IVF works well for many but not all
IVF (in vitro fertilization) is a medical need for some, a fast and effective solution to pregnancy for many, and an inappropriately proposed course of treatment for an unfortunate group of fertility patients. We need to remember that IVF is just one of many treatment strategies.
There are factors that generally predict how one might respond to IVF medications. Fertility clinics use these factors – age, AMH and FSH levels, antral follicle count (AFC) – to communicate the most effective treatment approach. Ideally, they do this while understanding and respecting patient needs and expectations – physically, emotionally and ethically. Generally, IVF can be a good treatment strategy for individuals and couples with the following infertility diagnoses (there are others, however these are most commonly identifiable): blocked fallopian tubes, oligomenorrhea (irregular periods), amenorrhea (no period), genetic carriers of a serious disease, and male factor infertility.
When IVF is NOT indicated (but still recommended, alas)
The prognosis is more favorable if the factors stated above (how one might respond to IVF medications) are in the individual’s favor. Conversely, IVF is not the best strategy for women where the factors are not in her favor, yet it is still often recommended in haste by some fertility doctors, despite shifting opinion around best practices for diminished ovarian reserve (DOR).
This is a common, very stressful medical conundrum many “infertile” women face and a growing body of research such as this peer-reviewed article is supporting why rushing into IVF isn’t the best approach for these potential, and often confirmed, poor responders.
Weighing the pros and cons of two medicines
My clinic is often the first, or last, resort of care for couples. For those whom initially seek holistic care for their fertility challenges, I highly recommend patients have basic fertility tests completed before commencing treatment with me; semen analyses, a hysterosalpingogram (HSG) or saline-infused sonohistogram, and a baseline female hormonal panel are all important to ensure conceiving naturally is even possible. I don’t blindly provide a course of treatment without eliminating the variables that I believe cannot be addressed appropriately, or timely, with Chinese Medicine alone. I recommend IVF for many patients when I believe it is a better treatment option based on the above factors.
When you have a hammer, every problem looks like a nail
Unfortunately, conventional fertility clinics aren’t always reciprocal in their thinking of how to better serve IVF and FET outliers. Treatment for this subset of women can often look a lot like the treatment for every other woman, with a “let’s just keep at it” approach.
This is when Chinese medicine works wonders! The root issue is understood and fertility is supported organically, versus forcing your body to respond a certain way with medication.
Until fertility doctors can openly and honestly communicate their treatment limitations, patients will take on the unnecessary physical and emotional stress of unsuccessful IVF attempts. Our goal is to help women and couples understand treatment options, and achieve their parenthood goals in the way that is best for them.