When Do You Take Clomid In Your Cycle

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Even without definitive data, a number of fertility doctors find that the treatment's a value-add. NYU Hospital even makes acupuncture available right in their fertility center. "When a woman is struggling, we want all hands, eyes, and ears on deck. I've seen women respond better to IVF while doing acupuncture, and I've seen women who've stopped all Western treatments for infertility because they're exhausted and then try acupuncture and get pregnant. Maybe that would have happened regardless, we don't know," says Sheeva Talebian, MD, a reproductive endocrinologist at the Colorado Center for Reproductive Medicine in New York City.

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As a benign intervention with few, if any, drawbacks, Dr. Talebian sees acupuncture as a solid first line of defense. "In Western medicine, for better or for worse, we can be pill pushers, but there are downsides to treating infertility too early," she offers. For example, she says prescribing Clomid, a popular fertility drug that stimulates the ovarian follicles to release multiple eggs at once, can result in twins, which are higher-risk for both the mother and the fetuses. "Are we starting to intervene and create anxiety when we don't need to?" she asks.

While acupuncture has long been touted as a way to reduce anxiety, that's not what's at issue here: "We offer acupuncture because it helps patients navigate the complexities and stress of 'What if I never have that baby?' but stress isn't the reason you're not getting pregnant," says James Grifo, MD, director of the Fertility Center at NYU Langone Health. Seriously—the whole 'just relax and you'll get pregnant' thing is a myth. Most infertility stems from poor-quality eggs, sperm, or anatomic factors like blocked fallopian tubes. Run-of-the-mill work stress isn't a roadblock to those two pink lines. (Bouts of extreme emotional duress, like the loss of a loved one, could cause a woman to stop ovulating, but that's rare.)

"It helped me feel like I was working towards this future I envisioned. That little bit of physical pain was cathartic."

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For some, the treatment may be just one more burden or appointment in an overbooked schedule, or a cost you can't afford. Hour-long sessions at the more popular clinics can cost upwards of $120 a pop, and most insurance companies won't pick up the full cost. A weekly regimen may require deep pockets or serious budgeting. (The acupuncturists we spoke with said they treat women for four to six months on average.) Is it worth going broke over? Dr. Grifo says no: "If you hate it, I don't think it's going to help you. This is by no means a panacea."

For others, acupuncture is a lifeline. Fairchild, who got pregnant four months after starting acupuncture and now has an eight-month-old baby girl, says it was the feeling that she was doing something—anything—to control the uncontrollable, that brought relief during the long and lonely months of waiting. "It helped me feel like I was working towards this future I envisioned. That little bit of physical pain was cathartic."

Cathartic might be the key word. Unlike Western docs, Eastern practitioners (the licensed ones who've studied Traditional Chinese Medicine—not your facialist who does acupuncture on the side) might spend an hour and a half during your initial consultation listening and asking questions, like a therapist. "Fertility is just about the most emotional thing a woman can go through, so when patients come in, we talk about all aspects of their life and mood," says acupuncturist and herbalist Giselle Wasfie, owner of Remix acupuncture in Chicago.

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