I was so hoping I’d hear from my doc today with the results of my AMH test. Maybe they will wait until Friday to call me so my weekend can be ruined. I think at this point I’m rather be in denial than know that my ovarian reserve is actually low. But, if this process has taught me anything, it’s to never assume everything is fine.
In my last post regarding the answers my doctor provided during my consult, I mentioned his view on supplements, acupuncture, and other methods thought to help increase odds of IVF cycle success. I think this topic in and of itself is touchy for many, so please know I don’t mean to offend anyone. We obviously all have our opinions, values, and life experiences which support our actions.
To date I have not invested in any supplements, nor I have seen a specialist for acupuncture treatments. I try to stay active by exercising regularly, but this is really more for overall health and wellness, not just simply to facilitate a pregnancy. On Monday when I asked my doctor if there was anything I could be doing in the meantime, before our next cycle officially starts, I didn’t specifically mention anything, he brought it upon himself to list these topics. I can only assume they are topics he is used to discussing with patients, but again, I’m assuming.
My doctor’s advice was, in a nutshell, not to spend my time or money on these items. He did make a point to say they aren’t going to hurt me, but his real focus was on saying they weren’t going to necessarily help me either, pointing out that no studies have proven a correlation between their use and IVF success. So, allow me to explain this…
My clinic is part of a University teaching hospital. Faculty and staff, including all of the REs I see there, are required to perform research. This is something you don’t always see in private practice. For example, my husband is a Urologist at the hospital where I’ve been seeking treatment, therefore he also has been forced to incorporate research into his career. He personally has little interest in research, and I highly doubt he will continue doing such once he’s finished at the University and working in his own practice, but for the time being, he is forced. So, over the past five years my husband has had quite a few papers published in a variety of medical journals, some far more prestigious than others. Keeping that in mind is important, because not all research is created equal. Most any physician, or really anyone, can study something, write a paper, submit it to lots of journals, and chances are a few of those journals will publish it. No seriously, Eric has completed lots of so so research he wants to trash, but he’s been forced to submit it, and next month another of his works will appear on the cover of something, I forget which one now.
Okay, this is becoming long with no real point yet! My point is, not all research is created equal. For example, Eric could easily do a quick inventory of all my fellow bloggers, take their IVF success rates and attempt to correlate it with a list of factors, say those taking a certain supplement. He could probably get the results published, but would you trust it? Such a paper would be called a study, which is the vast majority of anything you’ll find on the internet. Studies aren’t proof, they aren’t regulated… I’m not saying they can’t and don’t disclose valuable information though. Some do, but I have to assume a lot don’t. Real proof comes from clinical trials, which are expensive, timely, highly regulated, and so much more, as they more often lead to FDA approved ‘things’ for lack of a better term. Again, I’m not saying something has to be FDA approved to be worthwhile, just trying to explain the difference here.
In getting back to my doctor’s comment, I have to assume he was referring to clinical trials, of which I haven’t been able to find any supporting acupuncture or supplements, etc. I assume that a line has to be drawn somewhere as to what a physician is willing to recommend. Our resources (time and money for the most part) are limited, therefore I assume it’s in our doctor’s best interest to only recommend proven solutions.
On a more personal note, I’m honestly not sure how I feel about ‘unconventional’ infertility remedies. I often feel stuck between a rock and a hard place. I’ve tried to keep an open mind as I read many of your blogs. But then there is Eric in the back of my head telling me not to waste our money. I can’t fault him though, he’s been trained to think as such. Not saying it’s right or wrong, it’s just how they are trained, they crave proof, which does strike me as odd since they call it practicing medicine!
So, will I try any of these methods during our next IVF cycle? Honestly, probably not, but not because I’m 100% against them. I’m trying more and more to watch what I put into my body, and while I’m far from perfect, I guess I just don’t see the point in ordering something off the internet and trusting its makers. It reminds me of all the times I’ve wanted to buy something, Eric looks at the ingredients and says, yeah, it’s just ‘fill in the blank with something pointless like water’, don’t bother. Fancy names sometimes though! As for acupuncture, I have heard a lot of good things from fellow bloggers, but finding the time might be the issue. I feel stressed enough with finding time for all the IVF monitoring appointments. I’m not sure I need more stress of finding more time off work.
To close, I truly hope I haven’t offended anyone. If you have had positive experiences with any specific products, I’d love to hear more about them. I’m always open to learning 🙂