FERTILITY CASE STUDY: Aug 01 2021
Fertility issues affect nearly every one in six couples in the United States. The American Fertility Society defines ‘infertility’ as a couple unable to get pregnant after one year of attempting to conceive without use of any contraception. Because of the circumstances most couples don’t realize they may struggle with conception until they try to start a family.
However what most people don’t realize is that the Western diagnosis of infertility is not as cut and dry as it is made to seem. Many women that have been deemed infertile by previous medical professionals have been able to conceive naturally with the intervention of acupuncture and other minor nutritional and lifestyle alterations.
Many women come to East to West Wellness center while on their fertility journey- this includes women attempting to conceive naturally as well as women using acupuncture in conjuncture with assisted reproductive therapies. Due to acupuncture’s ability to dilate the blood vessels that bring blood to the uterus, regulate menstrual cycles by balancing reproductive hormones, as well as reduce any inflammation that may be impeding conception many women see results in just three menstrual cycles and are able to conceive with consistent treatment.
One patient of ours was a healthy woman of reproductive age who had been told she had fertility issues and was unable to conceive naturally and was advised to try Intrauterine Implantation (IUI) methods of assisted reproductive therapy. This involves placing viable sperm in the womans’ uterus in order to facilitate fertilization. This is a very costly procedure that requires the woman to take numerous medications with varying adverse affects and self injections throughout the process to ensure optimal ovulation. These medications can cause abdominal and pelvic pain, depression, hot flashes, and severe bloating.
After several unsuccessful IUI cycles, this patient looked into acupuncture in order to help her conceive. Because of the various medications and hormone supplementation, this patients cycle had become irregular. Often the first step in aiding in natural conception is regulating the menstrual in order to determine the ovulation window with more ease.
Not only can acupuncture regulate the cycle, it can optimize ovulation and women can notice a longer ovulation window as well as more cervical mucus than they normally would experience during the ovulatory phase. Clomid, a medication commonly taken during IUI and IVF cycles, serves a similar purpose and hyper stimulates ovulation. While Clomid stimulates the body’s hormones, acupuncture simply restores the body’s natural balance of hormones with the only potential adverse effect being slight bruising.
This patient saw us regularly for 6 months and was able to conceive naturally without any medication or assisted reproductive therapies after they had failed her in the past. This patient did not have the typical result of conceiving in three months because of the dysregulation of the menstrual cycle from prior reproductive therapies. We specifically wanted to see this patient at the least right before her predicted ovulation in order to ensure conception. After conception, this patient continues to get treated weekly, especially for the first 8 weeks of pregnancy. Treatment of the mother to be in this time is crucial as it can help with development of the fetus’ neural tube as well as keep a steady and strong heartbeat.
Anna Craddock, Student of Acupuncture