Failed IVF cycles


Susan had 2 failed IVF cycles before we helped her get pregnant naturally, aged 47. She gave birth 3 years after she first came to us, back when she was 45, with low AMH and high FSH. She had an FSH retest after a few months of treatment.

“My FSH result was 25 before. When I received the test result after a few months of treatment, I was so nervous that I was too frightened to look at first. When I did, I was so pleased. It is now 13.9!”

Subsequently, she went for a cycle of IVF with the clinic we work with. It was not successful, but she told us this.

“When the eggs were collected, the IVF clinic was surprised to find that all of my eggs are of excellent quality. They say this is very rare in a woman of my age.”

She then became busy with other life commitments, and came back to us for treatment later.

“It is very very early days but I have had a positive pregnancy test (over-the-counter tester kit). I’m about 6 weeks in. I don’t want to get too excited but I wanted to drop you a note to see about coming back to see you.”

Theresa, 39, first came to us after 1 failed cycle of IUI and 3 failed cycles of IVF, spanning 9 months. Her consultant told her donor eggs were her only option. She saw us 3 times, and on her fourth visit, she showed us 2 pregnancy test sticks that confirmed she was pregnant.

“I cannot believe this. How come the consultant said that I could not have my own child!”

Unfortunately, she had a miscarriage a few weeks later. She came back to us after a short rest, saw us 4 times, and got pregnant again.

Elizabeth Douglas, 41, had 4 cycles of failed IVF before she came to us. Her story was published in Real magazine in 2002. Call us for a copy of the article.

“We saw Professor Li at the TCM Healthcare fertility clinic. He asked me a lot of questions: what food I liked, whether I was hot or cold, and also looked at my tongue and took my pulse in both wrists. His diagnosis was that my chi (life energy) was completely out of alignment and that I was far too cold. He gave me a concoction of herbs to boil up and drink twice a day, which tasted revolting, but I persevered and kept going back for consultations. After about 6 months, he told me his treatment had finished and I simply had to be patient. Incredibly, in just 2 months, I was ringing him with the wonderful news that I was pregnant. It wasn’t a great pregnancy. I was sick and suffered bad indigestion but Matthew was born healthy last June. We’ll always be grateful to the IVF consultants, but without Chinese medicine, we may never have found the final piece in the puzzle, which allowed us to become parents at long last.”

Many patients come to us with failed IVF attempts. They generally feel rather strained by the experience, financially, as well as emotionally. 

The conventional medical approach is to focus on the mechanics of getting a sperm into an egg to develop an embryo, and putting it back into the uterus in the hope the embryo will implant, without doing much to improve hormones, egg quality, sperm quality etc.

We have one working principle: We firmly believe that the quality of your reproductive system can be improved. We apply this principle to our clinical practice and have helped many patients achieve live births after failed IVF attempts.

IVF success decreases with age. Put very simply, IVF failure is attributed to weaknesses in the embryo that leads to failed implantation. On average, only about 25% of transferred embryos continue to develop and become live births.

Since much of embryo weakness and implant failure are largely attributed to poor egg quality (and egg quality tends to decline with age), the success of our treatment can be attributed to the fact we can improve AMH and egg quality, especially in older women. Some of our patients have failed IVFs to an extent they were told donor eggs were the only option left. Although AMH results on their own are not direct indicators for egg quality, when paired with an antral follicle scan, they become good predictors for egg quality.

How do we help? 

Patients bring us their test results and medical record. We do an hour-long first consultation, in which we do non-invasive and pain-free Chinese medical diagnostic procedures, in order to understand your particular condition and circumstances thoroughly.

A microscope, drawn with Chinese calligraphy, TCM Healthcare — London fertility clinic

Our specialist prescribes a unique herbal formula, usually consisting of around 20 kinds of herbs, from which you will make drinks and consume twice a day for 18 days in a month. 

A month after the first consultation, you will be done with the first round of herbal remedy. We do a second consultation, lasting 30 minutes, doing another diagnostic procedure to see how well you’ve responded to the treatment. Another prescription will be written.

This monthly cycle will repeat 3 or 4 times before you are asked to have another AMH test carried out. Most patients see significant improvements. They then pursue a number of options, whether that’s working with us for a few more months to try to achieve pregnancy, or combining our treatment with another IVF cycle.

What are our fees?

The fees come to about £350–400 a month, all inclusive.

How often do I need to come? 

Once a month. Most patients come from 3 to 9 months. Some combine our treatment with further IVF cycles.

What to expect during a consultation

A traditional Chinese medical consultation involves the following steps.


The practitioner may scrutinise your complexion, eyes, tongue, and movements to gain insight into how your organs are functioning. The tongue is a particularly important source of information, and its colour, body, coating, and moisture will all be taken into account.


The practitioner assesses the patient’s energy and general condition by taking into account your body heat, odour, skin sensitivity, and uses other senses to gain an insight into the your condition.

Taking a history

To gain a full picture, the practitioner will ask detailed questions about your complaint and your medical history. They will want to find out whether your problems vary at all according to the time of year and your diet, feelings or emotions.

Pulse diagnosis

This can provide a highly sensitive and detailed picture of your general health. The practitioner will take a number of different ‘pulses’ on three fingers of each hand. This enables him to gain further information about the quality and functioning of the five major organs. The practitioner will take account of your general health and strength, as well as all of your symptoms, whether they seem to you to be connected or not. This will be the basis for deciding on the best treatment.

Follow up

Monthly consultations are required to gauge your progress. The prescriptions will be devised accordingly — for treating a changing condition, a fixed single herb or formula is unlikely to be effective over time.

Patients want to know how long they need to see us for. We say after 3 months of treatment, we will review progress, retesting hormones and check subjective experience, such as period cycle regularity and sexual interest. If they are at normal levels, we discharge the patients.

If they are better but still need further improvement, patients may need second course of treatment at the same or less intensity.

Typically, women see us for 3 courses of treatment, ie 9 months total.

The point is we the way we treat patients means they should not rely on our treatment for too long. Their improved health and function should stay with them if they look after their health.

Book an appointment!

Call us any time on 0207 096 0283 or fill out our enquiry form.

We would like to see the following test results (less than 2 months old):

If you have not done them yet, we can arrange them for you. Results come out in 1–3 days.

A booking fee of £50 (refunded when you attend) will be processed at booking. 

Are there patients we cannot help?

Yes. No medical system is foolproof and medical practitioners, however good, are not omnipotent. As great as our success rates are, they are not 100%. There are times patients do not respond to our treatments despite our best efforts.

Delayed improvements are possible when patients rest a little. However, even with rest, patients may still not respond well. Fortunately, these cases are in the minority. We minimise the number of these cases by trying to understand our patients’ conditions as much as possible before taking them on. We minimise time and financial commitments from patients by insisting they have hormone or sperm test results prior to treatment, and to get retested after 3 months —following our evidence-based approach.

At TCM Healthcare, we will always have your best interests in mind and we will do our best.