Acupuncture or IVF?

by Andi
(Hannibal, MO)

Hello Amelia,
I have been trying to get pregnant for over 4 years now. I became pregnant last year at age 37 (1 month before my 38 birthday). On my first ultrasound visit, the doctor could not find a heartbeat and 2 days later I had a D & C.

I have been devastated ever since and on the borderline of obsessive. At least I know I can get pregnant, but I am scared it will take another 4 years to achieve it. I have had all fertility tests done and I am healthy and in the clear. (My FSH is at 6.)

My mom had a child when she was 42 and all my sisters are fertile. I have been undergoing acupuncture 1 to 2 times a week for the past 3 months, drinking herbal teas nightly, taking "Womens Precious" (Chinese herbal formula,) taking prenatal vitamins, and drinking "Vit C-Protein-Milk Thistle-Maca-Spirulina" smoothies, etc.

I feel so desperate inside and feel like I am my own worst enemy. I am nearly deaf from the sound of my clock ticking. I admit I do feel better in my mind, but was wondering if I should keep up the acupuncture and for how long? How many times a week should I go, once, twice?? At what point in time should I consider IVF? Is there anything you could recommend at my desperate now-or-never age of 39.5???

Nearly Deaf in Missouri,

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Acupuncture or IVF?
by: Amelia Hirota

Hi Andi,
Deciding between acupuncture or IVF and when to move on to IVF is a tough decision. I've helped a few patients recently with this same decision and I understand the brevity of your situation with your age being 39.5 years old.

Personally, I think that the best TCM fertility plan involves weekly acupuncture treatments, strong personalized herbal formulas, dietary therapy and lifestyle counseling.

Three months of acupuncture is a good start. Are you charting your cycles? Does your acupuncturist go over your charts thoroughly? Definitely taking Women's Precious herbal formula is not enough in my opinion. Time is of the essence and your body probably needs the deep nourishment and balancing that Chinese herbs can give when prescribed to your presentation.

You didn't mention your partner's sperm? Has it been checked and if so, what are the numbers? I find that many miscarriages that occur in the 6-8 week range are due to poor quality sperm.

I'm not a fan of Maca for women and I generally don't recommend mixing up too many supplements, as it can be a lot for the liver to deal with.

I find in the clinic that women who stay on my program of weekly acupuncture, personalized herbal formulas, dietary adjustments, and lifestyle changes get pregnant within 6 months. It takes between 4-6 months for the developing follicles to completely mature. If you're ovulating, your fallopian tubes are clear and your partner has good quality sperm, IVF is not indicated for you.

In your case, I believe that you need stronger herbal therapy and you may want to make appropriate adjustments to your diet and lifestyle. Check out some of my online programs.

Sending Baby Dust Your Way,
Amelia Hirota, Licensed and Board Certified Acupuncturist and Herbalist

Getting Pregnant After 40
by: Kirstyn Sierra

Hi Amelia,

I was doing a search for some information on TCM for a 42 year old client in the Hannibal, MO area, and found this wonderful post.

I sent it to her as I'm encouraging her to find a TCM practitioner who specializes in fertility, and I also wanted her to see your comments on how taking too many supplements can put extra stress on the liver.

I find too many women who think that "Maca" is kind of a "cure-all" for their infertility. Yet I believe it's much more important to be taking the proper herbs in the proper potency at the proper dose, to get the fastest results.

Being that each woman has different challenges, it's always best to have a TCM practitioner prescribe a customized blend of herbs to best facilitate the healing process.

I recently had a client who was 40 years old, who was diagnosed as "unexplained infertility" and had gone through 4 failed IVF treatments.

She is now 31 weeks pregnant NATURALLY, after adjusting her diet and lifestyle to increase her fertility.

Acupuncture coupled with proper diet, lifestyle and herbs makes for a powerful combination that has helped many women conceive naturally. It's a good thing!

Best wishes,

Kirstyn Sierra,
Pregnancy Consultant

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