Presented exclusively by Central New Jersey Acupuncture & Wellness
No matter how each patient presents, the IVF protocol is pretty much the same. There will be minor variations in doses of ovary-stimulating drugs, and there will occasionally be variations on timing of administration. But the use of different drugs is often dictated by what is new or available rather than the specific needs of an individual patient. The expertise of the fertility specialist comes, therefore, not so much in changing the prescription for the dose of one of the drugs, but from the technical surgical skill required when removing tiny egg cells from the ovary and transferring fragile embryos back to the uterus. And it is the expertise of scientists and embryologists who work in machine-filled laboratories in developing ways of managing eggs, sperm and embryos when they are outside of the body that has brought with it the latest round of increased success rates and new techniques.
You could say that IVF is essentially a numbers game – it increases the odds of success by increasing the numbers of eggs produced. This technique does not aim to affect the QUALITY of the egg; rather it aims to increase the QUANTITY of eggs, in the hope that in a large number at least one will have what it takes. The thickness of the lining of the uterus is the only other parameter measured. The general health of the couple, in the absence of major pathology is of minor concern. Even whether the male partner has enough motile sperm is becoming less important now in the days of ICSI (Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection).
In contrast, Chinese medicine in general, and acupuncture in particular, considers the overall health of the person (with special emphasis on Kidney Qi (vital energy)) who is making gametes, based on the belief that this will translate into healthier gametes. We know that the greatest determinant of a viable pregnancy is a viable embryo, which in turn depends largely on the fusion of healthy and compatible gametes. Unlike IVF, Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) treatment is not a numbers game. Treatment with Chinese medicine on its own does not usually increase the number of ovulated eggs. And while it cannot change the genetic make-up of the egg, TCM influences how well the eggs are nourished and stimulated to grow and the capability with which they are released and travel down the fallopian tubes. In addition, TCM treatment improves endometrium thickness and quality. Chinese medicine can also influence the number, motility, and genetic quality of sperm.
The correct application of Chinese medicine in the treatment of infertility is complex and demanding of its practitioners. Unlike the IVF treatment regime, TCM has endless number of variations – as numerous as the patients themselves. The skill of the TCM infertility acupuncture specialist is in the correct diagnosis of subtle patterns of dysfunction, the correct timing of the medicine and the technical skill involved in applying acupuncture.
The TCM treatment of infertility is holistic, time-tested, and generally slow acting with few side effects and little risk. IVF is specialized, experimental and quick to get results, but not without risks to mother and baby.
If you are located in Monmouth County, New Jersey, give us a call at Central New Jersey Acupuncture & Wellness to discuss your options for infertility treatment.