Do you hope to one day have children, but fear waiting too long will affect your fertility and ability to conceive? But first my journey and my hope for you. As an acupuncturist specializing in infertility treatment, I know firsthand after my journey of ups and downs. My story includes IVF, multiple transfers, an ER visit and surgeries. I can personally relate to you. I had an emotional and physical roller coaster, but I have two beautiful boys who are two years apart.
As you probably know, the longer you wait, the more difficult it may be to become pregnant. This is due to each woman’s individual egg reserve. At birth, the ovaries contain a finite number of eggs. Over time, this number slowly decreases at a steady rate.
Unlike the first half of the twentieth century and all centuries prior, women are no longer expected or urged to marry and bear children before the age of 30. In fact, this once “common practice” would be considered contradictory to today’s social norms and it would also be politically incorrect. Instead, many women choose to pursue a career, wait until they find that perfect someone to settle down with, or they just want to spend one-on-one time with their partner or spouse before they bring another life into this world.
But how long is too long to wait? Each woman differs. Ten percent of women will fall under the category “Low Ovarian Reserve” by the time they reach their 30s and 25% of women will meet this criteria by the age of 35. It is commonly known that the rate of conception steeply drops off somewhere after the age of 35. So how do you know how quickly your biological clock is ticking?
The easiest and best way to determine your ability to conceive is by completing a “Fertility Profile” assessment test. This test will accurately estimate your egg reserve, as well as detect underlying problems that may also affect your fertility and therefore require fertility treatments. Best of all, this assessment test can be completed in our office.
1. Follicle Stimulating Hormone (FSH) test: Blood is drawn and tested on the third day after your period begins. The results are based on a number scale that will indicate whether or not your egg reserves are decreasing. If your test results are a nine or lower, this is a very good sign. However, if you receive a higher number, you may require fertility treatments to conceive.
2. Anti-Mullerian Hormone (AMH): This is also a blood test, but unlike the FSH test, blood for this test can be drawn on any day of your cycle. If the results of this test fall below the 1.0 range, you should consult your doctor regarding alternative methods for conceiving.
3. Antral Follicle Count (AFC): This tool is the best indicator of where your egg reserve count actually stands. To perform an AFC assessment, ultrasound is employed to count the number of maturing eggs in both of your ovaries. To achieve the most accurate results, an AFC should be done between Day 3 and Day 12 of your cycle. Again, this assessment is based on a number scale. Results of 12 or higher means your egg count is normal and you have a few years left to become pregnant. Now, it is important to note here that this is not a guarantee, but it is a fairly accurate prediction.
4. Semen Analysis: This test can be a touchy subject for many men, but it is important to find out if either of you have fertility issues or could likely become infertile, especially if your plans of having children are far off. While your partner may be reluctant to have this test performed, assure him that it can be ordered by any doctor and that he will privately collect the sample himself. Once the sample is brought into the lab, the sperm will be analyzed to determine the amount produced, as well as the number, movement and quality of the sperm.
5. Hysterosalpingogram: While the name of this test may sound rather long and complicated, the test itself is rather simple. A hysterosalpingogram is used to determine if there is any blockage or structural abnormalities that may prevent the sperm from reaching the egg. This test is performed at a radiology center and consists of inserting a thin tube into the uterine cavity. Dye is then injected and recorded by X-ray. It is important to identify any of these problems as early as possible so your physician can begin a treatment plan for you.
If you dream to conceive, contact our office to learn more about your Fertility Profile referrals and how you can get started on the road to pregnancy today by way of safe and effective acupuncture for fertility by itself or in conjunction with MD reproductive specialists. For more information, click here.
About Acupuncturist Dr. Stefanie M. Bennett, LAc, Ph.D. – Holds both a master and one of the few in the area with a doctorate in acupuncture and Chinese medicine, plus two diplomats. She has completed additional training in functional medicine, fertility, herbal medicine, and applied clinical nutrition. She has been practicing in Fountain Valley and Huntington Beach for over 13 years. Dr. Bennett also serves many people from Newport Beach, Costa Mesa, Irvine, Laguna Beach, Newport Coast, Tustin and Orange County. She can be reached at 714-962-5031 and new patients are welcome.