothing to do with anything - I disagree but don't know enough and can't trust the available sources. Relying on nature to boost with organics and varied foods (vegetarian from birth due to PKU condition).
    We have no time to be raking through all the rubbish.
    The tiniest step in the right direction would be a giant step from where we are.
    Wishing you enough - be well... Serpil (ozyigitserpil@hotmail.com)


Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Getting Women into Science, EU Directive

How many papers should academics publish per year?

How to help someone that is writing up their thesis