Sunday, March 29, 2009

Acupuncture Dilemma

As always I'm so thankful for all of you, my wonderful blog readers who are here supporting us and cheering us on! I honestly don't know how I'd get through all of this without knowing that there are others out there who truly "get it". You don't tell me that "it will be okay" or "it was probably for the best" or "someday I'll be a mother" (grr, that one hurts the worst). You don't ask me if we are "now going to adopt?" You tell me that you are sorry, that it sucks, and that it's not fair. You make me feel a little better in the midst of my sadness and despair. Today we're doing okay ... not good, not great, just okay. I put on my happy face and pretend for the world because when people ask me how I'm doing they don't really want to know! They want me to say I'm doing fine or preferably good, but honestly how on earth would someone who's struggled with years of infertility and who's just gone through miscarriage #5 with our wonderful surrogate be feeling? Um, to me the answer seems fairly obvious ... frickin' horrible!

So, I'm having a inner struggle regarding acupuncture. I did acupuncture for about 2 months prior to IVF #1 and continued it through the last FET I did with myself. I am a huge proponent of pre- and post-transfer acupuncture because the data is strongly in favor of it. I did it with all of my ET and K did it this last FET. However, I'm unsure of how much acupuncture really impacts egg quality and blood flow to the ovaries leading up to an ER. The data isn't very conclusive. Sure you can find some studies that support it, but in my scientific opinion many aren't very sound. Several are uncontrolled, have small sample sizes, and aren't replicated. I'm aware of all the anecdotal evidence that supports the use of acupuncture during IVF and completely agree that it helps to reduce stress, but really there are too many factors that determine egg quality (e.g., age, nutrition, stim protocol), which makes it nearly impossible to impossible to determine what's producing good results in an IVF cycle.

Now with that said I am a bit superstitious. I feel the need to do everything the same with the next IVF cycle that I did with the first that resulted in 8 blastocysts. I'm having my TSH tested tomorrow to ensure that it's between 1-2 because that's where it was at when I did IVF #1 (I have mild hypothyroidism and take Synthroid). Additionally, I am planning to go back on metformin again and plan to eat a diet high in protein during stims. Also, I will start doing guided imagery and meditation again. My problem is whether or not to do acupuncture again? If my health insurance covered it and we didn't pay out of pocket, I'd do it for sure. It costs me $65/week out of pocket on top of everything else related to IVF that we pay for out of pocket. I won't go into the details of all of those costs, but any of you who've done IVF can attest to the exorbanent costs associated with it! Suffice it to say that J and I have spent somewhere around $40,000 on IF stuff over the past 4 years and we are not rich!

So, I'm wondering if you did acupuncture during your IVF cycles, specifically leading up to ER, and what impact you think it had on your cycle. I'd love to hear from those of you that did it one cycle and not another. I'd like to hear if the results of your ER were any different in terms of # of eggs retrieved, # embryos created, the quality of those embryos, and resulting ET results.

This Thursday I have my post-IVF follow-up appointment with Dr. S. I'm anxious to hear what he has to say, but I can probably already predict it. I'm hoping that I'll have the pathology test results back from the miscarried embryo, so we can chat about what that means. My guess is that Dr. S will stick to his hypothesis that my uterus is sub-optimal, which resulted in me having early, severe PE and recurrent miscarriages, and that this miscarriage with K's perfect uterus was the result of bad luck (i.e., just happened to transfer an abnormal embryo). Even if it was "bad luck" it still sucks and was/is horrible for K and her family to have to go through.

9 comments:

Duck said...

Hard choice, I did acupuncture and prep for 6 months before the last IVF, but, I think everyone is different and you have to do what works for you (i did not get any blasts). Sounds like you have some good eggs anyway, so maybe no need for acupuncture? AFM I'm a big proponent of lots of healthy things for both of us leading up to IVF, and we are both on a regiment of supplements (and I admitedly do feel healthier when taking them). I too believe in more protein leading up to transfer, which is hard for me because i'm not too big on eating protein. Well it's a balance, and I'm doing all of it because I need to not have regrets (it's important for my sanity).

Just Me said...

Good Luck with your appointment.

Have you ever heard of DHEA, Maybe ask your RE. It is a supplement.

meinsideout said...

I did it for my first two and not my third - my RE said my eggs looked great for all three - but #retrieved was 3, 9 and 6 respectively and she said my embryos were all the same quality.

That being said - I did not get pregnant the third time and I am kicking myself for not doing acupuncture before and after the transfer.

N said...

I did it two cycles out of six and it made absolutely 0 difference for us. I believe the acu helps people that have certain problems with blood flow, etc., but that it's not a catch all solution for people outside of those issues.

Erica said...

I don't have much insight to offer yet. I am starting my stims on Friday and this is my first cycle using acupuncture. I can compare it for you once (or if) I get to retrieval with my 1st cycle.

Lots of luck with your decision. BTW - what's the deal with eating more protein while stimming? I've never heard about that one...

sara said...

I'm sorry that I don't have any good advice about the acupuncture and IVF. I didn't do it with our IVF cycle, but my friend has done it with both of her cycles. She's batting 2 for 2. Regardless, I just want to wish you the best of luck with your appointment and I hope that the week ahead is a good one...

Sheri-ct said...

I dud acu for years. While it did help with stress and I really believe it helps pre/post transfer, it didn't make a difference at all for me. I had a few cycles with a better response, but the eggs were just as crappy and/or immature. I was also self-pay and decided to start saving my money.

Someone mentioned DHEA. Please do not take this without discussing it with your doctor. I took it and it elevated my liver enzymes. It is only helpful if your DHEA level is low (there is a saliva test that you can do).

Sheri

Bluebird said...

I have no advice or knowledge of this whatsoever :), but always take advantage of the opportunity to let you know that I'm thinking of you.

Wewurtskihit said...

M did acu and believes it was partly responsible for us having Tayleigh. It DID relax her a lot!!

Canb it HARM? i doubt it. So if it cant harm then whats the harm, right?