If you are a woman seeking help with fertility related issues, naturally or assisted, there are certain times during your cycle that we like to see you.
Generally speaking, the most important times to have acupuncture are:
- During the follicular phase - day 5, 6, 7 or 8 of your menstrual cycle (day 1 being the first day of heavy flow)
- The day before, day of or day after ovulation (as indicated by your LH surge)
- During implantation time (6 - 10 days after ovulation).
This works out to be approximately once a week except when you are menstruating, so most women should be receiving acupuncture treatments roughly three to four times per month.
If there is something more significant going on, like lining issues for example, your acupuncturist may want to see you twice a week until it is properly addressed. However, the majority of the women we treat fall into the once a week category.
If you are going through an IVF cycle, it is best if you can start acupuncture 6 to 8 weeks prior to transfer. The most important times to have acupuncture are the same as above, however, once you begin your stimulation medications you may be seen twice a week depending upon information gathered from your ultrasounds.
In an ideal world, we would like to begin seeing you 3 - 4 months prior to conception/transfer so that we can help with egg quality, work on any cycle or lining irregularities, address any nutritional concerns, and help reduce stress. If you are going through IVF, FET or DET we are also working to prepare you for your transfer.
If you are considering acupuncture, we encourage you to get in for your initial visit as soon as you can. That way you and your acupuncturist can develop a treatment plan that best suits you, even if you don't start the treatment plan until later. Getting that first appointment under your belt also allows you the opportunity to determine if acupuncture is right for you and if it is something you want to continue to pursue.
Your initial visit will take 1 1/2 - 2 hours. During this time you will meet with your acupuncturist who will talk with you about acupuncture and what to expect, as well as your specific situation. A treatment plan will be established, and you will have your first treatment.
Your treatment will consist of acupuncture, there may be some heat therapy, there will be some light massage, and we may incorporate relaxation and visualization techniques to help get you into a deep state of relaxation. Our technique is specifically designed to get you out of your "fight and flight" mode so we can encourage blood flow to the internal organs.
Subsequent visits take 1 - 1 1/2 hours depending upon your individual treatment protocol.
If supplementation or herbs are warranted, they take time to work, so beginning earlier is best. Even if you decide to wait to start acupuncture, don't wait to start supplementation. It takes 3 - 4 months for an egg to mature. If you can get started on a good quality preconception formula 3 - 4 months prior to conception/transfer, your eggs are going to have the opportunity to grow and mature in a nutrient rich environment. Our experience is that women who supplement their diets with appropriate amounts of vitamins and antioxidants typically have embryos with less fragmentation.
While we do treat men and women who are trying to conceive naturally, our specialty is working with people who are trying to conceive through assisted means. If you are going through an assisted fertility procedure such as Frozen Embryo Transfer (FET), Donor Egg Transfer (DET) or In-Vitro Fertilization (IVF) and would like to have acupuncture during your transfer, please let us know. Our acupuncturists have done more than 2,000 IVF transfers and have been working with San Diego's elite Reproductive Endocrinoligists and their staffs for over 15 years.