Tag Archives: Infertility

Finding The Right Practitioner For Your Infertility Concerns

If you are interested in trying acupuncture for your fertility concerns and you don’t know anyone who has tried it or anyone who is presently getting acupuncture treatment or if your doctor has no referrals to give, what do you do? Do you begin by looking at the phone book or going online and call the first person who you think might help? What exactly do you have to do to find an acupuncturist whom you can rely on to address your needs?

It is not that easy to find the right practitioner. You may find practitioners who have shining charisma and great personalities but have really pitiful medical skills. Then again, you might find ones who have strong personalities and very bad bed side manners but excel when it comes to medical expertise. Acupuncture just like in any profession, may have practitioners who devote plenty of energy and time to hone their skills constantly and practitioners who feel that what they already know is sufficient enough to provide good healthcare and think that putting much effort into increasing their knowledge is totally unnecessary.

The media has been positive about acupuncture treatment for infertility treatment for the past couple of years and because of that the number of Chinese medicine practitioners who have decided to advertise infertility treatment as part of their practice is growing. It is a fact that in treating infertility, most Chinese medicine practitioners receive very minimal training. Specialties are not offered by Chinese medicine schools, and it does not necessarily imply that when an acupuncturist refers to him/herself a “specialist” in any field of treatment, he/she has actually undergone years of extra training in that particular field. A Chinese medicine specialist is not equal to a “specialist” title in Western medicine that often requires some extra years of medical training.

Clinical doctorates in Chinese medicine are a relatively new offering to practitioners who want to get more training in a special field of interest. There are now a few colleges that offer focused study on geriatric medicine, women’s health, cancer therapies, and more. Those courses do provide a more in depth study in specific areas. There is certainly a lot of interest in making a doctorate degree in a field in Chinese medicine a standard education requirement future incoming students. It may take some time though for that process to take effect since virtually all acupuncture schools operate on a non-profit basis and are small.

You need to be proactive and not be afraid to ask the practitioners questions when you are looking for one who can help you get over your fertility problems. The following are some questions that may help:

Have you received any extra training in treatment of infertility? If yes, how much training, where, and by whom? Since additional training is definitely required in this specific field, I think that these are important pieces of information.

How much of your practice has focused on the treatment of infertility?
If the practitioner has devoted a substantial amount of time in his/her practice addressing infertility, it very likely that that practitioner has wide degree of knowledge in that field. A practitioner who treats infertility issues every now and then may not have the expertise or experience required to provide with you the best available treatment and thus should not be the one who should treat your infertility concerns.

Did you have training in herbal medicine?

Acupuncture programs that do not include herbal training are offered by some colleges. Herbal medicine is the primary mode of treatment for infertility In China for thousands of years. It is acupuncture that’s actually used as an adjunct therapy and is oftentimes not used as a standalone treatment for infertility. At different parts of their menstrual cycle and depending on their specific condition, women commonly need to take various types of herbal remedies. So it’s not uncommon to see women taking four different herbal prescriptions throughout the month.

You need to treat herbal medicine just like any medical treatment. This means understanding your options and treatment plan and to ask questions. The human body, in Chinese medicine, is seen in a different way than western medicine. At times, it is hard to understand the principle behind Chinese medicine and it is the responsibility of the practitioner to explain to you what would be a reasonable prognosis and the steps needed to take to address your condition.

In order to get a clear picture of your condition, your practitioner may recommend that you be examined by a reproductive endocrinologist. If you suffer, for example, from severe obstruction in the fallopian tube Western medicine treatment may be your only option in order to conceive. If that is the case, to prepare you for assisted reproductive therapies such as IVF, Chinese medicine can be utilized as an adjunct modality. But if your practitioner can’t figure out your diagnosis you could be wasting your time getting natural treatment.

Practitioners to Avoid

 Those who provide patients with unbelievably high rates of success (“75%-80% of all my patients get pregnant”). You may need to know how many patients are there in their sample size. If the practitioner has only managed to resolve three cases of infertility and all three were successful in achieving pregnancy then the success rate is 100%! Do the success rates of the practitioner involve just counting pregnancies or do they include live births, as well? Does the practitioner include in his/her count patients who have had acupuncture and have undergone IVF? All these questions are essential in determining the usefulness of the success rates of a practitioner.

 Those whose promises are too good to be true (e.g. “in just one month of treatment, I promise that you will get pregnant”). No one knows for sure not even the practitioner if the treatment will be a success or not. But for sure, the length of the treatment takes longer than one month. Usually, it takes at least three months to seem some positive results. Some patients may need one year of treatment for them to get pregnant. But If after a year of treatment, you still aren’t able to conceive it is definitely time move on to other treatment options.

Why TCM is Considered a Far Better Treatment for Infertility than IVF or Embryo Implantation

These days, a lot of people have a basic understanding of what acupuncture is and what it can do. A growing number of people have a first-hand experience of acupuncture. However, another traditional Chinese medicine treatment known as moxibustion often combined with acupuncture needs further explanation.

In moxibustion, instead of needles heat is applied to acupuncture points. The aim is to move the flow of chi and also clear out cold from a specific bodily system.

In vivo refers to live organisms, from worms, to frogs, rats, and to humans; IVF or In vitro fertilization is in reference to petri dishes or other lab glass containers.

During an IVF procedure an egg or eggs are extracted from the ovaries of an infertile woman where they are fertilized into a petri dish (in vitro). Then the fertilized eggs or egg (zygotes or zygote) is transferred from the lab and into the uterus of the woman.

Infertility is circumvented in In-vivo procedures. This type of infertility treatment requires a human donor who is injected with a donor’s sperm or the sperm of the husband of infertile woman where it impregnates the donor. The embryo is removed and inserted into the infertile woman as it begins to form in the ovaries of the donor.

A few years before the creation of IVF in 1978, the embryo in-vivo technique was accomplished. This technique soon became the infertility intervention most preferred by doctors because infections were minimal due to lab controls, occasional donor pregnancy was prevented, and the biological status of the newborn was less questionable.

However, besides being expensive, IVF procedures have very low success rates (around 20%). It is seldom given coverage by health insurance companies.

The ancient Chinese medical practice of TCM or Traditional Chinese Medicine has silently established itself as a powerful treatment for the increase of fertility in both women and men. This success was not lost to the Western medical scientific community, whose standard is the empirically proven randomized double blind testing procedures.

As an Adjunct Treatment, TCM Tends to Boost the Effectiveness of IVF

In a randomized clinical study conducted in Sao Paolo, Brazil, a March, 2013 a review published in PubMed stated that “acupuncture’s influence on IVF results during embryo implantation has failed.”

In the study, there were 84 women who participated. All of them had IVF twice without success. The women were equally divided into three groups. One group was correctly treated with applied moxibustion /acupuncture and IVF, their pregnancy rates were 35.7%. The IVF only treatment group had a 7.1% success rate while the sham acupuncture group, 10.7%.

The researchers concluded that moxibustion and acupuncture as an adjunct therapy significantly increased the rate of pregnancy in women who underwent IVF, when embryo implantation had failed.

Is IVF Really Required?

The reason why the Brazilian study was conducted was because the rate of success of IVF was low and many believe that TCM proved a much better alternative in boosting one’s chances of conception without the need for in vivo embryo transfer or IVF.

The study showed that doctors can still utilize IVF along with TCM as an adjunct therapy to boost IVF’s success. Therefore, both doctors and TCM practitioners see this as a win-win situation for their cause.

But this should mean the Brazilians are either well off or have universal health coverage since IVF procedures are quite costly. In the United States, an IVF treatment can easily cost $10,000. So, if by itself, does TCM work for the treatment of infertility? The answer to that is YES.

To prove this, one can cite the case of Dr. Randine Lewis, who decided to only use TCM treatment when she established The Fertile Soil group. Because of her own personal issues where she used TCM to cure her infertility, she decided to have a clinic that addresses infertility using purely TCM procedures.

We should note that TCM is entirely a natural treatment that does not use any pharmaceutical medications nor performs invasive treatments. It costs considerably less than IVF therapy and does not have any side effects that drugs or IVF has.

TCM and Acupuncture for a Safe and Natural Cure of Infertility

Are you considering acupuncture for treatment of infertility? Having the right information about acupuncture and its ability to treat infertility is relevant in the treatment of this condition since it can help you to ask the right questions your acupuncturist and understand how and why acupuncture works; you also know what to expect from the treatment.

What is fertility acupuncture?

This type of acupuncture treatment is to help a person attain fertility so much so that it can lead to conception. Even if both women and men can experience infertility, it’s the former who has the most issues when it comes to the process of procreation. So far, it is mostly women who are treated with infertility problems by acupuncturists.

In traditional Chinese medicine, the principle behind infertility is the imbalance of energy and blood flow in the body, specifically to the reproductive organs. Each person has a vital or life energy flowing in his/her body known as Qi. Qi flows through a dozen invisible energy channels called meridians. When a certain meridian develops obstructions, the normal flow is of Qi is disrupted. This leads to various health conditions including infertility.

According to traditional Chinese medicine or TCM, there are several meridians related to organ systems in the body that needs to be observed by the acupuncturist when treating infertility. The kidney point meridian is one of them. When a blockage is found in this meridian, a needle is inserted into it to remove the blockage enabling to the healthy function restoration of the kidney system. A woman’s chance of conceiving is greatly increased when psychologically-caused blockages are cleared out of the meridians.

Are all infertility problems handled by fertility acupuncture?

Definitely not, there are conditions in which acupuncture is not powerful enough to treat. You need the help of a medical doctor. Some of these conditions include adhesions on the fallopian tubes and pelvic inflammatory disease. A lot of other infertility-related conditions, however, can be addressed by acupuncture.

Is acupuncture enough?

Sometimes, acupuncture treatment alone may not be enough to resolve a condition. Therefore, acupuncturists combine this treatment with other TCM modalities like moxibustion and Chinese herbal medicine. Integrating these modalities can greatly increase the potency of the treatment. A study involving these treatments showed that 10 of the 30 women with infertility problems who were given these treatments had a vast improvement of their infertility that they were able to conceive with just a single course of treatment. Eight of the 20 women who did not experience results during the initial course of treatment were able to conceive after being given a second round of treatment.

One can also avail of acupuncture along with conventional fertility therapies. You can choose in vitro fertilization, donor egg transfer or artificial insemination along with acupuncture to help increase the success of these treatments.

In treating infertility, acupuncturists make sure not to insert the needles on your stomach or within the pelvic region after you have had IVF, insemination or transfer. Those areas are considered danger points by acupuncturists during pregnancy. These danger points include the stomach, large intestine, spleen and liver.

You need to also consider acupuncture treatment for your infertility from a licensed and qualified acupuncturist who preferably has a long experience in treating conditions such as yours.