major role and intention is to help women get pregnant
naturally. However, if you decided to use Western medical
techniques (ART) such as IVF, I can definitely help you with
TCM principles can help you prepare your body for an ART,
support you physically and mentally during and after the
procedure, and mitigate some of the difficult side effects
caused by some of the medications.
success rates for IVF procedures:
- 28% in women under thirty
8% in women age thirty-nine
3% for women age forty-four
10-20% of ART cycles have to be canceled either because a
woman has not produced enough eggs or because her ovaries
have become over-stimulated. On average, women go through
seven cycles of ART before they either conceive or quit. The
minimum cost of a single IVF is about $10,000.
Therefore, anything you can do to increase your chances of
success will definitely be worthwhile.
need to do everything possible to ensure you are hormonally
healthy before you begin pursuing pregnancy through ART. The
hormonal medications given during ART are designed to
increase your production of eggs but are not going to help
those eggs be healthy. Remember, giving birth is the goal
not pregnancy. Miscarriage rates are significantly higher
for pregnancies in which hormonal stimulation has been used.
The hormonal health prior to ART applies to men as well. The
risk of birth defects doubles when IVF procedures include
ICSI (IntraCytoplasmic Sperm Injection).
recommend my patients that they start their TCM treatment at
least three months before their ART cycle. Acupuncture and
Chinese herbal medicine can help improve dramatically the
outcome of ART in 4 ways:
- alleviate side effects of medical treatments and
improve response to hormonal stimulation.
- improve the blood flow to the uterus and
- alleviate some of the tension inherent in these
extremely stressful procedures.
- calm the uterus to prepare it for implantation.
some infertility physicians do not allow use of herbs during
the ART cycle, it is solely patients¡¯ decision and
responsibility if they want to keep utilizing acupuncture,
herbs, or both during their ART cycle.
you had a successful TCM pre-IVF treatments and I decided
your body is ready for the ART, you may be fine without any
TCM treatments during your ART. However, if you did not have
enough time (minimum of three months) to address the
underlying problems, or if I decided your body is not ready,
then it becomes your decision. Remember I said minimum
of three month. That means many patients need more time than
just three months to make their body ready for pregnancy.
are different TCM treatment protocols used for each stage of
the ART cycle. Different acupuncture points and herbal formulas are utilized in each stage. Also, there is a
¡°pre-transfer of embryo¡± protocol using acupuncture,
Chinese herbs, or both methods used only for two days (once
the day before the transfer and second in the morning of
transfer) to calm the patient and relax the uterus.
Therefore, when the transfer is being performed, the patient
is less likely to experience cramping and uterine
contractions, thus helping the embryo implantation.
When Lupron fails to down-regulate patients
undergoing ART cycles, the estrogen level may remain
elevated. They typically are not allowed to proceed with
their ART cycle. In this case, acupuncture and Chinese
herbal medicine may be able to help by stimulating points on
the Liver channel and supplementing Liver meridian herbs.
are typically two kinds of reaction after an ART procedure: despair with
failure or fear of miscarriage.
Despair with Failure
have just been through a lot of physical, mental, and
emotional stress. Whether you choose to start another ART
cycle or take a break, or even stop trying altogether,
it¡¯s very important to do everything you can do to get your
body as healthy as possible once more. If you have used ART
for more than one cycle, you should understand the effects
of hormonal manipulation on a woman¡¯s reproductive system.
Drugs that compel the ovaries to produce more eggs have a
long-term energetic effect of depleting the Kidney Essence.
It is vital to give your body a break between hormonal
cycles to recover the Kidney Essence. I recommend my
patients to allow two months or more before they try another
Fear of Miscarriage
the embryo has been fertilized and implanted into the
uterus, it is extremely important to prevent miscarriage
with IVF patients. Female patients around 40 years old
experience a miscarriage rate of nearly 50% with IVF alone.
with the help of Chinese medicine, the rate of miscarriage
can significantly be reduced and the pregnancy can be
supported to reach full term.
I usually focus on supplementing the Kidneys in all
cases of threatened miscarriage.
is no way to determine the health of your egg and sperm
unless you have had pre-implantation genetic studies
performed on the developing embryo. If you are carrying a
genetically abnormal embryo, no amount of bed rest,
acupuncture, or herbs will curtail the inevitable. If ever
you experience signs of cramping, bleeding, and low back
pain during pregnancy, you should seek help immediately.