According to the Centers for Disease Control, 10.9% of all reproductive aged women and 6% of married women of the same age are unable to conceive after one year of trying. Many couples struggling with infertility have found success in fertility acupuncture. Often times, this success has come without the use of medical assisted reproductive techniques (ART). However, when combined with techniques such as in vitro fertilization (IVF), practitioners have seen a dramatic increase in the ability for couples to become pregnant. If this is the route you choose to take, know that not all acupuncturists are the same. Let’s take a look at four criteria to research before scheduling an appointment with a fertility acupuncturist.
When visiting any type of practitioner, experience is key. To ensure you choose the best acupuncturist for fertility treatments, look for an acupuncturist who specializes in fertility acupuncture. A focus in this area normally means the acupuncturist has thousands of hours of experience under his or her belt.
Dr. Bennett takes experience to the next level as she herself is not only a fertility acupuncture specialist, but Dr. Bennett is also a successful IVF patient. In fact, through the use of highly effective fertility acupuncture and the help of an excellent fertility MD specialist, Dr. Bennett was able to conceive not once but twice. Dr. Bennett’s personal journey combined with her many years of educational and clinical fertility experience sets her apart from other fertility acupuncturists. She understands your journey, as she too almost lost hope, but it happened for her and it can happen for you.
Does the fertility acupuncturist also practice fertility integrative medicine? When a patient feels his or her traditional medical doctor is not properly diagnosing a concern or providing the right treatment, the patient often begins searching for an alternative medicine practitioner. However, a traditional medical doctor should not be written off completely. Instead, the patient should look for an integrative alternative medicine practitioner who views health both traditionally and holistically. These practitioners are considered “integrative” because they work closely with traditional medical doctors to co-manage the patient’s care. When you seek treatment from an integrative alternative practitioner, you won’t feel forced to choose between traditional and holistic medicine. Instead, you may find adding non-allopathic fertility medicine to your ART produces the best results.
Dr. Bennett worked side-by-side daily with MDs from an internal medicine clinic for the first 10 years of practicing acupuncture. She continues to receive many referrals from board certified reproductive medical specialists, and pain management, internal, and family physicians. Dr. Bennett also receives referrals from multiple other providers who see the benefits of acupuncture and functional medicine and believe co-management is critical to providing fertility patients with the best care possible.
Once you have found an acupuncturist with both training and experience, it is important to test the waters. Interview your practitioner and ask detailed questions to determine his or her level of knowledge of fertility treatments. Be ready to discuss the fertility treatments you are currently receiving and any methods you have tried in the past. When you feel like the practitioner has a firm understanding of your unique situation, ask him or her how they are able to help you. He or she should be able to clearly explain several ideas and options that pertain specifically to you.
A good acupuncturist understands that not all conditions, such as infertility, are best treated with alternative medicine. Some conditions such as fibroid tumors and fallopian tube blockages should be referred out to Western doctors and acupuncture should only be used for assisted healing.
Regardless of your medical concerns, your fertility acupuncture practitioner should collect information regarding all of your medical conditions, your symptoms and any prescription medicine or supplements you are taking. When you become a patient of Dr. Bennett’s, she will conduct a thorough intake in order to provide care catered specifically to you. Dr. Bennett will co-manage your care with your MD’s and if you have one, your reproductive MD. She believes keeping an open dialogue with your medical providers or your medical reproductive specialist is the best way to ensure you receive the treatment that best benefits you. Dr. Bennett will handle all of your case management needs and make calls to your doctor(s) with updates. Dr. Bennett is what we refer to the “doctor’s doctor,” treating many local MD’s, their families and their patients.
When it comes to starting a family, fertility acupuncture is a highly successful treatment option for many couples when used alone or in conjunction with infertility treatments such as medical Assisted Reproductive techniques and protocols. To receive the best outcome, it is imperative to choose the right fertility acupuncturist for you.
If you have any questions or you are ready to schedule a consultation, please call Dr. Bennett at 714-962-5031.
Also, read about infertility and fertility treatment here.
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.