What is a typical TCM protocol for resolving reproductive issues?
Every patient is unique and therefore so is their fertility plan at AcuPlus. However, there are basic protocols that tend to work best for resolving reproductive issues.
In general, at minimum I like to see reproductive patients, both male and female, once per week for treatment. It lets me have regular influence over their cycles (yes, men cycle too :)) to help regulate them, as well as gives us time to communicate well about changes occurring for the patient or catching issues early so we don’t slow progress. There are times though that I want to see someone twice in a week depending on her cycle time and length and if she doesn’t yet have a menstrual period.
The rule of thumb for using Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) to improve fertility status, is regular therapy for three months prior to trying to get pregnant. But again, this depends on the woman’s imbalances and whether or not she is using Assisted Reproduction Technologies such as IUI’s and IVF. Some women only need a gentle push to resolve issues and get pregnant within a cycle or two. Other women need more assistance to normalize their cycles. Some men have significant health issues to resolve so energy can be used to enhance healthy sperm production. It’s very difficult to generalize for a medicine that is based on seeing each person as a unique body expression. TCM is designed to work with individuals, not a diagnosis of reproductive distress. I recommend having a discussion with me to learn more about what to expect for you in your circumstances to see if TCM is a great choice for you.
Is TCM useful for preparing for Assisted Reproductive Techniques like IUI’s and IVF?
There is research available recognizing the usefulness of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) while preparing for Assisted Reproduction Technologies (ART). But it isn’t as simple as only using acupuncture before and after an Intra Uterine Injection (IUI) or embryo transfer with In Vitro Fertilization (IVF). Yes, this can be helpful to relax the mind and an irritated uterus during these procedures, but the ideal way to prepare is to manage existing health issues 3 – 6 months prior to any ART. Given that much time, it is common for women to fall pregnant naturally. If you’re scheduled to do ART in a month or a week, then acupuncture will still help prepare your body at least a little more than without it. Acupuncture influences your biochemistry to help your mind and parts of your body relax and function more smoothly. This of course would be beneficial for anyone about to deal with the pressures of ART.
Because Lethbridge does not currently have a Western medical fertility centre for ART, pre and post acupuncture treatments are not usually available through AcuPlus as I’d have to travel to Calgary or Vancouver or Victoria to do so. However, I do have amazing colleagues in those cities whom I trust, and who I would contact for you to have them give you acupuncture at the fertility clinic. I’ve no doubt our skill levels and bedside manner are similar enough that you’d be comfortable.
Are acupuncture and herbal formulas safe during pregnancy?
Acupuncture is used to alleviate many typical pregnancy related complaints, including anything from nausea to allergies to sciatica. During each stage of pregnancy, there are certain points that should be used and others that should be avoided. Following these guidelines ensures safety of both the mother and the developing baby.
Can you guarantee I’ll become pregnant?
I wish I could guarantee you’d become pregnant, but no one can guarantee that in good faith. However, I CAN guarantee I will use effective tools to significantly improve your chances of success. I’ve see them work for so many of my fertility patients. And remember, the myriad of TCM and FM tools are used to address health concerns of the whole body, not only the reproductive issues. You are more than you’re your reproductive organs. Overall health improvement is possible using protocols I suggest. Your job is to implement them, relax and watch as your health improves.
What is your pregnancy success rate?
This question requires some background. Please keep in mind that women in many different situations request my services; some with much more challenging circumstances than others. I may have a woman in her early twenties with only a few years suffering with PCOS that is fairly easy to treat versus a 39 year old with a history of severe endometriosis that is a much more challenging case. Each woman’s chances of success starting off are very different from each other. I’ve had some tough cases become successes, and others that seemed simpler that did not succeed. Plus, I do not regularly see easy cases. I’m often the practitioner someone sees after they think they’ve done everything else and are about to give up. Gratefully I really enjoy that challenge! Even with those odds stacked against me, my clinical success rate for helping ladies become pregnant is currently around 75%. This is high, but I will tell you that it is that high in large part because of the incredible efforts women and men tend to put into implementing their treatment plans.
I’ve already spent a great deal on fertility treatments. Why should I spend more?
The cost of fertility treatments is extraordinary, especially when ART procedures are needed. By investing in rebuilding your overall health to increase your chances of pregnancy by using tools I recommend you can increase your chances of conception with or without ART procedures. I set up a program for you based on your individual imbalances and help you work the Fertility Plan to maximize your chances of conception. I believe better overall health is always worth an investment of energy, whether pregnancy is the end result or not. Research shows that TCM treatments can influence the success rate of IVF procedures, which typically ranges around 25-30% depending on the clinic, by up to 50%! That is a grand jump. Often women get pregnant naturally before ART procedure dates, which then saves them a lot of money. This isn’t the rule, but it is common. Ultimately, spending the extra money on a program using ancient TCM practices in combination with modern FM ideals may be just what you need to realize your fertility goals. My advice is to schedule a free 15 minute consultation with me to learn more so you can make an informed decision, right for your situation.
When in my cycle can I start working with you?
You can start at any time during your natural, IUI, IVF or donor egg cycle. During the initial consultation I learn details of your health history that help me design a Fertility Plan just for you and discuss how to implement the protocols.
Can you help women over 40 become pregnant?
I help women over 40 regulate their cycles, but there is no guarantee you will become pregnant. The most important thing you can do to improve your chances of pregnancy success over the age of 40 is to increase blood flow to the reproductive organs, reduce stress, support your overall health, and support your body in balancing reproductive hormones. Being over 40 is a challenge given you are entering the perimenopausal years which means hormonal shifts are happening, your eggs are also 40 years old and will need extra energy support, and no doubt there are issues with many aspects of your health that also needs reworking. So your body needs support to reverse or slow the aging process to manage your reproductive health in order to improve the possibility of becoming pregnant.
Do you work with women throughout their pregnancies?
Do you use acupuncture to induce labor?
This is one of the major highlights of my career! I enjoy helping pregnant women prepare and trigger labor. I generally only do this once she is full term or slightly past her due date. Most of the time labor begins a few hours after the first treatment. Sometimes minor contractions begin during the treatment. And sometimes women need two or three treatments within a day or so of each other to stimulate a comfortable delivery. Whether labor is triggered by acupuncture or not, the women are helped to feel much more relaxed and at ease which will inevitably help with delivery.
The treatments entail a combination of therapies: acupuncture, moxibustion, and sometimes TENS. Each treatment is about an hour.
Are your treatments useful for male infertility issues?
Male fertility issues account for an estimated 40% of fertility struggles for couples. This is a staggering statistic that is unfortunately not addressed as often as is warranted. Most attention is focused on the woman’s health rather than also on the man’s. Men have cycles too, but for sperm development, and they are about 3 months long. Men’s cycles are simpler to manage than for the more complicated cycles of women, and men generally respond quite well to acupuncture, herbs and nutrition once they are on board with needing treatment.
I work with men with testicular issues, vasectomy reversal, autoantibodies, and much more. Like with women, I learn their health history, design a Fertility Plan for their individual needs and help them implement it. I like 3 months, if possible, to improve sperm production and help with their overall health, but can still help if given less time. Often I see men, with or without fertility troubles, just before their partner’s ovulate to help them relax and boost circulation to the reproductive organs. I can help men boost their sperm health prior to cryopreservation of the sperm as well. Many times I have women call me on behalf of their partners to discuss their issues. Ultimately it needs to be the man’s decision to pursue treatment to naturally boost sperm health. I am happy to have a free scheduled 15 minute consultation with them on the phone or in person to determine if this line of treatment is a good fit for them.