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July 16, 2010 / Magic Mama


I had an acupuncture appointment yesterday. There have been several studies in recent years about the practice’s beneficial effects on fertility and it’s use in conjunction with IVF. This morning I googled “acupuncture,” and the top news result from just a couple days ago happened to be Acupuncture fails to boost IVF success in study. Hmmm…

I must admit, I wasn’t entirely convinced about it in the first place. I mean, I really like the idea of it and I’m quite interested in eastern and non-traditional methods. But I guess I don’t feel like I have quite enough knowledge or experience to have formed a true opinion. I had been interested in trying it in the past for my headaches, but could never justify the cost. I decided to go for it this time because, regardless of any possible skepticism, I felt like anything was worth a shot as long as we are already putting so much into it.

Acupuncture NeedlesIt was an interesting experience. The acupuncturist asked me lots of detailed questions about my health, particularly focusing on my cycle. She looked at my tongue and asked some more questions. Then she proceeded to place needles in my wrists, legs, feet and abdomen. Some just felt like a tap of pressure. Some felt like a little poke or pinch. But the one she placed in my lower right abdomen… zing! Really felt that one. Kind of felt like I hit my funny bone. I said, “Whoa,” or something like that. She pulled it out a little. It was still pretty intense at first, but then faded away.

She left the room and I laid on the table trying to hold still because there were needles sticking out of me. But the more I thought about not moving, the more I had to move (you know that feeling). When I finally succumbed and wiggled my leg a bit, one of the needles sent a zing through my shin. Okay, don’t do that again. Eventually, I was able to relax. When she came to remove the needles, we talked about a plan for future appointments. We decided that I would come once a week for community appointments (in a room with other people which makes it less expensive) and then I would have private appointments as close as possible before and after the transfer. I asked how soon before, and she said even that same morning if possible.

However, when we talked more about the estimated time frame for the retrieval and transfer (the week of August 8), she explained that she would be out of town August 10-18. There’s a good chance that won’t allow for very soon before or after. I went ahead and made a community appointment with her for early next week, but now I’m wondering what my plan should be. When we figured out that the timing was goofy, she seemed to think we could make it work and do our best, but I guess I feel like maybe she just wants my business.

I’m less discouraged by the article that I mentioned above. As the person in the comments section points out, the study has a flaw in that it only used acupuncture before and after the transfer when acupuncturists ordinarily recommend treatments leading up to it as well. And it seems there are always studies for and against things, so it’s hard to decide what to believe. I’m more discouraged by the fact that she won’t be available in the time period I need. Thinking about whether I should look for a different acupuncturist, or perhaps just cancel altogether. I am in a different situation from most IVF patients in that I’m using IVF because it’s a necessity of PGD, not because of infertility. Still I thought increasing my fertility as much as possible couldn’t hurt. Ack. I don’t know. Something I’ll have to ponder this weekend…



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  1. K / Jul 18 2010 11:48 pm

    Your experience reminds me of an episode of SATC where Charlotte can’t relax during acupuncture and she comes out of the exam room asking for “Dr. Mao? Dr. Mao?”

    I can see how it is easy to doubt yourself a lot with all of the different things you “should” or “shouldn’t” do to prepare your body for your procedure – but you need to make sure you are following your gut instinct and listening to your body. It is important to do the research, but sometimes that research can just lead to more stress! Take care of yourself, I’m thinking of you!

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