After rejecting all the bullshit advice from well meaning friends and family, "just relax," "keep your legs up after sex" or "wear socks!" what advice to you take from fellow infertiles? Admittedly, we're a pretty biased group. Following months, if not years, of failed attempts and treatments, it's hard not to believe that what you ate for breakfast contributed to the success, once it is achieved. Some alternative treatments most often employed include acupuncture and vitamin supplements. The data is light, due to limited studies evaluating supplements, and difficulty analysing acupuncture effects without a true 'placebo' comparative. I came across a journal article that examined many different uses of acupuncture in an Ob/Gyn setting. While the authors noted that the use of acupuncture for infertility is increasing, the only statistically significant benefit was reducing pain during egg retrieval. Co-worker's RE recommended that she start acupuncture. Co-worker asked if she had some statistics to show that it helps achieve a pregnancy, but her RE claimed that it would help her with her painful periods and she asked her "what do you have to lose?" Um, money? thought Co-worker who was finding the bills for her fertility treatments daunting. She had been dealing with her heavy and painful periods since she was a teenager and had learned to cope. She wanted answers to why she has heavy periods and if it was contributing to her infertility and was frustrated that her RE was deferring her laparoscopy and was insisting on doing "one more IUI". It was the one that was successful in impregnating her with twins. A few weeks later, I encountered a local acupuncturist at a holiday party and decided to do a little recognisance work. She identified herself as an "infertility specialist", which I questioned if it was like the title 'Assistant to the Regional Manager'. Acupuncturist who specialises in infertility seemed a little more accurate. I asked a few specific questions on how acupuncture is thought to benefit fertility patients (specifically about increasing blood flow to the uterus) and when during a treatment cycle (i.e in the follicular phase, just before or after IUI or transfer?) should it be performed? She didn't answer any of my questions, but just discussed how all her patients get pregnant, and then she continues to see them and she flips breech babies and induces labour. Really? No one has a 100% success rate. Maybe she didn't want to answer my questions as I was disturbing the 'delicate genius' at a party, but I expected a little more substance from a 'fertility specialist'. She handed me a handful on her business cards. While not completely skeptical, I also wasn't convinced. I decided that doing acupuncture would cut into my exercise time, which also promotes relaxation and improves blood flow.
I was also a little hesitant to start supplements. When Husband first received the results of his semen analysis, he headed to GNC and purchased everything the Google reported would improve sperm counts and quality. Unfortunately, neither the supplements nor Clomid improved his semen analysis much, and the drawer in our bathroom still smells like dried leaves, as I suspect he's stopped taking them. However, I have heard some women reporting improvements with their follicle counts or lab results. Additionally, I was in the 'what do you have to lose?' mindset. Non Sequitur Chica posted a list of doctor recommended supplements on her blog. I picked up all the ones that target blood vessel and endometrial support for about $75. As long as I'm waiting to start treatment, I might as well try to make the most of it. I've also read that some women have tried eating pineapple during the time of embryo transfer to help thicken the uterine lining. I like pineapple and could very well be eating it at that time anyway. If grapefruit juice can cause significant drug interactions, is it that unreasonable to think that other foods could work in weird ways?