Infertility and Alternative Medicine: Who Makes The Cut?
When I finally woke up to the value of incorporating alternative medicine into my arsenal of baby making ammunition, I have to confess that I got lucky. I had the good fortune of having a co-worker who was willing to share her black book of practitioners that were integral in making her baby dust dreams come true. A deep, intense, hour long conversation led to hushed whispers as we passed each other in the hallway, hastily written scrawl on legal pads, and in the end I got every name, phone number, and coveted password for her infertility and alternative medicine dream team.
The crazy thing was that while I did my homework on the reproductive endocrinologist she hooked me up with, as a result of having been to Shady Island with my previous doctor, strangely, I didn’t even think of doing the same with the alternative medicine practitioners. Blessed be my infertile soul sister, she was spot on and I did not get burned, but as I look back on my journey, it is painfully clear to me that just blindly following her intel was a huge risk on my part.
Here’s why: alternative medicine is not the flowery, hippie, unicorn driven sideshow to Western Medicine that some think it is. It’s powerful, effective, and can be expensive. As someone who spent THOUSANDS on various types of alternative medicine such as acupuncture, Mayan massage, meditation, and even a medical intuitive, I know for a fact that you’ve got to have your ducks in a row to do your body and your pocket book good.
The Crucial Criteria
Here are some things to think about to start figuring out who makes first string and who will be on the bench:
1) What role is alternative medicine going to play in my journey?
Is it your lead singer, back up vocals, or is this a duet? While the role of alternative medicine in your journey may shift at various points in your journey, get clear on where it falls into the larger scheme of things in your plan. Consider what works within your belief system. Do you want to start out with alternative medicine before you try IUI or IVF? Do you want to compliment your western treatments with alternative options so they can work side by side? Explore this.
2) What does your “western” doctor think?
Clue your MD in when you are considering adding alternative treatments to the mix. The obvious reason for this is that there are some alternative therapies, herbs, and such that are contraindicated by fertility drugs or certain conditions. Avoid putting yourself in a precarious position for the sake of “checking all the boxes.” Work with your MD to figure out what makes sense in your situation. My MD saw real value in acupuncture and gladly encouraged me to use it.
3) What is the alternative practitioner’s experience with fertility/infertility treatment?
When you are feeling defeated and desperate on this journey it’s easy to fall prey to anyone who says they can get you a one way ticket to Baby Town. Reel in the emotions, as best as you can, and look for evidence that this practitioner knows what they are doing when it comes to fertility. Is their practice robust in the area of infertility? How many have gotten pregnant under their care? What protocols do they have to complement western medical treatments such as IUI, IVF, etc.? Does this practitioner seem to know the fertility treatment lingo? Do things sound too goo to be true? Tune in closely…you’d be amazed what you can pick up.
4) What are they offering, really?
How does the practitioner see their specialty treatment working with other options you are including in your quest to conceive? Can their treatments help with side effects of the medications? Help ease your stress? Assist you with making excellent choices for nutrition? All of the practitioners that I invited into my journey worked collaboratively. Each brought something unique to the table, that met a specific need, and it was wonderful. Get clear on what someone is offering you. Have they earned a place on your team?
5) What’s your budget for alternative medicine?
Do you have a line item in your budget for alternative medicine? What does your practitioner say treatment will cost, really? This is huge and I encourage you to get clear on this ASAP. I was typically spending $200+ per week on acupuncture during the full 5-6 week window of my IVF treatments, in addition to abdominal massages and on-site acupuncture treatments before and after embryo transfers at $300+ a pop…well, you get the gist. As scary as it may be, create a budget. Stick to it. Resist “up sells,” that don’t fit into your plans.
The Take Away
I could not be happier that I incorporated alternative medicine into my fertility treatment. It was worth every cent. My good experience in this arena came down to having a fantastic group of practitioners on my side who understood and honored my values. Do your homework. Ask questions. Follow your gut, but leave nothing to chance. Remember, this is YOUR journey and that you have the final say of who makes it onto your treatment team.
Join In The Conversation. Leave A Comment!
If you have alternative medicine practitioners on your team, how did they make the cut?
Do you have any advice to share?
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With Love + Respect,
© 2014 Rosanne Austin, From Maybe To Baby