I think it’s nothing short of wonderful that women can carry and birth a baby with the help of a donor, be it with donor-eggs or donor-sperm, and I absolutely celebrate the whole thing. Families come together in lots of different ways, and while some may have an unconventional start, they are as filled with love, optimism and the ups and downs of family life as any other. I know this because I have worked with lots of people who have conceived families with donors and it’s also well described in research.
Over the past 10 years I have worked with many women needing donor sperm and increasingly, donor eggs, to conceive much wanted children. Much of the journey is like IVF (and you’ve probably had your fair share of IVF anyway) – but there are some big and important differences and some unique ways in which acupuncture can help you.
Practically speaking, having a donor-egg cycle is like having frozen embryo transfer. Your womb lining needs to thicken up to provide a perfect environment for the embryo but, unlike IVF, you won’t of course need the ovarian stimulation to mature the eggs and you won’t need egg collection (although you may still have the nerve wracking wait to see how your donor is progressing). Acupuncture supports the process of a donor-egg cycle by preparing you for the embryo – mind, body and uterus. In fact, we use the same points-protocol that yields great results in IVF. But following the contours of IVF isn’t just what it’s all about here; acupuncture can support you emotionally and provide a safe and secure place to explore your thoughts and feelings toward having a baby with donor gametes.
A story…Tracy (not her real name) came to my clinic for acupuncture to support her through IVF. She had 4 cycles of IVF, each one yielding less eggs than the time before and all the time she felt acutely aware of the tick-tick of her internal clock as she approached her 42nd birthday. Her IVF doctor had floated the idea of donor eggs after two unsuccessful IVF cycles and we began to talk about it during acupuncture. Over the months she came around to the idea of using a donor and began the process of selecting the right clinic (for Tracy this was in another country) and then the right donor. Throughout all of this, I supported her emotionally and physically with acupuncture. During her donor cycle we met to work on building a great environment inside the uterus and calming the mind and spirit. Because she had embryo transfer abroad, we worked on finding a specialist fertility acupuncturist near the clinic so she could have treatment before and after the transfer. I then saw her on her return to the UK. Tracy became pregnant from her donor cycle and had twin girls after a pretty good pregnancy. Here’s what she said about having acupuncture
“Sam, you have been my rock throughout the whole process of IVF and whenever I think back to some of those dark times, I remember that my acupuncture sessions were a little chink of light and hope for me. I do not think I can ever tell you how much it has meant coming for treatment and how much you have helped me on this journey to motherhood. A lot of people have helped me to become a mum and you are most certainly one of them”
If you’re considering IVF with donor eggs or sperm, I’d absolutely love to work with you on your journey to parenthood.