Acupuncture and IVF

Sarah

Last year my husband and I were refused IVF treatment by a respected fertility clinic, on the grounds that a routine blood test had revealed my FSH levels were well over those acceptable for IVF. In conventional medical terms, the opinion was that, at 42, I was approaching early menopause and there was no treatment available to help.

I’d already begun a course of pre-IVF acupuncture with Olivia, and was all set to cancel any further sessions when she explained how effective a combination of acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine could be in restoring and balancing female hormones. Just as importantly, she saw that I had been through an extended period of stress which could have been the cause of my fluctuating hormones. Olivia’s advice was to combine fortnightly acupuncture with a carefully selected balance of Chinese herbs and to make some changes to my diet and lifestyle to help reduce and manage the stress levels. We decided to try this for three months, and then to repeat the blood tests at the clinic.

The clinic had done such a thorough job in convincing me there was nothing I could do to improve my chances of having another baby that, at first, I wasn’t convinced that any form of alternative treatment could help me. However, once I’d started Olivia’s plan, I quickly began to feel so physically and mentally well that it was clear the treatment was having some sort of fabulous effect on my well-being so I carried on until the repeat blood tests. This time the tests showed my hormone levels were back to normal and the IVF clinic, who were bemused by the changes, agreed to go ahead and treat me after all!

To the astonishment of everybody concerned, apart from Olivia, the first attempt at IVF was successful and I became pregnant with my longed for second child at the age of 42.

For me, there is no question that without Olivia’s careful, professional help, I wouldn’t be pregnant today.

DM and AM

I had read many articles about the benefits of acupuncture and IVF. This was our forth (and final) attempt at IVF following unsuccessful cycles over a period of about seven years. I was getting older and the money was running out and so my husband and I decided to give it 110% and do everything we could to increase our chances.

I ‘found’ Olivia through the British Acupuncture Council and first spoke to her a few months prior to starting my treatment with her and the subsequent IVF cycle. She spent time speaking to me on the phone about the process, what she knew about the benefits of acupuncture during IVF and her many experiences. By the end of the call, I knew that she was the one: she knew her subject matter and had relevant experience to prove it.

I started my treatment 3 months prior to the IVF commencing. Olivia gave me advice on healthy eating according to traditional Chinese theory and she would check my progress normally on a weekly basis, along with carrying out the acupuncture treatment according to the pattern of my menstrual cycle. She always made me feel comfortable and in safe hands. What I also liked about Olivia is that when a session was not necessary, she wouldn’t hesitate to suggest skipping it to the following week.

As luck would have it, I am now 14 weeks pregnant and I am convinced that the acupuncture had everything to do with it. Even if it had not worked for my husband and me, I know that Olivia did everything within her control to give us the best chance possible to prepare my body for IVF. My husband and I will forever be grateful to her.

Nicky (age 41 – mother to twins after three and half years of trying)

I originally came across Olivia when I had been recommended an acupuncturist in Cobham, Surrey. Olivia was working from the practice and because of the days of the week that she worked tying in with my schedule and also her expertise with Chinese herbal medicine, I ended up seeing Olivia exclusively.

I had been having IVF treatment due to blocked tubes and also PCOS for approximately one and half years and in that time had had three attempts at full IVF. To add to the problems I had over-stimulated (OHSS) during the IVF treatment and had twice ended up being hospitalised with OHSS. I had previously had acupuncture with another clinic.

Once my treatment had started with Olivia I found she was keen to tackle every aspect of my fertility and immediately started me on a course of Chinese Medicine to clear any blockages and prepare my body for more IVF treatments. I had fortnightly acupuncture sessions and Olivia constantly reassessed how my body was reacting to both the medicine and the acupuncture.

Things stepped up when I started the IVF treatment and a great emphasis was made by Olivia to keep the OHSS under control and increase stimulation etc as much as possible. I had weekly visits to the clinic for acupuncture.

After egg collection the first signs of OHSS returned and Olivia stepped up the number of visits I had for acupuncture to keep the fluid moving and under control and I really feel this is part of what made the difference to this last cycle. On the day of embryo transfer Olivia attended the clinic with me so that immediately after transfer she was able to apply the acupuncture needles to help my uterus accept the embryos and keep the OHSS again at bay.

My whole experience with Olivia was an incredibly positive one, not only did I get pregnant with twins that are now 11 days old but I really felt that she did everything in her power to make it happen. She was always at the end of the phone or email to answer any questions and fit in appointments at short notice. I truly believe that I wouldn’t have got pregnant without Olivia’s help. I am forever in her debt.

Sue

My husband and I had decided to have IVF treatment following 6 months of tests at our local hospital as we had been trying to conceive for 1 year. I was 40 and my husband 35. I had gone into various websites to see what I could do to give myself the best chance of the IVF working. One thing I came across was to have Acupuncture. I again researched this on the Internet and came across Olivia’s practice which was local to me. I started going to Olivia before I started my treatment which was recommended.

Olivia was very thorough at my first appointment finding out everything about my lifestyle, including exercise eating habits etc. She also wanted to know about all my tests I had had at the hospital and the results. She gave me lots of advice on what to eat and stay healthy throughout my treatment. I went for acupuncture every other week and each time I went Olivia again asked how the treatment was going asking about how I was progressing at each stage. Olivia would explain exactly what she was doing at each session.

When I was due to have my embryos transferred she recommended I had a session before and after the treatment, this had to be done by the resident acupuncturist at the clinic. Fortunately for me the IVF treatment worked and I have recently given birth to twin boys….I continued to have treatment up until my 12 weeks scan

I cannot stress how much support Olivia gave me throughout the treatment, she always showed a great deal of interest in my progress and I still keep in contact with her now on the progress of the boys.

I have recommended Olivia to a friend and would suggest to anyone who is undergoing fertility treatment to think about trying acupuncture as for me I feel it contributed to the success of the IVF treatment.

A.P.

In 2007, my partner was diagnosed with a lymphoma, which required powerful chemotherapy treatment. I was 41 years old and we had only decided in the preceding year or so that we wanted to try for children – rather late, I know. Apart from all of the other obvious implications of the diagnosis, it was also no longer going to be possible to conceive naturally because my partner would become infertile as a result of the treatment.

I went blindly into my first IVF/ICSI cycle, not really appreciating what was involved, placing myself into the hands of the fertility unit of the hospital where my partner was being treated. I was too busy worrying about my partner and my father (also being treated for cancer at the time) to investigate what I could be doing to improve my statistically slim chances of conceiving by IVF.

Following the failure of that cycle, I decided to be more proactive. I consulted an IVF specialist from one of the top London teaching hospitals with a renowned fertility clinic. He seemed to be a traditionalist in his approach to fertility treatment, so I was very surprised when he recommended that I try acupuncture. He said that there was scientific evidence to show that acupuncture improved the chances of conceiving and having a successful pregnancy.

I was given the details of Olivia’s practice and contacted her.

I found Olivia to be professional yet friendly, calm, thorough, knowledgeable and reassuring. Even though I had never previously contemplated using Chinese medicine, I felt totally at ease, safe and not at all apprehensive about the treatment.

Olivia asked questions about my lifestyle, diet and how my body generally functioned. She also wanted to be kept informed about the progress of the IVF cycle “hormone levels etc.“ so that she could adapt the treatment accordingly at each session. Olivia explained what each treatment session was trying to achieve, e.g. to improve egg quality (vital given my age), to improve blood supply to the uterus, etc.

I found the acupuncture itself to be very relaxing and very effective for shutting out external stresses. I felt relaxed and positive after each treatment. I genuinely feel that it helped me a lot at a very stressful time of my life.

More importantly, I have become pregnant twice since discovering acupuncture, at age 42! The first time, I had excellent eggs and embryos, but, unfortunately, the pregnancy was ectopic, which sometimes happens. Only three months later, however, I became pregnant again. I am now past my first trimester and hoping to have a healthy baby in the summer when I will be 43 years old!

I would have no hesitation in recommending Olivia and would now be willing to try acupuncture for other purposes as well.

Mrs H

After years of trying for a baby fertility tests eventually confirmed that we were going to need ICSI/IVF. Knowing that often more than one cycle is needed, we were anxious to do all that we could to increase our chances for conception and acupuncture seemed like a way forward. I received treatment prior to the ICSI/IVF to get myself in the best possible condition and then again throughout the actual fertility treatment. We conceived on the first cycle! I have no doubt that the acupuncture contributed to our success. I felt in great shape mentally and physically both before and throughout the treatment and had a better understanding of my body and how it works. Thank you Olivia for your sensitive and thoughtful treatment you really helped us to remain clam and relaxed throughout a very stressful period. Our baby boy brings us so much joy thank you.

Leah

Olivia was recommended to me by a friend when my husband and I were experiencing problems conceiving. I knew nothing of acupuncture – apart from that it involved needles – and was somewhat skeptical before making my first appointment, wondering how it was going to help with my particular problem. However, when I arrived at Olivia’s homely clinic, I was soon put at ease by her friendly yet professional manner as she asked me questions about my life and explained the procedure of acupuncture and how it works. Olivia showed empathy for my plight and offered advice on how to increase my chances of conceiving in conjunction with the treatment.

I will admit that I wasn’t able to relax entirely during my first visit, despite the comfortable surroundings and conducive music, as I was not sure what exactly was happening. However, I noticed a marked difference at my second appointment when I found myself relaxed almost to the point of sleeping! I fell pregnant shortly afterwards and took great pleasure in contacting Olivia with my news. I would certainly recommend Olivia’s services and would go back again myself should the need ever arise.