Thursday, December 24, 2015

Alternative medicine in IVF

When patients come to me for IVF treatment , I often encourage them to use alternative medicine such as acupuncture, yoga and meditation. There is no medical proof that any of these things help , but I also think that these are treatment options which have little downside.

If patients find the right alternative medicine doctor, they can actually be quite happy with their treatment experience, even if this doesn't increase the pregnancy rate. The reason for this is that a lot of alternative medicine is very hands-on, and because these doctors are so good at touching the patient, they provide a lot of comfort and reassurance which can be very valuable for IVF patients , many of whom are very anxious , and find it difficult to cope with the stress of IVF treatment.

The trouble with IVF specialists is that we're so focused on the medical technical minutiae , that we spend most of our time either poking or prodding our patients; or doing blood tests and scans and procedures. We pride ourselves on our technical skills, and we often lose sight of the fact that IVF patients need a lot of emotional support, counselling, hand-holding and reassurance. This is something that alternative medicine practitioners do a far better job than most IVF doctors do, which is why they can play such a valuable complementary role.

At the end of the day, it's not important what works or why, as long as the patient get pregnant !

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