The research was carried out by scientists from the University of Maryland in America and the VU University Amsterdam in Holland. Researchers claim that because acupuncture costs only about $90 per session compared to $6000 to $10,000 per cycle for IVF, it would be a cost effective, safe and efficient way of boosting success rates in fertility treatment.
It is thought that acupuncture stimulates the neurotransmitters that trigger the production of gonadotrophin-releasing hormone, which controls the menstrual cycle and a woman’s ovulation.
Acupuncture is also thought to stimulate blood flow to the uterus and boost the production of endogenous opioids, inducing the body to relax.
Acupuncture has been used in China for centuries to regulate fertility. It has also been shown to be an effective treatment for chronic pain as well as many common and uncommon disorders.
Gina Musetti, L.Ac. studied very intensely with Dr. Angela C. Wu, author of Fertility Wisdom, How Traditional Chinese Medicine Can Help Overcome Infertility, for over 11 years. During that time she learned many methods of traditional Chinese medicine as well as practical techniques to teach her patients so that they may better educate and prepare themselves for parenthood. Ms. Musetti has incorporated these techniques and more at Life Centered Acupuncture and Massage to provide the best possible preparation for all parents.
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Our Baby Journey
My husband and I were in our early 30s when we got married. He is of mix ethnicity; Japanese, Chinese, Hawaiian and Portuguese, and is a devout Catholic. I’m Chinese and grew up with Taoist belief and practices. We both come from close-knit families and after two years of marriage, decided to start expanding the family tree.
I thought we would get pregnant right away, but that did not happen. After 2 years of trying, I tried my first IUI with my OB and went on Clomid. After a few months with no results, we took a break and continued to try on our own.
When months turned into years, I knew my biological clock was ticking. We see our friends getting pregnant with baby #1 then #2… When we go out to social events, sometimes we get asked, “When are you going to have kids?” Our family did not pressure us on the subject, but we know they are silently wondering why we were taking so long.
After trying for about 7 years, we finally decided to see a fertility specialist. My husband had to do a sperm analysis and he had some issues with low morphology.
I was diagnosed with pre-hypertension and the fertility doctors were concerned about my eggs quality, because of my age. We felt like the odds were against us.
I was worried that western treatment would not work and wanted to look for an alternative. That was when I read up on how acupuncture can help with fertility issues. After going through a painful HSG and another IUI, I was having doubts about continuing with fertility treatments and decided to give acupuncture a try. We were lucky to have found Life Centered Acupuncture.
The first consultation with Gina was very informative and gave us hope. Where western medicine uses medication and invasive procedures to try and correct the issues, Eastern medicine does a more holistic approach and uses different techniques to heal the body. Improving our diet is also an important part of eastern fertility treatment. We were given a list of what foods we should eat and what we should avoid. I even learned to make a whole pot of black chicken broth.
She also treated my husband to help improve his sperm morphology.
We went through a year of treatment, during which we had switch to another fertility doctor and had to have a hysteroscopy. It turns out my cervix was tilted. The doctor also explained that high blood pressure could also be the cause of infertility. The new doctor and Gina focused to help me manage my blood pressure. As for my husband, with continued treatments by Gina, his morphology and sperm count got better and better with each IUI we did. So we did not give up and continued with 4 more IUIs, but still nothing happened.
I started to get frustrated and depressed each month the IUI failed and was ready to give up. Our doctor gave us some options: IUI #7 with stronger medicine, IVF or do a laparoscopy.
I know I did not want to do a laparoscopy. Although IVF is an option and our insurance will cover for one time, we decided not to do it. It is a personal choice. Since we can only do one IVF, what if there were extra embryos? What would we do with them? The decision that we might have to make about the extra embryos is what gave me pause. It was a decision I did not wa I wnt to face with and since my husband is Catholic, I did not want to have him make that decision either.
By then I was emotionally and physically drained, andas ready to give up. I was even thinking more about adoption, but we know going this route will not be easy. My husband insisted we try one more time with IUI #7. I was not sure if I could go through another disappointment, but he insisted and if it did not work, at least we can have a sense of closure in this whole journey of infertility. We took a month break and did IUI #7 April 2012. During the break, I continued to see Gina and decided to put my mind on other things. I did not have much hope for IUI #7. The day we went in for the procedure, I was lying there afterward, and my husband struck up a conversation about religion and faith with our doctor. The day came for me to take the pregnancy blood test. After the test, I started to cramp. So in my mind I knew the journey was over because I’m going to have my period. I was feeling depressed, but was ready to be over with all the treatments. That morning I received a call from the nurse. I thought she was going to say, “Sorry, but the test was negative” as she had done before. But the words I heard on the other end of the phone was, “Guess what, you are pregnant!”
Our daughter was born on 01-03-13. Everyone asked if we wanted to have a New Year Baby. My husband would not mind, but my answer was “No” (unless she decided on her own to come that day), because I wanted her to have her own special day to celebrate her birth. She is a dragon baby who loves exploring her environment with her big round eyes. She loves to smile at anyone who would give her the attention. She also has a feisty personality and has bit of a stubborn streak.
I continued to see Gina throughout my pregnancy and did not have any nausea or major pregnancy complications. I did develop gestational diabetes, but was able to manage it through a low carbohydrate diet and treatment with acupuncture. Even now, I continued to see Gina monthly.
I know if we had done treatments earlier, we could have had a baby a few years ago. Yet, all things in life usually happen for a reason. We were destined to be with our daughter and the challenges we faced in our lives these past 10 years only strengthen us to be better parents. She is full of energy and keeps us on our toes, but we are enjoying every minute of it.
M. and N.
A friend of mine told me about Gina in August 2013; a week before my second IVF.
It had been a long road: one year of not not trying, one year of charting, temperatures and ovulation kits, one year of Clomid and IUIs and then the scary leap into the IVF world. My husband and I both work full time, we both travel for work and we’re both very active. We were working with our third RE, one that we were finally comfortable with, but who made it clear that he thought acupuncture was useless but harmless…
I had done acupuncture before but never consistently. To me it made sense and given the fact that we had issues on both sides I felt that it could complement the western medicine, and besides, weren’t we at the point to give it all we had? Enter Gina. I went to her a few times and my IVF failed. I was devastated but I truly felt that she could help me, I had just met her too late for this round. My husband and I talked it over and we decided to commit to her for our next round of IVF knowing that we were getting to the end of our road; we were quickly approaching the amount of money that we were comfortable spending on IVF, we had taken so much time off of work and really changed our lives for this and nothing was working. So we gave it all we had. We both went to see her twice a week, we drove around town looking for specific foods, we did moxa every night, I did the breathing exercises, put castor oil on my belly, read the books, you name it, and through it all I would look forward to coming in to what was becoming a second home. I’m not going to lie, it was hard, expensive and time consuming but Gina and her team were warm, supportive and clearly loved what they did. It showed and I started seeing results. More follicles, more mature eggs, real changes, real stats.
Long story short the IVF worked, I had an amazing pregnancy and now have a beautiful baby. I continued to see Gina until the night before I was admitted. No morning sickness, no fatigue. Did acupuncture make the IVF work? We’ll never know. People ask me that all the time and what I tell them, and truly believe, is that giving it all I had made it work and Gina and her team empowered me to do that. Oh, and the foot massages and flannel sheets didn’t hurt 😉