Mum and dad holding a pregnant belly with a little footprint between their heart-shaped hands

Acupuncture and TCM when unable to do IVF

   TCM and Acupuncture may support the journey to have a baby

Unable to undergo IVF

Sue and John* who are in their mid-thirties, came to see me at Red Tent, seeking support for fertility. They are both in corporate jobs with high responsibility, long hours and lots of overseas work trips. They had been trying for a baby for over two years and had investigated IVF. Because Sue’s thyroid levels were fluctuating too much she was unable to undergo IVF.

The couple sought my assistance in re-balancing her body so that she could go ahead with IVF. My first step, as always, was to take a full health history.

Wholistic approach

Sue had a history of gut issues which had worsened when she ate contaminated food in a developing country. She also came down with dengue fever (see below). Her bowel movements were irregular, sometimes harder, sometimes softer, sometimes with lots of pain. She had pains on and off in her legs and joints. She was highly stressed and found it difficult to wind down after work and sleep well.

Her thyroid levels would fluctuate quite markedly. This would give her a whole other cascade of symptoms depending on whether her thyroid was running too fast or too slow.

I recommended that she see an Integrative GP to check for parasites as well as anything else that could be adversely affecting her that needed to be dealt with. She also continued to be under the guidance of her IVF specialist.

In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) we look at the body as a whole. So I wanted to know every symptom she was feeling at each appointment, where she felt it in her body and I would translate this into a Chinese Medicine diagnosis that would fluctuate depending on what was going on for her. I then gave her acupuncture, Chinese Herbal Medicine, dietary changes and lifestyle changes. All of these aspects look to balance the body, mind and spirit so that her body can work towards healing itself.

The Integrative GP confirmed that there were no parasites or harmful bacteria that may have required treatment. She was on medication for her thyroid and those levels were being monitored by her GP and Endocrinologist.

Finding the balance

We worked on re-balancing Sue’s body for a period of 18 months. It took time as there were deep entrenched patterns of disharmony but slowly, slowly, she cut back on over-working, decreased the amount of overseas travel, increased time for herself, took up meditation. During that time she took Chinese herbs, had regular acupuncture, which she said helped a lot to decrease her stress levels, and looked into old mental patterns that weren’t working for her anymore. As well she continued to consult with her specialists about her thyroid medication levels.

John continued to see me also to ensure his stress levels were managed well and that his body was working to optimal capacity.

Then around that 18-month mark, Sue’s thyroid had been stable enough for a number of months to try for her first complete IVF cycle. She had an embryo transfer that was successful. After so many months of not even being able to have a transfer, it was a wonderful result. She is now pregnant and over the moon.

Dengue fever is a virus transmitted by mosquitoes. Symptoms include:

  • fever (mild to incapacitating)
  • headache
  • pain behind the eyes
  • muscle and joint pain
  • nausea and vomiting
  • swollen glands
  • rash

These symptoms may be mild or severe. They usually appear between 3 and 14 days after the mosquito bite, and usually last for between 2 and 7 days.

* Names have been changed

By Rebecca Mar Young – Acupuncture, Japanese Acupuncture, Chinese Medicine, Paediatric Acupuncture. 

Red Tent Surry Hills is now located within the Wholistic Medical Centre