Current research in reproductive medicine shows that acupuncture improves pregnancy outcomes in women undergoing IVF. Research also demonstrates the effectiveness of Chinese herbs to improve embryo quality in women who have undergone failed IVF cycles. Acupuncture can help with fertility in many ways, both physically and emotionally. An excellent example of the successful combination of Traditional Chinese Medicne and IVF comes from my patient Tracy:
About 9 years ago (2001) my husband and I experienced primary infertility when starting our family. At the time, we were both about 29 years old. We started seeing a reproductive endocrinologist (RE) in 2003. The diagnosis at the time was primary infertility because my husband had a very low sperm count (between 6-12 million.) I also was diagnosed with a bicornuate uterus, but our RE told us that would only be a factor if I couldn’t carry our children to term. Our first treatment plan with our reproductive endocrinologist (RE) was to try IUI’s. On our fourth IUI (our first with Clomid) we were able to conceive our first daughter.
When she was 18 months old we went back to our RE. I knew it would take a little while to get pregnant, but we thought we knew the formula. I was very in tune with my body because we had practiced Natural Family Planning (NFP) in order to avoid pregnancy the first years of our marriage. So when the normal signs of fertility were not occurring during the time I was ovulating, I knew something was wrong. We had tried 7 IUI’s (with Clomid & Follistim,) each one with a much higher sperm count than the cycle I had conceived our daughter on. I spoke with the RE and the nurses about this, but they all had a different answer and none of them made sense to me. Because of the absence of my normal fertility signs, I knew something was wrong with my body.
We decided to start seeing a new RE at another practice. When we did this, they had us redo all the tests we did a few years early. When they took the hormone tests for me they saw that I had an elevated FSH level (12.5.) They told me that if my FSH were any higher I wouldn’t be eligible for IVF. Because it was that high I had a lower chance of conceiving then other women in my age group.
This is when I decided to turn to acupuncture. I read a review about Monica from a lady in England who had been to her a couple of times, but swore Monica was the reason her IVF procedure worked. I decided to give Monica a try.
When I explained everything to Monica, she thought that there were definitely things she could do to help. During my next cycle my fertility signs did return (I know that was because of the acupuncture). My RE had also given me an HSG and ordered an ultrasound and then an MRI to diagnose my uterine anomaly correctly. Finally something showed up that explained the cause of my secondary infertility…a dermoid cyst on my ovary. This needed to be removed before we could proceed with any other procedures. While I was waiting on the surgery I continued to see Monica and continued to get healthier. My husband even went to her to increase and improve his sperm count and motility.
I had the cyst removed and we were able to finally do our first and only IVF cycle in November 2007. Monica was so accommodating during this time. She made sure she was available for us any time of the day while we were going through our procedure. She was there to give me a treatment before & after my cycle which she had to come in on the weekend for.
We were very successful with our procedure, even with my elevated FSH level the RE was able to remove 22 eggs and 16 fertilitized and 7 went to blast stage. She even thought of putting one blast back, but because my age (35) and FSH levels were high she recommended two. They were able to put two grade A eggs back in 5 days later. Needless to say a week and a half after that we found out we were pregnant and a few weeks after that we found out we were having twins.
I really feel like if I were not seeing Monica during this time that I would not have become pregnant. She was understanding and very involved and interested in my overall health. I carried my twins to full term, even with my bicornuate uterus.
Thank you Monica for my wonderful girls!!!!