In my time treating couples and individuals with fertility issues, I find that people often find it hugely helpful to hear about the experiences of others. This is why case studies and testimonials are so helpful. They allow people going through this process, to feel less isolated and alone, and give new clients a real understanding of what to expect from acupuncture treatment and how it might be helpful for them.
Thank you to the British Acupuncture Council and Amy Ewing & Lewis Stedman for providing this case study for us to share, and for the British Acupuncture Council member in the Midlands, who provided the acupuncture treatment. Please scroll down to earlier news articles, to read about the experiences of my own clients, or read some of the accounts included on my fertility page.
After two years of trying to conceive naturally and failing, we plucked up the courage to admit to ourselves that something was not right and that we had to seek medical advice. It still took another year for us to actually go to the doctors and explain our concerns. When we were struggling to conceive, we felt like people had pity on us. I’ll never forget as we both sat in the waiting room bickering about who was going to speak first once the doctor had called us in. I mean, what do you say?
As it was, the doctor was fantastic and very supportive, immediately referring us to the head of infertility, Mr Randall, at Peterborough Hospital. Meanwhile, my bloods were within range and as I had previously had a positive laparoscopy, they knew that they had some other conditions associated with subfertility ticked off the list already.
Despite this, I was convinced the problems of subfertility were due to me, not my partner of ten years. Within two months of seeing the doctor, my partner was called for a sperm sample at the hospital. When the results came back they said they had noticed some irregularities, and that they wanted another sperm sample from him in three months to compare.
The second sample showed the same results and our problems were diagnosed as subfertile due to a low sperm count. The size, shape and function of his sperm were all confirmed as normal, it was just the count that was low at just 0.3 million. As the cause was determined, we were referred for assisted reproduction and offered, under Lincolnshire NHS guidance rules, one attempt of medical treatment.
Brief outline of acupuncture treatment
The chances that IVF would work for us were low. As we were approaching the start date of our medical treatment, I had researched everything I possibly could, because if we were only going to get one shot at this, I was determined that I had to give it my absolute best shot. This could change our lives one way or another.
I came across how acupuncture could help, and although financially it was going to be a struggle to afford it, we came to the conclusion that we could not afford not too!
I met with a member of the British Acupuncture Council for my first consultation and was impressed with her knowledge on the process and commitment to helping us. I’ll never forget how relaxed I was after my first acupuncture session, something so key to me as one of my concerns throughout was how would I deal with the stress of IVF?
I arrived at the clinic for my acupuncture treatment with the most horrendous period pains, like nothing I had ever experienced before or since. It was my period after down regulation and it was truly awful. However, following acupuncture treatment, I left the clinic like a new woman! I had acupuncture treatments when I was down regulating, and when I was stimulating to grow my eggs, pre and post our transfer and a few days later.
At CARE Fertility in Nottingham, I had four eggs collected, three of which were mature and all three eggs fertilised with my partner’s sperm. Two embryos made it to three days old. As it was hard to choose which embryo to select at day three, the embryologist decided to go to blastocyst stage. On day five we got the awaited phone call to come into theatre and have our one strong blastocyst transferred, which was to change our world…
I often look back and wonder how on earth I would have got through our IVF treatment without acupuncture and would our outcome have been the same? Suffering from subfertility all those years had made me feel lonely, broken, hurt. A failure. Acupuncture calmed, relaxed and re-energised me.
Outcome of treatment and what this means to you?
To our delight, the outcome was that all of our treatments resulted in a positive pregnancy.
We were over the moon, as were the rest of our families who had seen just how much our subfertility had affected us.
At 37 weeks pregnant, I delivered a perfect, beautiful baby boy via planned C-section due to breech presentation and pre-eclampsia. He weighed 6lbs 4oz. We named him Toby Jack, the names I had planned for years, but was convinced we would never be able to use. We were besotted with him.
Toby is absolutely perfect, a dream come true for us. We are finally a family. Life with him around makes us so happy, and we all feel complete. The lingering pain that being subfertile caused us has gone.
I highly recommend acupuncture to anyone I now meet who is having IVF because I truly believe it helped to make the difference for us between an unsuccessful and successful outcome. There were also many other benefits of acupuncture. My acupuncturist was patient, knowledgeable, professional, sensitive and caring. It was so useful for me to have someone to chat my problems over with, who knew the procedure and gave me useful advice to follow.
Full access to the case study can be found here.
Charlotte Green provides acupuncture to clients from throughout Lancashire and beyond. Patients travel from Preston, Chorley, Leyland, Blackburn, Darwen, Burnley, Blackpool, Lancaster and beyond. Contact her if you would like more details.