How To Find a Fertility Acupuncturist

Where to Find One, What to Ask, What Training They Should Have

An acupuncturist holds an acupuncture needle
You didn't choose your fertility doctor without thought, so be sure to interview any acupuncturist just as carefully. Sigrid Gombert / Getty Images

If you're interested in trying acupuncture to boost your fertility, you'll want to find an acupuncturist who has training and experience with fertility treatments. Don't think you can call up just any acupuncturist. 

I asked Jill Blakeway, Clinic Director of The YinOva Center in New York City and author of the book Making Babies: A Proven Three Month Program for Maximum Fertility (Little Brown, 2009), for her suggestions on finding an acupuncturist for fertility.

 

Here's what she had to say.

Find Someone Licensed By the State

Most states require acupuncturists to carry a license. 

At the very least, whoever you find should possess a license to practice acupuncture.

Seek Out Someone Trained in Both Acupuncture and Chinese Herbs

While use of Chinese herbs during fertility treatment is controversial, and a topic you must speak to your doctor about, Blakeway suggests that for infertility, you should seek out an acupuncturist who is also an herbalist.

"In some states, [such as California], all acupuncturists have to be trained herbalists," explains Blakeway. "And in others [such as New York], licensed acupuncturists [do not have to be certified] herbalists.  

"So it's worth noting that not all acupuncturists are trained and certified herbalists."

Choose Someone With a Specialty or Experience in Obstetrics and Gynecology

Not every acupuncturist is trained or experienced in fertility issues.

 Blakeway suggests that you ask what their training in fertility treatment is. 

Especially since some acupuncture points are contraindicated after embryo transfer and during pregnancy -- because of the risk of miscarriage -- it's vital your acupuncturist knows what he or she is doing.

Ask About Duration of Training and How Many Years of Fertility Experience They Have

According to Blakeway, the acupuncturist should have had at least 3 to 4 years of training.

In addition to this, ask for how many years they have treated patients dealing with infertility. 

Don't feel shy asking about their training and experience. These are questions they should be prepared to answer.

Ask If They Use Disposable Needles

This is important for safe and clean treatment. 

Ask About the Costs of a Session

While prices vary depending on the treatment plan and on the experience level of the acupuncturist, an initial consultation is typically between $75 and $150. 

Subsequent treatments average around $50 to $75 per treatment session.

This price also varies if herbal remedies are also being prescribed.

Ask About Necessary Follow-ups

Acupuncturists generally suggest that treatment for infertility include at least three months of once-a-week treatments prior to beginning conventional fertility treatments.

Once pregnancy is achieved, once a week treatments until the end of the first trimester -- when the risk of miscarriage has gone down -- are suggested.

Ask what you'll need for your particular situation, and be sure to get an idea of what that will all cost together.

If you can't afford multiple treatments, or would rather not get treatment for so long, one-time treatment on the day of the embryo transfer may be beneficial. 

Ask Your Fertility Clinic for Recommendations

More and more fertility clinics are working along with acupuncturists. You should definitely ask your doctor or clinic if they recommend someone in particular.

There may also be a discount if the acupuncturist and fertility clinic work together.

Whether or not you use an acupuncturist recommended by your doctor, tell your doctor that you're seeing one. Also, it's extremely important to be up front about use of herbs. 

Herbs can interact with fertility drugs, so you must keep your doctor informed on what you're taking.

Use the AcuFinder.com Database or Ask Your Friends

Besides just looking in the phone book and online, you may want to try searching this database:

This site also has information on acupuncture.

If you belong to an infertility support group, ask other group members for referrals. 

While you can also ask for referrals in fertility forums, be aware that those recommendations are not always trustworthy. 

More ways to boost your fertility:

Source:

Jill Blakeway. Email interview. October 2008.

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