This will vary, depending on the treatment protocol that you are receiving, whether it will be a long protocol cycle, a frozen cycle, a donor cycle etc. Based on a long protocol cycle f.e. , most of the time patients will be seen around once a week through the down-regulation stage, or if you’re on the contraceptive pill, we would still continue to see you about once a week. During the stimulation phase, we’ll continue that once a week pattern, but we’ll also edit it based on your history, so if you’re a poor responder, if you’ve got low ovarian reserve then we might increase the frequency of treatment to match that. As you have scans that give us a bit more diagnostics information, we may increase treatment so if your first scan we’re not quite seeing the follicles at the size they need to be, or you haven’t got quite as many as we would have expected, then we will up the treatment to try and increase the circulation, increase the response. Every practitioner have their own kind of style and protocol, and everything is always tailored to you, as the individual, but in general, there may be a treatment around egg collection. For me personally, logistically it’s often difficult to do a treatment after egg collection. One of the things I’m always thinking about is how can I reduce the stress levels of my patients. One key thing to think about is if a treatment is going to increase your stress, is it really worth going for it. It’s not always the end of the world if you miss a treatment if that treatment was going to cause a lot of stress to you. The post egg collection treatment is not one that I use as much as others., But, again if I see a patient who’s had a history of a difficult egg collection or maybe has cervical stenosis or something like that, and we know it is going to create a difficulty, then Ii will focus more around egg collection. The next key point for treatment will be transferred if you’re having a frozen cycle, we know for sure what day transfer is, but sometimes it’s not so known, and it’s a little bit last minute, so you might not have the ability to have a treatment before and after transfer. That’s not a major worry, most of the time we would expect you to come after your transfer, usually on the same day, at least within the 24 hours, then we’ll look at the two-week wait situation, so we can do treatment around the point when implantation would usually occur. We can also do treatment throughout the two-week –wait just to support you at that time because we definitely see that’s probably the hardest point for most patients. You’ve been so busy going in for scans and here and there for appointments then it’s just so quiet, and you’re left alone with your thoughts, and you’re waiting for that test day. Acupuncturists offer a lot of support emotionally, in that sense and we can help you to relax and get you through those two-week waits. If you do have a positive, we’re there to support you through early pregnancy. We know that there are increased chances of miscarriage with IVF, in the early stages and there’s quite a lot we can do to support early pregnancy, even just from an emotional point. Research has shown that women with a recurrent miscarriage history treatment by having someone to see regularly, to discuss their anxieties, it reduced the miscarriage rate quite significantly. There are things that we can do with acupuncture and herbs, I use herbs quite a lot in pregnancy to support my miscarriage patients. That’s something that a lot of people wouldn’t think about, would probably be quite anxious about, but what I find is that my patients, they know me so well by the time that they are pregnant, they have a deep level of trust already, and so they’re very comfortable with what we do.
It doesn’t matter what kind of artificial treatment, you’re having, we can tailor it to that treatment, but once a week roughly in a long protocol cycle, you’re probably looking at around 6 treatments. Don’t forget the men, if there are male infertility issues, we can do the preparation work, and we can do some treatments on the run-up to when they have to give their sample.