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IVF vs. Acupuncture and Herbs (kind of long)


Forum: Trying to Conceive with Medical Assistance

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  #1  
September 17th, 2010, 01:25 PM
Jenn in DC's Avatar Super Mommy
Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: Washington, DC
Posts: 953
After reading some people's posts on here about doing acupuncture during their IVF cycles, I decided to look into it myself. This morning I had my first appointment with an acupuncturist who specializes in fertility issues. She seemed really great. We talked for about an hour about all of my symptoms and past treatments and at the end she said that she thinks that I am a very "straightforward" case and that all of my symptoms point to the same thing - what she calls "tired blood." She basically thinks that I am somewhat anemic (which my bloodtests have always shown but no doctor has ever done anything about) and that my blood needs to be "re-energized." She thinks that I need to eat more protein (I am vegetarian and I know that I don't get enough protein) and take some supplements to help promote good blood flow. All of this makes some sense to me and I am going to make the changes that she suggests.

But here is the interesting (and confusing) thing for me - she seems very confident that I can get pregnant without IVF if I just make these changes to "improve my blood." She said that because my RE has never found any medical reason why I haven't conceived (I have unexplained fertility) and because all of my symptoms point directly to "tired blood" all I have to do is change my diet, take some herbal supplements, and do some acupuncture. She seemed very excited about this and kept saying that she thinks she can really help me get pregnant.

So here is what I am trying to figure out - is it worth it to put off IVF for a few months and try this instead? Should I just start moving towards IVF like I planned but do this on he side? My insurance covers my acupuncture treatments and I can get up to 23 more before the end of the year. Insurance does not cover IVF (which will be $20,000 up front - eek!). So acupuncture is definitely the cheaper option.

I really want to believe that there is a chance that I could have a baby without IVF but I also don't want to end up wasting a few months for nothing! Am I just being silly and getting my hopes up that this could be another answer because I am just so desperate for there to be another answer? Or is there a chance that this could acutally work? I'm confused... Anyone have any experience with herbs and acupunture for infertility?
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My History
Jenn in DC=39 DH=48
Started TTC #1 July 2009
Summer 2010 - Three IUIs with Clomid & Gonal F - All BFNs
Winter 2011 - IVF Clinical Trial. Cycle Cancelled.
March 2011 - Minimal Stimulation IVF #1 - 2 eggs retrieved, fertilized and frozen on Day 3.
April 2011 - Mini-IVF #2 - 2 eggs retrieved, fertilized and frozen as expanded blasts on Day 5.
May 2011 - Mini-IVF #3 - 4 eggs retrieved (two mature and 2 immature), one egg made it to blast and was frozen. Five snowbabies in all!! Hysteroscopy.
July 2011 - Single Frozen Embryo Transfer. BFP and then miscarriage

November 2011 - Single Frozen Embryo Transfer. BFP!! Aven Robert Born on August 4, 2012

July 2014 - Got Pregnant Naturally with Twins! Miscarriage at 9 weeks.
November 2014 - Single Frozen Embryo Transfer. BFP!
Beta #1 12 DPO = 45
Beta #2 14 DPO = 118
Beta #3 21 DPO = 3,451
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  #2  
September 17th, 2010, 02:09 PM
KMH KMH is offline
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I have no experience with acupuncture or herbs, but I think I'd give it a shot! I'd be scared to spend $20k on IVF if you are anemic and need more protein...sounds like this would be an excellent way to get yourself in tip-top health, and then if you don't get that BFP naturally, you'll be 1000% ready for IVF!
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  #3  
September 17th, 2010, 02:23 PM
MommytoaMiracle's Avatar Platinum Supermommy
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I would try acupuncture for a couple of months, for sure!
The price difference is phenomonal! If it ends up not working, you have wasted a couple months, yes, but if it works, you would have SAVED $20k!!
I know you will make the right decision for you!
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  #4  
September 17th, 2010, 02:50 PM
hollann1984's Avatar Mega Super Mommy
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i would try the acupuncture for a few months and if not then i would go with the IVF with the acupuncture. I hope it works jenn
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  #5  
September 17th, 2010, 03:00 PM
Tammyms's Avatar Platinum Supermommy
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I've been doing acupuncture myself for about a month now and they say their success rate is higher than IVF and they too specialize in fertility. They actually seem more knowledgeable about PCOS than any of my docs and really take everything into consideration! I mean as you know, they ask about everything, and note every little change! They love seeing my charts and focus the treatment based on where I'm at in my cycle. If you go back and look at all my charts, I usually have quite a few days of spotting, I'm 14DPO and just now at 3pm is my first day of spotting and I expect AF will be here tomorrow. That's a huge improvement!!!

Keep in mind, it can take a few months to see results, but like you, I'm really scared to spend so much money on IVF and then it not work We're doing IUI this cycle, but obviously a much cheaper option than IVF!

I say give acupuncture a go, especially if it's covered by insurance! It's so neat how much they can tell about what you're going through from your pulse and tongue, and everything they have told me and I have researched, my symptoms all coincide! Plus, I love having a belief in something, it's important to be able to hold onto hope!
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  #6  
September 17th, 2010, 03:05 PM
~*Jackie*~'s Avatar Platinum Supermommy
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Location: The Land of Infertility
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Wow that's very interesting! I've been looking into acupuncture myself, although haven't made the step forward.

I think trying for a few months and then perhaps moving on to IVF in conjunction to it would be the way to go. Most clinics are very supportive of doing acupuncture along side of IVF, so if you do end up needing IVF, I think it's probably better that you've been doing all of this "prep" beforehand.

Good luck with your decision!! I hope you don't need to try IVF down the road because you get that BFP beforehand!!
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Our TTC journey: 6 cycles Clomid, lap surgery/ D&C, IUI, 2 x IVF; 33 cycles- BFN.
IVF#1 (March 2010) Transferred two 8-cell grade A (perfect) embies- BFN and heartbroken.

IVF#2/FET#1 (Jan/Feb 2011):Transferred two (7&8 cell) grade A (PERFECT) embies- BFN again.
March 2011- February 2012: On BCP due to endometriosis.

March 2012- taking a few months off of BCP and we are TTC naturally.
We will re-evaluate another IVF w/FET try in 2013.



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  #7  
September 17th, 2010, 03:35 PM
Angel_Maker
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I am currently taking herbs and have been ovulating all by myself for a few months....I did IVF and got so DH and I are still paying that off....

I think it's worth it to take her suggestions and see what happens....think about all the great things you could do with $20K after the baby gets here
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  #8  
September 17th, 2010, 04:00 PM
Jenn in DC's Avatar Super Mommy
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Location: Washington, DC
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Thanks ladies! Your comments are very helpful. I'm glad to hear that some of you have been seeing some positive results from acupuncture and/or herbs.
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My History
Jenn in DC=39 DH=48
Started TTC #1 July 2009
Summer 2010 - Three IUIs with Clomid & Gonal F - All BFNs
Winter 2011 - IVF Clinical Trial. Cycle Cancelled.
March 2011 - Minimal Stimulation IVF #1 - 2 eggs retrieved, fertilized and frozen on Day 3.
April 2011 - Mini-IVF #2 - 2 eggs retrieved, fertilized and frozen as expanded blasts on Day 5.
May 2011 - Mini-IVF #3 - 4 eggs retrieved (two mature and 2 immature), one egg made it to blast and was frozen. Five snowbabies in all!! Hysteroscopy.
July 2011 - Single Frozen Embryo Transfer. BFP and then miscarriage

November 2011 - Single Frozen Embryo Transfer. BFP!! Aven Robert Born on August 4, 2012

July 2014 - Got Pregnant Naturally with Twins! Miscarriage at 9 weeks.
November 2014 - Single Frozen Embryo Transfer. BFP!
Beta #1 12 DPO = 45
Beta #2 14 DPO = 118
Beta #3 21 DPO = 3,451
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  #9  
September 17th, 2010, 04:56 PM
KDD's Avatar
KDD KDD is offline
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I go for acupuncture for migraines. Since I started treatment (about 8 years ago) I've been able to go off my Rx migraine medication. I didn't do it for infertility (because mine doesn't specialize in that) but I often wonder if I should have tried it. I say go for it - it may not help -but it certainly won't hurt. And it may relax you (which anyone going through IF needs).
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  #10  
September 17th, 2010, 08:27 PM
LindseyandJoeinAL's Avatar Mega Super Mommy
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Posts: 1,615
I don't know much about accupuncture, but I know it's fairly expensive, so it's awesome that your insurance pays. I think if I were in your shoes, I would give it 2-3 months max. That could be exactly what you need and then you could avoid IVF altogether. You also aren't wasting too much time or money in the meantime. I look forward to your BFP post!
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Lindsey - 38
Joe - 46
TTC baby #2

lap surgery Apr 2010 stage 2 endo removed
IVF #1 BFN 11/2010
IVF #2 BFP! 12/2010
Wonderful, sweet daughter Khloe born August 2011
FET #1 - Oct 2012 BFN
FET #2 - Dec 2012 BFN
2nd lap surgery Dec 2012 stage 1 endo removed
IUI Apr 2013 cancelled due to producing 10 mature follicles
IUI June 2013 BFN
IVF #3 Sept 2013 BFN
IVF #4 Nov 2013 BFP! on 8dp3dt
Expecting boy/girl twins 8/1/14

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  #11  
September 18th, 2010, 02:43 AM
Jessie0505's Avatar Finally a Mommy!
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totally agree!! we have been talking about it..but like Lindsey said..if insurance covers it..go for it! good luck!
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  #12  
September 18th, 2010, 12:09 PM
Laurenj915's Avatar Mega Super Mommy
Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: South Florida
Posts: 2,747
I did accupuncture and herbs for a few months this past winter. I didn't have any luck with it but I have a friend who did (with twins to prove it). Now I know our problem is sperm motility so I guess they could have done all the accupuncture on me in the world and it wouldn't have made a difference.

I think you should try it out. I actually enjoyed the sessions and I learned all kinds of stuff. I can knock out a headache in about 2 minutes with the pressure points they showed me.

Good luck!
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  #13  
September 18th, 2010, 12:28 PM
Sarah:Marie:IVF:Mommy's Avatar Proud mom of Leiland
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I don't think I would put off IVF, HOWEVER I was always told that acupuncture is more effective when started a couple months before IVF. Couldn't hurt to give it a couple months.
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  #14  
September 18th, 2010, 12:42 PM
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I hope that you don't get upset by me saying this, but it's something I wish someone had told me. Given your age, I would not wait. The stats for successful IVF decrease after age 35, then 37. Everything I've read indicates that for acupuncture to truly be successful, treatment of six months is necessary. For me, that's a time lapse I wouldn't want to take. Instead, I would do acupuncture and IVF .

I did acupuncture on and off the last two years, but went twice a week for the two months before this IVF and twice a week during it and it was the first time I had great embryos and got pregnant... I'm not sure if that was the magic, but I can't help but think it helped.

Again, I hope that doesn't upset you! Best of luck with whatever you decide!
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September 2009 IVF - BFN; November IVF -Ec topic Pregnancy; May 2010- IVF cycle- BFN,
July 2010 IVF cycle: BFP - m/c induced at 8 weeks because of no heartbeat
March 2011 IVF: BFP!!!
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  #15  
September 18th, 2010, 12:57 PM
Mega Super Mommy
Join Date: Jan 2009
Posts: 2,149
I just want to add that I hardly ever suggest rushing into ivf. If you are just going to try three months of acupuncture and then move on to ivf, that's one thing. But I wouldn't take six months. Does that make sense? Also you should check with your doctor to see if he would make you be off the herbs for a certain amount of time before starting stims.
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September 2009 IVF - BFN; November IVF -Ec topic Pregnancy; May 2010- IVF cycle- BFN,
July 2010 IVF cycle: BFP - m/c induced at 8 weeks because of no heartbeat
March 2011 IVF: BFP!!!
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  #16  
September 18th, 2010, 01:58 PM
Angel_Maker
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Great points Addie!
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  #17  
September 19th, 2010, 01:19 PM
Jenn in DC's Avatar Super Mommy
Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: Washington, DC
Posts: 953
Thank you all again for your input. Addie - of course I'm not upset with you for expressing your opinion!!! Just the opposite - I really appreciate and value your opinion! I don't think that I can wait 6 months either. DH and I have been talking about it this weekend and think that we may try it for 2-3 months and see how things go.

Again - I really, really appreciate all of your advice and opinions!
__________________
My History
Jenn in DC=39 DH=48
Started TTC #1 July 2009
Summer 2010 - Three IUIs with Clomid & Gonal F - All BFNs
Winter 2011 - IVF Clinical Trial. Cycle Cancelled.
March 2011 - Minimal Stimulation IVF #1 - 2 eggs retrieved, fertilized and frozen on Day 3.
April 2011 - Mini-IVF #2 - 2 eggs retrieved, fertilized and frozen as expanded blasts on Day 5.
May 2011 - Mini-IVF #3 - 4 eggs retrieved (two mature and 2 immature), one egg made it to blast and was frozen. Five snowbabies in all!! Hysteroscopy.
July 2011 - Single Frozen Embryo Transfer. BFP and then miscarriage

November 2011 - Single Frozen Embryo Transfer. BFP!! Aven Robert Born on August 4, 2012

July 2014 - Got Pregnant Naturally with Twins! Miscarriage at 9 weeks.
November 2014 - Single Frozen Embryo Transfer. BFP!
Beta #1 12 DPO = 45
Beta #2 14 DPO = 118
Beta #3 21 DPO = 3,451
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  #18  
September 19th, 2010, 08:47 PM
Tammyms's Avatar Platinum Supermommy
Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: Edmonton AB, Canada
Posts: 6,451
Just wanted to say I totally agree with Addie! My acupuncturist is sure they can get us pg if they treat me (PCOS) and DH (MFI) for 3 to 6 months without the help of an RE. However, our RE wants us to do Clomid and IUI this cycle (in 2 weeks will be our first! ) and we're going ahead with that along with the acupuncture. I don't think I could give it 6 months, THEN IUI so I'm in agreement with trying for a short time and maybe doing it in conjunction with IVF I'm almost 34 and DH is 39 in a few days so age plays a huge role in our decisions as well!
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  #19  
September 20th, 2010, 07:06 AM
Platinum Supermommy
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Posts: 8,103
I haven't ever tried it but have thought about it on and off. I hope that you figure out a plan that you are confident in!
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