“If we remain obsessed with seeds and eggs, we are married to the fertile reproductive valley of the Mysterious Mother, but not to her immeasurable heart and all-knowing mind.”
– Hua Hu Ching
My Advanced Training in Fertility & Functional Medicine
There are certification programs out there which will tell you that an Acupuncturist who has not taken one of their programs is not really well trained in fertility, that they are just a generalist. That’s hogwash. Many of us have many hours of advanced training but may have chosen not to sit for an expensive exam. Some of us have training in Functional Medicine, which when combined with fertility work, is a superior pairing. I have many hours of advanced training in reproductive medicine, biomedicine, pregnancy, postpartum, and worked with Reproductive Endocrinologists in LA for over fifteen years. I have done probably hundreds of on-site acupuncture sessions, pre-and-post embryo transfers, in the RE’s offices. So my practical experience with ART is very hands-on.
It Takes Two to Tango
Maybe you have been told that statistically the odds are stacked against you because you are 40 years or “God forbid” older, or you have a history of PCOS or endometriosis. Or perhaps you haven’t had a regular cycle in ages, or maybe not even a period at all for a long time.
Traditional methods towards conception include fertility drugs like Clomid and invitro-fertilization (IVF), which can be not only expensive, but doesn’t address the real reasons why you are not getting pregnant. Conception happens in a state of balance. If you have health challenges or basically don’t feel well, are highly stressed, it’s more difficult to conceive. Also, if either you or your partner are overweight, it makes it 50% more difficult to conceive.
The good news is that there are other less invasive and less expensive ways to approach fertility, which have excellent track records when it comes to helping many couples conceive and carry healthy babies to term. I look at fertility through the lens of both Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), and Functional Medicine. This means it IS possible to conceive, despite statistics, if you start with a healthy body/mind, and we identify the root cause of infertility and make a commitment to natural ways of treating, including acupuncture, herbs, supplements, changes in lifestyle, and therapy if needed.
How I Go About It
If you ask any Acupuncturist, they will tell you that the process can take from three to six months ideally, and even longer in some cases. So be prepared to make a commitment. First, I order specific and very targeted testing so that we aren’t just guessing. Western doctors do not do most of this testing, although it’s state-of-the-art. They generally will run a CBC, TSH, AMH and FSH. That’s all. They base their best guess on these few tests. Doesn’t give you nearly the information you need. Many do not even run a current semen analysis. While sperm doesn’t entirely address fertility (I consider the general health of the partner), it is a gauge. If the sperm is inadequate (sperm parameters have declined dramatically in the last ten years), then you must address this too. But western medicine has little they can do to treat this so they seldom bother. But acupuncture, herbs, supplements and diet and lifestyle changes can really shift this.
• DUTCH cycle mapping
• Genetic testing (MTHFR and clotting disorders)
• Comprehensive Metabolic Profile
• Complete thyroid panel including thyroid antibodies (autoimmune), Free T3, Free T4, etc.
• Partner semen analysis
• Partner CMP
• Food sensitivities, which can create autoimmune inflammatory reactions and wreak havoc on your hormones (I don’t always test for this)
• Salivary cortisol test because adrenal issues can divert a precursor to an important pregnancy hormone into the production of cortisol instead
The goal is to regulate your menstrual cycle foremost, balance hormones, reduce stress, and increase blood flow and oxygen to the ovaries. We are striving for really good quality eggs here! Much of this is done with acupuncture, herbs and supplements. And naturally we look at your food. I believe that food is medicine, so if you need to lose a few pounds, now is the time to do it. I recommend clean, organic, unprocessed, whole foods.
If you are preparing for an IVF cycle, it’s recommended that you begin acupuncture at least three months in advance. This way we can use some herbs and supplements which may not be used once you start IVF. You want to be sure to get a really good head start. I also invite your partner in for a consult and continued treatment. Remember that fertility is 1/3 female, 1/3 male, and 1/3 environment. I prefer to treat couples if your true desire is to conceive. I also specialize in treating same sex couples, as well as male factor infertility.