Acupuncture and Low Ovarian Reserve

by Shelley
(Seattle, WA)

Hi Amelia,
I am 40 and have been TTC #2 for a year. I conceived my first child at the age of 37 with the assistance of injectable fertility medications. I have a diagnosis, which in a nut shell means that my pituitary gland doesn't work and therefore doesn't produce the hormones needed for ovulation.

So I need ovulation induction assistance. I have actually had two pregnancies, the first ended in early miscarriage at 6 weeks. The second as I said was fine and I have a wonderful 2 year old.

We have been trying to conceive with the same injectable/ovulation induction cycles. We had 5 cycles fail, 3 were chemical pregnancies. So we switched to IVF and had a poor response with a high dose of medication. Only 2 follicles were in range and therefore we converted the cycle to an IUI.

I have also been diagnosed with low ovarian reserve with an AMH test. My question is since I can't conceive naturally, whether or not acupuncture will help in my situation? Will it help with a better response to medications thereby producing more eggs with potentially good egg quality to have a healthy child?

Thank you for your assistance.
Shelley

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Pituitary Gland and Fertility
by: Amelia Hirota

Dear Shelley,
Thank you for providing me with a history what you've been through thus far. The fact that you conceived at age 37 with a non-functioning pituitary gland and fertility drugs gives me confidence that it can happen again.

Your ovarian reserve and overall fertility does not drop precipitously in just 3 years. However, you did have a baby 3 years ago and that is a strain on the body. I truly believe that with a holistic fertility program, including dietary therapy, personalized herbal formulas, lifestyle changes and acupuncture that you could nourish your body, your eggs and your reproductive system back to the point where the eggs are more viable and your reproductive system is able to support a sound pregnancy.

There really is no way to definitive diagnose a woman with low ovarian reserve. Most of my patients that have conceived that are over 35 years old, were diagnosed with low ovarian reserve, based on their age, failed IVF cycles, high FSH levels and even some AMH tests.

Most of my secondary infertility patients conceived their first child around age 37 and then they come in to see me when they are 40 years old. I would recommend that you get started immediately working with an acupuncturist that specializes in constructing holistic fertility programs.

Just getting a few acupuncture treatments probably won't make much difference in the outcome of IVF, but if you take 3-6 months (I know that 6 months sounds like a long time.) to prepare your body for your next medicated cycle, you definitely have a better chance of conceiving and staying pregnant, than if you were to just continue to do back to back IVF cycles. Back to back IVF cycles are hard on the body and on the ovaries in particular. I would consider just doing Clomid with IUI after 3-6 months of preparation.

I would also recommend that your husband join you in the pre-conception program, at least in terms of diet and lifestyle. You didn't mention the sperm numbers, but the fact that you had 3 chemical pregnancies makes me wonder about the viability of the sperm. It only makes sense to have both partners do their utmost to insure that their genetic material is as healthy as possible.

Thank you for your question. I hope that I have been helpful.

Sending Babydust Your Way,
Amelia

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Seattle/Tacoma Fertility Acupuncturist
by: Anonymous

Thank you for your response Amelia - that gives me hope. Do you or anyone else who reads this know of any fertility acupuncturists in the Seattle/Tacoma, Washington area? Thanks again!

Shelley

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Fertility Acupuncturist
by: Anonymous

I visit Seattle Herb and Acupuncture. Dr. Xie is wonderful.

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