African Journal of Reproductive Health

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Complementary and alternative medicine used by infertile women in Turkey

Filiz Süzer Özkan, Aysel Karaca, Kader Sarak


This study was carried out to determine the use of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) methods by women diagnosed with infertility who had undergone assisted reproduction methods to conceive a child. The study was descriptive and cross-sectional in design. The study was composed of 310 women admitted to the infertility clinic of a Women‘s and Children's Hospital in Istanbul, Turkey. Data were collected via a questionnaire form that was prepared based on the literature. Data were assessed by percentage calculation. The ratio of CAM use among the women in the study was 51%. The most commonly used practices involved the consumption of onions (65.1%) and figs (45.2%), insertion of sheep tail fat into the vagina (42.9%) and eating walnuts (41.7%). The most commonly known practice was the use of onions (81.9%), followed by figs (56. 3%), amulets (34.1%), parsley (30.67%) and prayers (30.3%). Participants stated that only three methods had been beneficial, with onions (two individuals), diet (one individual), and psychotherapy (one individual), considered as successful practices. Evidence-based studies on the most well-known and practiced methods are needed. Therefore, it is essential to perform meta-analyses and randomized controlled studies. 

Keywords: complementary and alternative medicine, infertility, assisted reproduction techniques, Turkey

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