Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Past, Present, and Future

The Past: I had my WTF appointment today. The results of IVF 1.3 are that my response sucked and my egg quality sucked (paraphrased and summarized by me). None of my embryos ever looked good and although 4 of my 5 eggs fertilized, only 2 fertilized normally (which was not shared with us during the cycle.)

The Present: I had acupuncture yesterday. I really liked the acupuncturist alot. I felt sort of lukewarm about the treatment. I was really jazzed about going. It made me feel like I was doing everything possible to make my next cycle a success.

My RE is not anti-acupuncture, but basically is of the opinion that if it feels good do it, but don't do it to improve IVF outcome. Now I am less jazzed about acupuncture and wondering if it is worth the time and money. (opinions and sharing of experiences welcome!)

The Future: We are planning on doing another IVF cycle. Our RE seems to think that based on my age (32 on Thursday) there has to be one good egg in me and we just have to find it. We feel like another IVF cycle is the fiscally logical option. We still have some insurance coverage for IVF, but no financial assistance for donor egg or adoption. If we had the option to take the insurance money and apply it to donor egg or adoption (where our chances of parenting would be higher) I would probably do that. However, our RE has hope and the money is there so we will keep putting one foot in front of the other.

Next up is an estrogen priming protocol or estrogen antagonist protocol...I can't remember anymore. I am to call when I have my next period. So this is a call to all my EPP sisters out there. What should I expect?


Anonymous said...

Here's a study that UMD did about acupuncture & IVF: http://www.umm.edu/news/releases/acupuncture_ivf.htm
They found that acupuncture within one day of transfer increased odds of pregnancy by 65% over no treatment or sham acupuncture. That's huge!

My first acupuncturist was one of the contributors to the study - how I found him actually. I always found I responded better to Five Elements acupuncture - my whole body responded, and it was obvious to me after treatment how much better I felt.
But I never did it in conjunction with IVF, just to help regulate my cycles and for stress.
Hope this helps a little :).

Michelle said...

I have never done acupuncture but I really have never heard anything bad about it. I have been thinking about doing it myself. I have my fingers crossed for your next cycle.

Chelle said...

I have never done that protocol, but the acupuncture, DO IT!

I would sooner go to my acupuncturist than my PCP anymore. My RE swears by acupuncutre too. At every appointment he would ask, "are you going to acupuncture?"

I agree with callmemama that there are several studies that have shown that it increases the odds of success. Here is a link to my RE and the articles and studies he's done:

Hoping AF shows her ugly head soon so that you can start your next cycle!

lcams08 said...

I did acupuncture and it really worked for me! Not only did it make me feel a lot better it did awesome things for my cycle!

Anonymous said...

I did acupuncture weekly for both of my IVF cycles and after each transfer. While I can't prove that it helped the IVF work (it didn't the first time), I can prove that it helped my stress levels and it was something I looked forward to every week.

Anonymous said...

Here's to hope for the next time! :-D

Melissa Griffin said...

Does your insurance cover PGD? I know someone who had quite an issue with egg quality but they did PGD and were able to find hteone egg that was good quality and she is now pregnant...??? Just a thought...

EEMiles said...

acupuncture is one of those "unknown" type of things (IMO)...
It deals with energy and meridians and that isn't something everyone agrees/believes in.
I myself am a supporter of this type of medicine. And why not do what you can to increase your chances!

Elizabeth said...

Hi -- I'm a supporter of acpuncture too; I used it in my IVF cycle and was successful. Who knows if acpuncture was part of the reason or not. I was incredibly lucky; I know that. I read and was really moved by a book by Randine Lewis; it describes case after case where acpuncture seemed to make a difference. I'm sure it's not a silver bullet and it can't fix all ills and all that but, I guess, my idea is: why wouldn't you, especially if you liked it. Best to you!

princessoftides said...

The studies suggest some correlation between acupuncture and IVF success rates. It is by no means a magic bullet, but it does supposedly raise your odds.

I hope EPP is your magic bullet! I've heard of a lot of women for whom it did the trick. 'Course I'm not one of them, but that's neither here nor there especially since I am a full ten years older than you.

Basically with EPP you start supplementing with estrogen (usually pills or a patch) towards the end of a cycle (they'll give you a specific day). It suppresses your natural production of FSH, which prevents your ovaries from developing a lead follicle too early in the next cycle. Sometimes they also add in Ganirelix at that time to further suppress the ovaries (I guess this would be estrogen antagonist). So you do the estrogen and go in as usual on day 2, then start in with the meds, which basically put the pedal all the way to the floor and take you (hopefully) from zero to well, ninety?

Hope that helped. Keep us posted!

Paula Keller said...

Raises hand! Estrogen antagonist protocol. Much of what princess said.

Have period, take estrogen, have period again, baseline u/s, start stims on day 4 (I think?) and mine were 450iu of GonalF - maximum dose for a week or so, and once your eggs get cooked to a certain size they add the Ganerilex.

I had a MUCH better response on this. Course, it took three tries for them to figure out this was the protocol for me.

I hope that's the case for you!

Kathleen said...

My advice: Take 3 months off of meds, you've been on them for a long time! They themselves can make your response weaken each time (no studies to back this up, just annecdotes). During those 3 months, focus on improving your hormone balance and egg quality by doing yoga, acupuncture and diet changes (per your acupuncturist). Then go back to an IVF cycle with a break on your body and a fresh start. You are young and your body can be rejuvinated to perform its absolute best! Here's a book you might like to try: http://www.pullingdownthemoon.com/fully-fertile-book-club.aspx

I'm 34 and after these 12 weeks, I grew 22 eggs in my IVF protocol. Its amazing what your body can do if you get it back into balance.

Additionally, you might find a shift in your mental state. It was an immense help to me going into my IVF cycle. If you want to know more, PLEASE let me know! Contact me! I'd love to discuss more. You are young and you can give yourself a few months of time to encourage those eggies to grow grow grow when you attempt your next IVF cycle. Its definietly worth the wait!!!

Melissa G said...

I'm glad that you are moving forward with another cycle. I really hope this one does the trick. You deserve it.

I don't have any clinical studies to offer, and I haven't done IVF but I did do acupuncture, and can tell you that it made a big difference in my overall well being. My RE also said it was a wonderful supplement for those who are dealing with ART. My clinic recommends it to most patients. So there you go.

Anonymous said...

I strongly recommend acupuncture. It is not a matter of "believing" in it. There is loads of clinical research to show that improves the prospects for women undergoing IVF.

Here is a link that further links to just a few research papers.


This one is from the University of Adelaide (here in Australia) which is a very reputable school


This one is from the British Medical Journal:

I figure it can't hurt. It will probably help. It worked for me. I hope it is of some benefit to you too.

Anonymous said...

So glad you were able to get in for your WTF meeting sooner. Making you wait until late July was a travesty.

I agree with the other commenters about acupuncture and especially kores561. While the outcome of my current cycle is unknown, I took the approach she outlines and thus far we have had the best results to date. Our problem has never been the number of eggs retrieved but instead really sucky fertilization rates. This time, our number of fertilized eggs doubled any previous attempt and we made it to a Day 5 transfer (today!). Who knows why, but I attribute the results largely to acupuncture.

Good luck!


Shinejil said...

Even if the acup. only helps you relax, feel better, and enjoy some downtime that's just about you, it will be worth it. I am with folks above, in that I feel acupuncture and TCM helped improve my chances (I did it for both cycles I got pregnant).

Liz said...

I'm another one voting for acupuncture. I haven't had any success (but have been doing acupuncture for 10 months and have been on birth control for 8 so I don't blame the pins!). One thing I'll say is that if took a few sessions for me to start to feel the benefits, like you I was a bit non-plussed at first.

WannabeMommy said...

The statistics don't lie.... acupuncture really DOES improve the odds of your IVF outcome, whether your RE wants to admit it or not.

Tiger said...

Acupuncture helps improve IVF success rates. It improves the function of the ovaries to produce better quality eggs. It regulates the hormones to produce a larger number of follicles. It relaxes the patent and decreases her stress. It helps prevent uterine contractions. It lessens the side effects of the Western drugs used in IVF. It strengthens and regulates the patents immune system. It improves male semen to create better quality and quantity of embryos. It decreases the chance of miscarriage.

I widely published recent German study found that using acupuncture with IVF achieved a 42% clinical pregnancy rate compared to only 26% in the control group that did not receive acupuncture. Several other studies have also shown impressive results.

That is the information I received from my RE on acupuncture. I hope it helps :)

Tiffanie said...

first i find it extremely annoying that they didn't tell you that some of your eggs fertilized abnormally. my clinic didn't even count those, so atleast we knew we only had 3 to work with.

2nd, acupunture. i have mixed feelings on it. i did it w/ my 1st IVF cycle and it did not improve anything (i was told it would increase the # of eggs and my E2 level, which were my problems and why i ended up getting cancelled). so, with the 2nd IVF i only did it on the day of the ET, and then again at 10dp3dt (i had already had a + HPT). did it help? who knows. did it make me feel like i was doing something to help? yes. and that was what made it worth it to me. my acupuncturist likes to see patients for the first 12 weeks to prevent miscarriage and decrease symptoms, etc. so, i am going tomorrow and will prob go every week. especially if it does help any symptoms that i have. i know that prob doesn't help you.

good luck with your next cycle.

Anonymous said...

just getting caught up. wonder why they don't tell you some of these things during the cycle?? that's really weird to me. i did acupuncture for both of my IVF cycles. i hated the first experience, but really liked the second one. my RE told me that it can improve outcomes, but that if i felt that it wasn't relaxing me or that i was stressed b/c of money or the fact that the lady was bizarre, that she didn't think that it would help much since my stress level would be so much higher.

bottom line? you have to do what feels right to you :)

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