Acupuncture: continue or quit?


#1

Hi Ladies,:cheer:

I started acupuncture a year ago for 4 months then stopped for 4 months and started back in September, going every week. It costs us $440 per month. My dh is not convinced we need to spend that money now, especially since I have a $11,000 bill for medication plus another $2500 due when we do our next IVF (insurance only covers 75%).

So do I (a) stop going, (b) cut down or © just do it pre and post transfer?

We have been ttc for almost 2 years. I have 6 flailed IUI’s and a failed IVF due to DOR and age.

Alicia.


#2

I am a huge fan of accupuncture. However, I think if you are trying to save money, then the only time it is proven to be beneficial will be right before and after transfer. How often were you going? Perhaps you can cut down just while you are stimming and then just go pre and post transfer. Lots of luck to you!


#3

[quote=sunrisec]Hi Ladies,:cheer:

I started acupuncture a year ago for 4 months then stopped for 4 months and started back in September, going every week. It costs us $440 per month. My dh is not convinced we need to spend that money now, especially since I have a $11,000 bill for medication plus another $2500 due when we do our next IVF (insurance only covers 75%).

So do I (a) stop going, (b) cut down or © just do it pre and post transfer?

We have been ttc for almost 2 years. I have 6 flailed IUI’s and a failed IVF due to DOR and age.

Alicia.[/quote]

What are you trying to achieve with the acupuncture? It has little or no benefit in IVF. Perhaps it makes you feel better?


#4

There have been some studies that show electro acupuncture can improve the blood flow to both the uterus and ovaries, therefore enhancing your chances of fertilization. There are also studies that indicate an increase in pregnancy rate when doing acupuncture on the day of embryo transfer. With that said, I think you would need to find an acupuncturist with infertility experience, otherwise, I wonder if it is going to be effective if not done properly?

AFM, I have spent thousands of dollars on acupuncture and supplements in the last year. After 3 failed fresh IVF cycles and 1 failed FET I have decided to ditch it all. I’m at the point where I wonder if there was a benefit for me or not? With my next cycle I feel like I need to just try going without all that. I never did acupuncture just to “relax” I did it because I thought it would help with my egg quality and help with implantation during ET. This time, I’m gonna spend my money on massage and mani/pedis…! lol. Just my opinion. Do what you think works best for you and good luck.


#5

There are indeed some studies that found a benefit. There are also studies that found no benefit. Some studies found a benefit with the placebo (sham) treatment.


#6

Most of the studies on acupuncture are small because unlike with medications, there is no drug company with millions of dollars to gain from a large-scale study. The results of the studies that have been done definitely vary. But to flat out say that “acupuncture has little or no benefit” is not based in fact. Given that it’s a practice that’s survived for thousands of years, my inclination is to say that there is some benefit, but again, the small studies that have been done have had mixed results. That being said, you should do whatever your budget necessitates, and if that means you have to give up acupuncture, that’s okay! Wishing you luck!


#7

It has little or no benefit [I]in IVF[/I]. That is based on meta-analyses. Meta analyses are summaries of the published results.

For example:

A systematic review and meta-analysis of acupuncture in… [BJOG. 2008] - PubMed - NCBI

This one summarized all 13 trials available at that time, and found no benefit from acupuncture in IVF for improving the clinical pregnancy rate.

A meta analysis has a formal criteria for the studies it will include. That one included all randomized trials up to that point, which are the best kind of studies. This generally gives meta-analyses the most credibility, more than an individual study and more than an informal summary of arbitrarily selected studies.


#8

I appreciate everyones information. My RE’s office called today with the results of my Doppler. They said that my uterine aterial pressure was too high and suggested no caffeine (which I have already been doing) and 4 weeks (2 times a week) of acupuncture.

I used acupuncture before I was diagnosed with Cushing to help me relax and it was the best 40 min of my week and did help.

I guess my thought on all of this right now is, I know it can’t hurt so why not do it. In the end I dont want to have any “what if’s” hanging over my head if our cycle doesn’t work. We are completely self pay and only have one shot at this. I have faith in my RE… but I have to admit if the man said it would help me get pregnant if I waxed his car, I would wax every car in the parking lot for good measure.


#9

[quote=armywife78]
I guess my thought on all of this right now is, I know it can’t hurt so why not do it.[/quote]

I also doubt it hurts anything.

… but I have to admit if the man said it would help me get pregnant if I waxed his car, I would wax every car in the parking lot for good measure.

The maternal instinct is strong.


#10

I did it with my first IVF which was successful and with my 2nd which was not. I’ve been pregnant on my own with no acupuncture at all. While those both ended in miscarriages, they were chromosomally abnormal which acupuncture may or may not have had any impact on anyway.

I think that if it helps promote relaxation, go for it. This was true for me the first time around. The second time around, it was a lot more expensive and it was a real pain getting to the appointments and arranging child care. I think it actually caused me more stress.

If we do IVF again, I’m not going to worry about adding it in. At the most, I may go the day of the transfer.

This last miscarriage was a total surprise pregnancy. I was running, drinking wine and coffee, eating a healthy diet and doing a great job of managing my stress. I was finally in a good place and at first thought this was going to work out. I’d finally found the answer.

After all this time, I’m at the point now where I believe much of this is completely out of our hands and out of the hands of our doctors. We can certainly do things to help us get there, but in the end how it all happens and comes to be remains the mystery of life. This last pregnancy and loss has taught me to let go of controlling it. Running didn’t stop or impede implantation. Having sex didn’t keep the embryo from implanting. Drinking coffee? Made no difference. Supplements? I wasn’t taking any except a prenatal, metformin, vit D and fish oil. I took hot showers, carried my three year old around and cleaned the house with regular old cleaning supplies. I got pregnant anyway - while it wasn’t successful, I’ve had crappy eggs for a long time and have done EVERYTHING under the sun to change it. I did have one successful IVF, and my son is a true miracle. He was one of 14 embryos and by day three, 11 had fallen apart and three were not great. We transferred two and none froze. I believe he was probably the only chromosomally normal one out of the bunch. I was 31 at the time.

Sorry for the rambling…my point is I lost a lot of years and happiness at the altar of controlling my reproductive system and I wish I’d learned to let go a long time ago. I stopped doing things I loved (drinking coffee, running, eating certain foods, having a glass of wine) and spend so much time choking down expensive pills and taking herbs and spending money to get poked with needles. It really didn’t change a darn thing and just made me unhappier because I couldn’t control what was happening to me.

I hope you find peace and success soon.


#11

I did acupuncture intensively during my IVF and had a positive and did it less intensively during FET (just a few weeks before and during/after transfer) and also had positive. I personally believe that very skilled reproductive acupuncturists can help with certain fertility situations (like mine, endometriosis), but not all. Because a lot of men do not go to acupuncturists and some fertility issues are tied to males, I think there isn’t very clear data on how it can help. I also believe that it is very likely that some of the success is a psychosomatic reaction (and I’m okay with that too, I didn’t care, like one poster said, I would have waxed cars every day to make pregnancy feasible!).

That said, even my very western medicine RE office recently introduced acupuncture discussion groups/recommendations into their practice and believe me, prior to that time they were very negative about it. But I think they may have started to see trend with patients who had positive outcomes who said they were seeing two very specialized acupuncture specialist clinics in town and revised their opinion somewhat. They also have massage therapists, therapists and others do discussions, because I think they realize that a key factor is stress management during cycles (or maybe not even stress management, maybe just not being hyper focused on the whole process which is kind of contradictory to the whole regimen of going through an ART…be relaxed but follow this rigid schedule of shots, blood tests, ultrasounds, procedures …lol!).

But if financially it is hurting you, I would recommend focusing on just getting acupuncture during most critical times (prior to egg retrieval and/or transfer). Most fertility acupuncturists with good experience would recommend the same. For someone with miscarriage issues, it might be worth some follow up sessions as well, although not having had that problem, I am not sure whether or not that has a true impact although patients at the clinic I used swore by it.

And to be fair, my first pregnancy, I was so strict followign all the RE and acupuncture directions…my FET I did nothing like that (I drank caffeine, I drank wine, ate bad food)…and I still had healthy baby…so who knows???

Hang in there, lots of baby dust and happy holidays!


#12

Thank you all for your feedback. Like some, it is the best 40 minutes of my week. I am totally relaxed and not stressed. When I did my first IVF, my right ovary produced nothing for 11 days, so my acupuncturist did electronic stimming and I eventually ended up with a good size follie there within a few days. Having said that, I am seriously thinking of waiting till I start stimming again (February) and pre and post ER and ET. I have no idea how many IVF’s I am going to have to do this year @ a rate of $2000 a pop. Think I’ll let her know I am going to take the next 6 -8 weeks off and save myself some money.

If anyone else has any insight please chime in.

Happy holiday’s to all…:grouphug:


#13

The best study I read showed that acupuncture really helps with IVF if you do it just before transfer. There was a 17% increase in pregnancy rates vs. the control group (no acupnucture at all) and equal rates to the group that did acupuncture both before and after the transfer. There was no group that did extended acupuncture.
Personally, I would suggest you do what feels right. If you can find the money and enjoy it, then keep it up. If the money is a concern, the study I read backs you up in thinking just the one treatment prior to transfer is the most helpful Hopefully that will bring you some peace of mind.