The Infertility Process

Starting Acupuncture

Because our first egg retrieval was such a failure and we got a loan to cover the next round of IVF treatments, we decided to optimize our chance by adding acupuncture.  I’ve heard numerous women’s stories of how acupuncture helped them get pregnant so I thought it was worth a shot. Thankfully, there are local acupuncture clinics that specialize in infertility and women’s health issues.  What was super special about the clinic I chose was that they went to California IVF to perform acupuncture before and after embryo transfers instead of rushing all over Sacramento.

I started in mid-July when we met with the doctor at California IVF (I will talk about that in my next post). My first appointment was super long because they went through my health history including non-infertility stuff.  They went over Andrew’s sperm analysis and health history. Then there was the acupuncture session which was super relaxing. Then they went over supplements they suggested I take, including Acai, turmeric curcumin, vitamin D, etc. (I cleared all supplements with the infertility doctor and he added even more.)  

I went to acupuncture once a week for a while but as my egg retrievals approached, I went twice a week for a special protocol.  The regimen included 2 types of treatments. I would usually go Monday or Tuesday and have a normal acupuncture session. Then, I would lay on my stomach so they could insert needles in my lower back and both calf muscles.  They would attach electrodes to the needles and send an electrical pulse through them. They start low and increase it until it was at the highest setting I could tolerate. I would lay there for about 30-40 minutes. I would return on the following Thursday or Friday and have another sessions with just the needles and electrodes.

I have to admit it was pretty uncomfortable – the electrode sessions, not the normal acupuncture.  I was able to handle it well at first but after a while, it took A LOT of willpower to keep going. I kept bargaining with myself and offering myself small treats for going.  I know it sounds childish but please remember I was also pumping my body full of hormones.

When we took a break after the last egg retrieval, I went back to once every week.  We took a break to let my body heal from doing two fairly aggressive egg retrievals back to back.

Skip to my second embryo transfer, I had issues with my lining at my lining check.  My lining was too thin measuring a 6 and they wanted it at least a 10. I called the acupuncture clinic semi-frantic and they told me they had a special protocol and I prayed that it did not involve electrodes.  Thankfully, it didn’t. They got me in twice between the time I called and the next lining check. In two days, my lining went from 6 to 11 so whatever they did along with the extra estrogen the infertility doctor prescribed helped me to move on with the embryo transfer.

Unfortunately, the first two embryos didn’t result in a viable pregnancy and I couldn’t afford to keep paying for acupuncture.  I’m not at saying they didn’t help because I believe it did. I just couldn’t continue to justify spending that kind of money every week as I was coming to the realization nothing would help get me pregnant.

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