All posts by Monica Patt

My Personal Experience with IVF

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IVF Blog Post Image

My husband and I recently completed the first part of our IVF cycle. I was on the max dose of Menopur and Puregon meaning two needles per night for the first week or so. My husband did my injections for me as I just couldn’t bring myself to do it! I do acupuncture for a living giving my self a needle should be no big deal right? Wrong! I just couldn’t do it.

When you are taking fertility injections you feel like the clock runs your life. You need to do your injections at the same time every night in the same order. I was bloated, getting headaches within 30 minutes of my stim injections and feeling as sexy as a bag of potatoes. This made dressing for work a challenge but lucky a lot of my clients are also going through IVF or IUI procedures.

After multiple ultrasounds measuring my follicle growth another injection is introduced to suppress ovulation. Three needles per night at exactly 7:30 pm.

When my follicles were measuring the right size and egg collection was within the next 36 hours I took my trigger injection. My husband picked it up from the pharmacy for me and it had to be kept cold and in the fridge. When we did the injection exactly 36 hours prior to collection I can tell you that was the one I liked the least! Within 30 minutes I had a blinding headache and decided to go to bed early.

On my egg retrieval I had 13 follicles all from my left ovary. 10 were mature, meaning they measured the right amount, and 8 fertilized with ICSI. Now we wait for the call from the embryologist on three days post retrieval.

Waiting for the call is nerve wracking. If you have had problems conceiving you know that waiting is a lot of what you do. Waiting and hoping.

Three days post retrieval finally came and we had 7 embryos with 5 at good quality and 2 fair. Now we wait until we hear again from the embryologist in the next few days. The next call is six days post retrieval and we have three embryos that they have frozen. Two five-day embryos and one six-day embryo.

Since our cycle was a freeze all (my estrogen was too high to do a fresh transfer) we wait until we are ready to precede with the next step the frozen embryo transfer. Repeat certain testing and starting a new round of drugs to prepare the endometrium for the FET. Until then we wait.

Male Factor Infertility & Subfertility

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Male Factor Infertility

Male factor infertility accounts for approximately 20% of infertile couples and a contributing factor in 20-40% of couples trying to conceive.

A semen analysis is collected when a couple has been trying to conceive to rule out any male factors. The main areas considered are sperm count (overall sperm in the ejaculate), motility (how far the sperm can swim) and morphology (percentage of normal shaped sperm without head, mid piece or tail defects).

Acupuncture can help increase sperm count, motility and quality. Spermatogenesis (the production of sperm) takes 60 to 90 days. Acupuncture treatments are recommend at a frequency  of twice per week for 5 weeks.

In a study published in Fertility and Sterility measured 28 men with low sperm count, poor motility and poor morphology received acupuncture twice per week over the course of 5 weeks. Statistical evaluation of the data showed significant increase in normal sperm morphology and total motility in the acupuncture group versus the men that did not receive acupuncture in the control group. With the conclusion, in conjunction with ART or even for reaching natural fertility potential, acupuncture treatment is a simple, noninvasive method that can improve sperm quality.

Sperm quality also increased in males with subfertility related to low sperm count after acupuncture treatments. Sixteen sub fertile patients where analyzed 1 month before and after acupuncture treatment at a treatment frequency of twice per week for 5 weeks. Significant improvement of total functional sperm, percentage of viability and total motility was found. Suggesting patients with reduced sperm activity may benefit from acupuncture treatment.

References:


1) Fritz, M & Speroff, L. (2011). Clinical Gynecologic Endocrinology and Infertility, 8th edition. Philadelphia, PA: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.

2) Jian Pei, Erwin Strehler, Ulrich Noss, Markus Abt, Paola Piomboni, Baccio Baccetti, Karl Sterzik. Quantitative evaluation of spermatozoa ultrastructure after acupuncture treatment for idiopathic male infertility. Fertility and Sterility, Vol. 84, Issue 1, p141–147 Published in issue: July 2005
Retrieved from http://www.fertstert.org/article/S0015-0282(05)00591-1/pdf

3) Siterman S, Eltes F, Wolfson W, Zabludovsky N, Bartoov B. Effect of acupuncture on sperm parameters of males suffering from subfertility related to low sperm quality. Arch Androl 1997;39:155-61.

Acupuncture Improves Outcome of IVF and ICSI

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Acupuncture IVF ICSI

Acupuncture Improves Outcome of IVF with ICSI

A study published in 2006 in the journal of Fertility and Sterility indicates luteal-phase acupuncture has a positive effect on the outcome of in vitro fertilization (IVF) and intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI).

250 patients undergoing IVF/ICSI where divided into two groups. The first group receiving acupuncture according to the principles of Chinese medicine, and the control group receiving placebo acupuncture.

The first group received acupuncture after embryo transfer (ET) and again 3 days later. The control group received placebo acupuncture at the same intervals with the design of the placebo acupuncture not to influence the fertility rates.

Implantation rate was significantly higher in the acupuncture group with a clinic pregnancy rate of 33.6% and ongoing pregnancy rate of 28.4% compared to the acupuncture placebo group at the rates of 15.6% pregnancy rate and 13.8% ongoing pregnancy rate.

This study concludes that luteal-phase acupuncture has positive effect on the outcome of IVF/ICSI.

Resources:

Effect of acupuncture on the outcome of in vitro fertilization and intracytoplasmic sperm injection: a randomized, prospective, controlled clinical study Dieterle, Stefan et al. Fertility and Sterility , Volume 85 , Issue 5 , 1347 – 1351 Retrieved from http://www.fertstert.org/article/S0015-0282(06)00213-5/pdf

Brussels Sprouts, Hormonal Health and the Metabolism of Estrogen

Brussels Sprouts, Hormonal Health and the Metabolism of Estrogen

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I have a confession. I absolutely love brussels sprouts and here is why! Not only do I love what they do for hormonal health and the metabolism of estrogen but also growing them. Here is a picture of what they look like in my garden right now. Many people are surprised to learn they grow on a stalk. Brussel Sprouts

Brussels sprouts belong to the brassica family and include other healthy cruciferous veggies such as broccoli, kale, cauliflower, cabbage and collard greens. These vegetables have a unique compound called indole-3-carbinol (I3C).

Indole-3-carbinol promotes less production of potent forms of estrogen in the system and improves estrogen metabolism while supporting liver function. This makes it great for estrogen dominant conditions such as Endometriosis, PMS and Uterine Fibroids.

Taking a supplement with higher doses of indole-3-carbinol can also be beneficial for estrogen dominate conditions. At our clinic in Edmonton we carry a product from Bioclinic Naturals called Estrovantage which I LOVE!

Still haunted by childhood memories of overcooked, frozen brussels sprouts? Not to worry! Fresh Brussels are delicious and easy to prepare.

Cooking them is simple! Trim the bottom off the brussels sprouts, cut in half, drizzle with some olive oil. Put into a pre heated oven at 400 degrees fahrenheit and roast for 30 minutes. You can also top them with pine nuts, balsamic vinegar or slivered almonds.

Hungry for more recipes? Check out this link by Whole Foods Market on oven roasted brussels sprouts http://www.wholefoodsmarket.com/recipe/oven-roasted-brussels-sprouts

Try to include cruciferous vegetables several times throughout the week for healthy estrogen metabolism.

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Basal Body Temperature

Basal Body Temperature (BBT)

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Tracking your Basal Body Temperature (BBT) is an easy and useful tool that can be done in a matter of minutes.

Recording your basal body temperature can be extremely helpful to your acupuncturist to indicate if or when ovulation has occurred, how well the corpus luteum (progesterone) is functioning in the luteal phase, thyroid function and even pregnancy.

All you need is a basal body thermometer (available at most drug stores in the family planning section) a pen and a piece of paper.

Simple steps to taking your basal body temperature:

  • Before going to bed make sure you have your thermometer and a piece of paper and a pen on your night stand
  • Start on Cycle Day 1 (the day you get your period)
  • First thing in the morning before you get out of bed, pop the digital thermometer into your mouth for 1 minute to let it adjust to your body temperature. Then take your temperature
  • Record the temperature on a piece of paper or a basal body temperature chart

Additional Tips:

  • Readings are most accurate after at least 3 hours on uninterrupted sleep
  • It is important that the temperature is taken at the same time each day as 1 hour later can rise the temperature by .5 degrees Celsius and can affect your readings
  • Take note that heated bedding such as heated mattress covers and blankets can skew your readings
  • Having a few drinks the night before can increase your temperature

Click here for a template of a basal body temperature chart from http://www.babycenter.ca