The Ancient Art of Infertility Treatment
When it comes to getting pregnant, old world techniques may be just what today's high-tech doctors will order.
Can Acupuncture Help You? How to Tell
As good as it sounds, acupuncture is clearly not the panacea
for all fertility problems. As Dillard tells WebMD, in instances where a
structural defect exists -- such as a blocked fallopian tube or a fibroid tumor
-- acupuncture won't help you get pregnant.
Likewise, once past a certain age, no amount of tickling your
Qi is going to increase necessary hormones that have long gone out of
For this reason, many doctors recommend that you have at least
a basic fertility workup before attempting acupuncture treatment, particularly
if you are approaching, or you are over, the age of 40.
"If it turns out you have structural problem that requires
a traditional medical 'fix', then the sooner you find that out and get the
proper treatment, the more likely it will be that you can get pregnant,"
At the same time Chang tells WebMD that younger women -- those
in their early to mid-30s -- might want to consider acupuncture first, before
investing in expensive and invasive fertility treatments.
"Sometimes a few months of acupuncture will be enough to
help you get pregnant on your own," he says.
If, in fact, you do seek acupuncture treatment be aware that
not all protocols are equal.
"There is tremendous variability within the field -- with
many different techniques and a great deal of the success dependant upon how
much the acupuncturist knows about the treatment of infertility," says
Costs can also vary dramatically, ranging from several hundred
dollars to $1,000 or more, depending on how long you are treated, and who is
doing the treatment. And while many insurance companies cover the cost of
acupuncture treatments, some don't when treatment involves infertility, so
check your policy carefully.
With that said, to help you hone in on the expert that can rock
your Qi in the direction of motherhood, our experts offer the following
- Look for a doctor that is adequately trained and licensed in acupuncture,
as well as has a background in treating infertility. An MD who simply practices
acupuncture once in a while often has just several hundred hours experience,
compared to several thousand hours of training and practice required for a
traditional Chinese doctor.
- Look for an acupuncturist associated with a major academic medical
- If you are undergoing fertility treatments with a reproductive
endocrinologist, make certain that your doctor has a working relationship with
your acupuncturist, and that they work in harmony to establish a treatment
- If you are not seeing a fertility specialist, do pay at least one visit to
an obstetrician before seeking the help of an acupuncturist -- and make sure
your obstetrician is aware of your acupuncture treatment plan.
- Although acupuncture often works in harmony with Chinese herbal medicine,
if you are undergoing IVF or any traditional fertility treatment, don't take
any herbs without the OK of your reproductive medicine specialist.
- If you are undergoing an IVF protocol and acupuncture
simultaneously, once you reach the implantation stage it's imperative to
get a pregnancy test before proceeding with more acupuncture treatments. If you
are trying to get pregnant on your own it is equally important to have your
pregnancy verified by an obstetrician as soon as possible. Some of the same
points used to stimulate the uterus and increase fertility may also cause a
miscarriage -- so your acupuncturist needs to know if you are, or could be