By: Dr. Spence Pentland, (Vancouver Fertility Acupuncturist)
Right from the start Suzy and her husband were faced with reproductive challenges. After trying to conceive for quite some time, it was found that her husband did not produce any sperm, a somewhat common condition called azoospermia. After extensive research and counsel, they learned that to have a child of their own, donor sperm would have to be used via artificial insemination. So off to the fertility clinic they went.
After 6 months of discouraging negative pregnancy tests, it got harder and harder for Suzy to wear her usual happy-go-lucky face. The fertility clinic decided to do some more in-depth testing on Suzy and found that her FSH (a hormone required for egg development) was not within range. She was told that her FSH was at a level that corresponded with a perimenopausal woman, and that she had a condition called ‘Pre-mature Ovarian Failure’. This was confirmed by a second and third round of testing. The doctor delivered the news that immediate IVF (in-vitro fertilization) was her only option, and unfortunately a positive outcome was highly unlikely.
“First, I was so shocked to hear that I was in this situation to begin with. I thought I was a healthy woman. I was so angry and frustrated at my body for doing this to me! Then, fear and sadness hit me because I realized that my life’s dream of having children now may be just that, nothing more than a dream. I agreed to do whatever it was they wanted.”
Suzy began speaking with friends about her situation. She quickly learned that two other ladies she knew were going through similar scenarios, and that both were using acupuncture and Chinese medicine in an attempt to optimize their fertility. Not surprisingly, Suzy began regular acupuncture treatments. The acupuncturist gently suggested that with her presenting condition, 3-6 months of treatment is necessary for Chinese medicine and acupuncture to have a great effect on her IVF outcome. Driven by fear, Suzy declared that she could not spare the time and must go ahead with the IVF next cycle as planned.
Hormone injections started with her next cycle and after a few days it was time to see how her ovaries were progressing. The news could not have been worse, she was not responding to the medications, only 1-2 follicles could be seen (follicles contain the eggs). The IVF was cancelled. Dreams of having her own biological child were gone. In desperation, Suzy asked if she could try again. She was told that the results would be the same in successive cycles, donor eggs or adoption were the only options now.
Suzy’s strong spirit would not accept this fate;
“I could have let the fertility doctors words bring me down but I chose not to. I knew in my heart that I wasn’t willing to close the door on my fertility just yet. I needed to give my body the time it needed to get healthy. I was going to continue on with my acupuncture and give IVF one more try. I called my acupuncturist and filled him in on everything that had happened. He told me that his vision for me was to take 5 months to restore balance and then to attempt a 2nd round of IVF. I was completely on board, but this time it was with a 100% mind, body and soul commitment!
After just two months my body had never felt better. My cycles had regulated to 27-29 days in length and other ailments I had were gone. After 5 months of acupuncture and Chinese herbs I was ready and so I called and booked my 2nd IVF cycle.
A few days after injections started it was time to test to see if I was producing any follicles. I will never forget the look on the doctors face… not only did I have follicles but I had 13!!! I am now a mother of a beautiful little boy.
I honestly believe that if I didn’t listen to my heart and give my body the time it needed with my acupuncture and herbs that I would not be where I am today.
I understand the emotional rollercoaster and the daily struggles. Do the best you can to stay strong! Please remember that my story is one of many that proves with small simple sustainable choices, a little perseverance, and faith in your body, miracles do happen! Good luck to you on your journey!!”
Dr. Spence Pentland is a board licensed Doctor of Traditional Chinese Medicine, and certified Fellow of the American Board of Oriental Reproductive Medicine. Since 2004 Spence has focused exclusively on the treatment of reproductive disorders in both men and women in Vancouver Canada. To book an appointment or for a free 15 minute phone consultation visit DrSpencePentland.com (Vancouver fertility acupuncture). He and his wife are also ‘bringing sexy back to baby-making’ with their new line of ‘fertility friendly’ men’s underwear!