August 26, 2010

Question of the day

Posted in Alternative therapies, Infertility at 2:00 pm by lifebytheday

To all of my fellow IF-sufferers, but specifically those who are pregnant or parenting post-IF, did you do anything non-(Western)-medical that made a difference in your successful cycle?  Chinese medicine, supplements, special diets, old wives’ tales??

As most of you know, I’ve done everything from acupuncture and herbs to no gluten/no dairy/no sugar…but nothing seemed to help.  I just don’t want to feel like I left anything on the table with this last cycle…


  1. Ashley said,

    I did nothing. Honestly, sometimes I think it’s just pure luck. Like how do people who have done IVF 3 times get pregnant naturally? I don’t get it. With everything else that we did, I always did acupuncture, herbs and a special diet. With IVF, I didn’t do any of those things. I just wanted to pretend like it wasn’t anything special so I ate what I wanted, drank what I wanted, and didn’t pay my usual $120 a week in acupuncture fees. The only thing I will swear by is a morning shake with berries and a supplement of Green Protein 8-in-1. It made my body feel so good!

    Oh wait, I did do one old wives tale. I ate steak and pineapple everyday night starting about 3 days past transfer. I’m sure it had nothing to do with anything, but I read it, and I liked those things so I tried it.

    I am really rooting for you and hoping this is it!

  2. Kelly said,

    I didn’t do anything but a good friend of mine who recently went through IVF (and is pregnant) did acupuncture and thought that it really helped. She thought maybe it wasn’t necessarily the acupuncture directly, but the fact that acupuncture helped with her stress level.

  3. I did acupuncture. I have no idea if it helped me get pregnant, but I am sure it helped with my anxiety level. I went once a week for a month or two before doing IVF, twice a week during stims, and twice on ET day (before and after). I worked with a practitioner with a particular interest in fertility ( and who describes herself as “more western-oriented,” so I didn’t feel like she was going to try to talk me out of doing IVF or anything.

  4. Melody said,

    Here from LFCA. It’s not exactly non-medical, but I did an aspirin/day + lovenox. I had two failed IVFs (second one ended in chemical pregnancy), and after that my RE did immunological work-up. Diagnosed with alloimmunity– basically my body treats sperm and developing embryo like its cancer and attacks it. IVIG was out of the question– too expensive, so we tried aspirin and lovenox and one last ditch IUI, and it worked. I’m convinced that far more women have immunological issues than know it and that this is the cause of a lot of unexplained infertility.

    Anyway, my dose of lovenox (hep is also an option and cheaper) was very low– not even therapuetic, and my RE basically said, “Can’t hurt, might help.” It was based on research he’d been involved in (not shitting you) dealing with organ transplant rejection. I don’t know if the blood thinner somehow weakens the body’s immunological response or what. Might be worth asking your doc about.

    And sorry if this comes across as ass-vice. I read your last couple of posts, and I recognize the malaise you describe. Its a bad place to be, and my heart is crying out for you. Sending you light.

  5. Jendeis said,

    Here from L&F. I did acupuncture (but also did that during unsuccessful cycles) which I did find helpful. Both times we got pregnant, it was about a month or so after completing a detox diet – no gluten/sugar/meat/dairy/caffeine, etc. (I’m way overweight, so if you’re not, this might not be a factor).

    The thing that I think was different (and I’ve thought about this a bunch during this pregnancy) is that I was way more physically active (shovelling snow) during the 2ww than I had been during our BFN cycles and the cycle where I had a chemical pregnancy. It just felt so good to be outside and shovelling that I just kept doing it. Maybe that made the difference, maybe not.

    I so hope that you get your BFP on this cycle.

  6. emk808 said,

    When I was doing IUI and IVF, I had acupuncture done weekly as well as before and after my IVF transfer. I also was doing chiropractic every once in a while and while TTC before starting fertility treatments I did Chinese herbs for a few months.

    After the twins were born and was considering TTC, I started taking Femaprin and Evening Primrose Oil. I got pg 3 months after starting the Femaprin. It was a total miracle as I had never gotten pg w/o treatments before. I *highly* recommend it!!

  7. (Also here from LFCA) – I did acupuncture with both my IVF cycles; the first one was ectopic, the second one a success (31w pregnant at the moment). I really do think it helped. I went once a week for about a month before the cycle, had sessions before and after the transfer, and then 1 session during the 2ww. If nothing else, it certainly helped with my stress.

    I also took grapeseed pills for several months before my second IVF. I wasn’t willing to take any other herbs – I have some skepticism about that, especially combined with IVF drugs – but my acupuncturist recommended it for ovarian health, and since I was a relatively poor responder (got 8 eggs the second time around, 5 the first) I was willing to try it.

    My own feeling is that the best thing I did was take about six months off between those two IVF cycles. The break did me a ton of good emotionally, and I think it did physically as well. Even though I’m not super young (37), my doctor suggested the break and I think it was a big part of our success.

    Good luck to you!!

  8. I should have added that I chose an acupuncturist who specialized in fertility. At first I went to a more ‘general’ one, but I didn’t get the feeling that he really understood the complications of treatment. If you can find one who specializes, I think it makes a huge difference. My RE had one at their practice, but I found one a little closer to home and work and really liked her.

  9. sonja said,

    I did acupuncture twice a week during my 2nd IVF as well as before and after my transfer. I also took royal jelly twice a day to try and improve my egg quality. I also used a hypnotherapy CD throughout that cycle, with special parts to listen to before and after transfer (visualization/relaxation). I played it on headphones during my acupuncture. Finally, not really different but I did do total pelvic rest the day of transfer and the next day. Not sure if any of this was the reason for my success, but we now have quads. If you have any questions, feel free to leave a comment on my blog or email me!

    Best of luck to you, I hope you get your BFP!!


  10. sonja said,

    P.S. I forgot, I also ate pineapple (not a ton, just some) for a couple days after transfer. Some people say this is good, others say it isn’t … also not really sure if this is useful!

  11. Mrs.X said,

    I did acupuncture for a while before IVF #2. Didn’t do anything.

    For IVF # 3, I only did it after the transfer. Did it make a difference? It certainly helped me relax which might have made all the difference since number 3 was the lucky charm.

  12. Pie said,

    I did acupuncture before my 2 most successful IVF cycles. Started about 1 month before stims, and stopped right before ER. I also did acupuncture to prep for FET. CCRM actually tests (using doppler u/s) uterine blood flow, and requires acupuncture for those with decreased blood flow. While I did not fall into that group, I do think acu helped in many ways, including increasing blood flow (and therefore the absorption of meds i was on) to my ovaries and uterus, and I also think it relaxed me and kept the stress hormones at a minimum. i highly recommend acu!!

  13. Kacy said,

    I did something truly American. I stopped doing all that stuff. Just felt like I couldn’t keep up with it all and it was hurting us more than helping. And now I have a ton of whole wheat terrible-tasting noodles to get rid of!! Sorry I couldn’t be more help.

  14. babysmiling said,

    Here from LFCA…
    I did acupuncture and herbs for years, and they helped regulate my cycle but never led to a BFP, even in combination with IVF and other treatments.

    The decidedly non-medical thing I did which led to a successful cycle, in a cycle that wasn’t supposed to work, was a “healing.”
    I still don’t know if I really believe that it did anything, but it’s either that, or just trying enough treatment cycles until one finally worked, that led to my twins. I would never endorse any other “healer” like that, and I still don’t even know that I could endorse this particular person, but in seven years nothing else worked, and then this did. Who knows.

    Whatever you do, good luck to you.

  15. Orodemniades said,

    I did nothing. Well, I did a lot of gardening, and reading, and sleeping, and wine-drinking, and general “relaxing”. As much as one can “relax” before and during ivf. Also, I wasn’t working, so wasn’t faced with seeing teh babies every. single. day. Like in my last job. With the 4 pregnant women. Not that I’m still bitter.

    4 years later.

  16. I have endometriosis and a very retroflexed (tipped back) uterus, so during IVF retrieval in June and FET last week, I did weekly acupuncture and weekly arvigo massage after reading about it in Mothering magazine –

    I looooove coffee but I had no problem switching to decaf back in May before IVF. This was my first IVF cycle and due to the endo, the doctor felt that it would be better to freeze my babies and do FET a couple months later. I don’t think that’s necessarily standard protocol, but I’m hoping it’s worked!

    I just had my transfer last week and I did stay in bed on my back for 3 days. I could have gone back to work immediately but my job requires me to be on my feet and is a bit stressful, so I just took three sick days with a doctor’s note. I needed to feel like I did everything I could to help my embryos stick.

  17. Bree said,

    Here from LFCA

    The three times I got positives was when I was having acupuncture done, so that must have helped me. I also followed my acupuncturist’s advice to increase my oxyticin in the hours after the IUI. (“Have a big old ‘love fest,'” she recommended. It was awkward when she asked, quite seriously, how that went. “Um, fine,” I mumbled, not expecting the direct follow-up.)

    Since my two early losses seemed to be attributed to poor implantation (per my RE), I tried everything I could to encourage strong implantation in the TWW. I took baby aspirin, ate tons of pineapple, bought Egg McMuffins, and focused on getting lots of protein.

    In the end, I think it was the acu and the oxytocin that made the difference. The whole sticking-around thing was mostly luck.

    Speaking of luck… good luck to you!

  18. betttina said,

    Stage 4 endometriosis, two laparoscopies, six months of Lupron, two surgical draining of endometriomas, IVF at age 30.

    During the IVF, we went organic with our soaps and shampoos and things. I’m not sure it matters, but I liked knowing that I wasn’t using extra chemicals on my body.

    I did acupuncture during IVF egg retrieval to boost egg production and it worked really well. As they were knocking me out, my doctor said he only needed one egg, because I had bad anti-mullerian blood test results and wasn’t making many eggs, despite huge doses of follistim. He was happily surprised to get 12!

    We froze all 8 surviving embryos for a couple months and during that time, I rested as much as possible and really focused on getting rid of the endometriosis and recovering from the egg retrieval and surgeries. I saw a physical therapist for arvigo massage. It hurt a LOT to have her rubbing all my endo and scar tissue in my gut but I noticed an almost immediate improvement in endo symptoms.

    Before embryo transfer, I did more acupuncture. I stopped the arvigo massage after transfer.

    Due to the endo and some auto-immune issues and blood-clotting issues (antiphospholipid antibodies and antinuclear antibodies) I was on heparin, prednisone and baby aspirin for the pregnancy. I was on progesterone and estrogen for the first few weeks.

    Baby is 18 months old and she is wonderful. I am still nursing her, which is also helping the endometriosis to not be terrible. I don’t have very bad cramps anymore (when they used to be excruciating before pregnancy) but it hurts for a week when I ovulate. I am hoping for a freebie baby/natural pregnancy but we’ll see.

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