Friday, July 08, 2005

Acupuncture for fertility

Article in the LA Times:

Acupuncture for fertility: Doctors say, 'Why not?'

By Elena Conis, Special to The Times

Jackie Apuzzo is 16 weeks pregnant — something she was beginning to think would never happen.

Following nine years of unsuccessful efforts to have a baby, including failed in vitro fertilization, a miscarriage and a diagnosis of endometriosis, the 37-year-old social worker finally visited an acupuncturist on the advice of a friend. After two months of acupuncture treatments and a regimen of Chinese herbs, she became pregnant.

"I was a little apprehensive about the needles at first," said Apuzzo. But in April, Apuzzo's acupuncturist in Santa Monica looked at her tongue, checked her pulse and declared the Long Beach resident pregnant. Apuzzo later confirmed the diagnosis with a blood test.

As more women than ever delay having children until their 30s and 40s, infertility is a growing challenge in the U.S. An estimated 3 million couples are unable to conceive after a year of trying, according to the American Society for Reproductive Medicine. Fertility clinics have done a brisk business in recent years, but now doctors say that a growing number of women who have been unable to get pregnant through conventional medical treatments are seeking out alternatives such as acupuncture. Demand for the traditional Chinese method is so great that an increasing number of fertility doctors now are collaborating with acupuncturists, with some physicians adding acupuncturists to their staff, according to doctors and experts in the field.



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