The emotional side of IVF is often underplayed. As a fertility acupuncturist who works with many couples undergoing IVF, I can easily see why the process is often described as an ’emotional rollercoaster ride’. Much of the brunt of this is carried by the woman as the treatment cycle looms, but it can be challenging for both partners.
Whether you are undergoing your very first cycle or your fifth, you will have invested heavily (both financially and emotionally) and your future is linked intrinsically to the result. On top of this, the drugs you have been prescribed seem to be specifically formulated to take you out of your carefully constructed comfort zone. You feel hot at night and just a little nauseous. Good intentions go to the wall.
There’s also the prospect of injecting yourself with a frighteningly large needle, and making sense of the seemingly impenetrable medical jargon and numbers. Ten follicles, grade B, down-regulation, stimulation, OHSS and so on!
And if all this isn’t enough, you read that stress can negatively affect the outcome of the treatment! What should you do? What can you do?
This is one area where many people have found fertility acupuncture to be a great help. You may have come across some of the recent publicity during acupuncture awareness week, which illustrated the benefit that acupuncture can bring to dealing with stress and improving general well-being (http://www.introducingacupuncture.co.uk). Aside from any direct effects on your fertility (such as regulation of hormones and improving blood flow to your uterus and ovaries), many of my patients undergoing IVF report that it helps them with the side effects of the medication and puts them in a good space mentally. In the words of three of my patients:-
‘I just wanted to say thanks for being the calming influence that you were’.
‘My stress levels reduced quite noticeably which was great. We are expecting twins’.
‘Martin came highly recommended. He treats the ‘whole person’ and I found this way of breaking down a problem into manageable, bite-size pieces, extremely helpful. I actually felt better just from the consultation. To be ‘listened to’ and ‘understood’ is so refreshing. Thoroughly recommend you give it a try’.
I strongly believe that a key part in the work of any fertility acupuncturist is to be a sympathetic ear. Acupuncture treatment points such as gateway to the heart, greater stream, storehouse, inner frontier and palace of weariness can help you to feel in control and make your IVF cycle something special. And all this is underpinned by individual treatment tailored to your specific needs.
Martin Dean, The Acupuncture Fertility Centre
Call 07 969 413158 for an appointment.