Increasingly, complementary approaches are being incorporated into orthodox medicine.

The success of using both at the same time was recently brought home when Kate and her husband came to see me with fertility problems.

They had tried unsuccessfully to conceive naturally.

Three subsequent attempts at intra-uterine insemination and two attempts at IVF treatment had also resulted in failure.

Kate was 40 years old and had a history of severe anorexia.

She had been hospitalised several times and at her lowest ebb had weighed a mere three stone.

With the support of a clinical psychologist, she slowly regained some weight and her sense of "self".

However, after years of malnutrition and a spell of taking the pill, her periods had failed to return.

When I first met Kate, she weighed 6 stone 12 lbs and, although her relationship with food had significantly progressed, she was still very thin.

I was impressed with her determination to enjoy food and desire to improve her health.

Together, we worked out a strategy of improving her dietary intake and I reassured Kate that behaviour and eating habits can change according to the nutritional status of an individual.

I also explained that while sufficient nutrients are required for reproductive health, as is a particular level of body weight in order to provide a nourishing and safe environment for a healthy baby.

As a practising vegetarian with the legacy of an eating disorder, it was difficult for her to achieve the right balance of protein.

Yet, in order to survive, a foetus depends on adequate protein and fat stores.

Our healthy eating plan for Kate encompassed a diverse range of grains apart from wheat (oats, rice, corn, millet, quinoa, buckwheat), plenty of fruit and vegetables, plus sufficient quality plant proteins (tofu, nuts, seeds, legumes, pulses).

As Kate tended to avoid fats in her diet, I made it clear that essential fats are needed early on in embryonic life to build a strong central nervous and immune system.

Good sources include fresh nuts, seeds, coldwater fish and their oils.

A safe supplemental regime was also recommended for preconceptual care.

After a few weeks on her nutritional programme, Kate rang me to say she had gained a stone and noticed a marked improvement in energy and wellbeing.

She felt ready for her third shot at IVF treatment and this time, it worked.

Throughout her pregnancy, Kate kept up with sensible eating habits and supplementation and felt very well.

Her labour was short (three hours) and her postnatal recovery period without problems.

Kate introduced me to her healthy young son just a few weeks ago.

I could only marvel at the dedication of his parents, the wizardry of medical technology and the good sense Mother Nature which had united so beautifully to create a little boy called Jack.