We have seen 100's of couples now, so we've picked some case studies which illustrate the different ways we work with people and issues that arrive. We hope you find them useful , enlightening and heartening to read. Although most of these are successes, we have also included some cases with alternative endings to give a properly realistic picture and also some cases that are still on-going to illustrate how we work.
Mary, 38, and her partner had been trying to conceive for 5 years with no success. They had been through two rounds of IVF, also unsuccessfully. Mary first came for acupuncture but it quickly became clear that Chinese Herbal Medicine was going to help her move forward more quickly. The benefits of Chinese Herbs are that you take them daily and don't have to rely on getting to an appointment plus, they are very effective and can make a big difference. We still carried on with twice monthly acupuncture as well to deal with stress and painful periods. Just before Mary's third round of IVF she found out she was pregnant. Unfortunately she later miscarried but we are working with her again as we speak and are hoping for a positive result soon.
Frances, 41 and her partner Louise were having IVF with sperm donation. They were working with the GCRM, with most appointments taking place in Edinburgh and going to Glasgow for egg retrieval and embryo transfer. Frances has a full-on job with a hectic social life attached so the main aim for us was in calming her and preparing her uterus for implantation. Stress has been shown to restrict blood flow so we were aiming to reduce the amount of adrenaline in her body and encourage blood flow to the uterus. Frances conceived after embryo transfer and now has a health baby boy.
Gemma and her husband were both 43 and already had two children but were desperate for a third. People often dismiss the desire for more than one child but it can be as strong as yearning for your first. Gemma was already over-stretched, having two young children, living in rental accommodation whilst looking for a permanent house and a chaotic lifestyle. She came for regular acupuncture to sort out irregular periods and boost energy levels but she and her partner also saw our nutritionist to build up their levels of minerals and vitamins. People with a stressful lifestyle often have low levels of vital vitamins & minerals as the body uses up it's resources more quickly to deal with the stress. After 8 months of regular treatment and a huge improvement in diet, Gemma conceived and had a baby boy.
James & Florence had been trying for three years with no success. They were both in their late 30's but he worked in the oil industry and was away from home much of the time. They had a session with our conception coach and worked out that, over the three years, they had only coincided sex with Florence's fertile window about 3 or 4 times! Florence had assumed that she ovulated on day 14 of her cycle, when in fact, after her conception coaching session, she discovered she actually ovulated around day 10. This happens much more often than you would believe because women are told that they always ovulate at day 14. This is only likely in a regular 28 day cycle. Once this became clear, James and Florence became more focussed on her correct fertile time and conceived the first month of trying.
Tim was based in London but was working in Edinburgh for a short period. His first two semen analyses showed low sperm count and motility. He had been having acupuncture in London which had improved this and he wanted to continue his treatment whilst in Edinburgh, in preparation for IVF. He came for four acupuncture sessions and had another semen analysis done once he returned to London. This showed an even greater improvement - enough to mean they could have IVF and not ICSI treatment.
FIona came to us with intense dysmenorrhea (painful periods) leaving her bed-ridden two days per month. She had not had any investigations done as the symptoms had been dismissed by her GP as 'being part and parcel of being a woman'. We recommended she see a specialist who performed a laparoscopy and diagnosed endometriosis which was immediately treated. Previous to her surgery she had regular acupuncture which reduced the symptoms to such an extent that she could work on the two days she used to take off. Post-surgery her symptoms were negligible but she still comes in once every few months as an 'insurance' against the pain returning.
Charlotte had two boys and was trying for a third but had horrendously heavy periods, leaving her incapacitated for a few days every month. She was extremely overweight and confessed to drinking at least two pints of milk per day. A quick chat with our nutritionist helped her understand the link between body fat and oestrogen levels - the more body fat you have, the more oestrogen can be stored, leading to an over-build up of the womb lining and potentially endometriosis. She cut out the full fat milk and reduced to one glass of semi-skimmed per day. After 6 months her weight had reduced, her periods were manageable and she conceived.
Marta, 28, was probably the most stressed person we have ever treated. She had already paid out a considerable amount of money on private tests and had self-diagnosed various hormonal issues. There were lots of things we worked on - improving her and her partner's diet was a big one as they ate masses of processed meat and drank a lot of fizzy drinks. We focussed on upping the nutrient levels and also balancing Marta's hormone levels. She conceived twice but miscarried each time. We have since been encouraging her to stop all the treatments and focus instead on some counselling and hypnotherapy to keep her stress levels under control. We feel that once she has managed to gain control of her stress, and now that they are both eating well, it won't be long until she successfully conceives again.
Lynn came to us with previous still-birth history. Her daughter had died at 5 months gestation and Lynn was now ready to try and conceive again. We did a lot of talking, reassuring and also used acupuncture to reduce anxiety. Lynn conceived quite quickly but continued to come for acupuncture weekly at first, then monthly to keep anxiety and stress levels low. Lynn now has two healthy children.
Jane and Rob had a history of 5 miscarriages over 1.5 years. She was in a state of high anxiety which was effecting her sleep and he was getting depressed. Their GP had told them to keep trying and had not suggested any test. We recommended a Hair Mineral Analysis and in the meantime used acupuncture to keep Jane calmer and help her sleep. When the results came through, they showed that where Jane's lead levels were high, Rob's were through the roof! Rob didn't want to accept the results as he was sceptical about the Hair Analysis so consulted his GP. The GP confirmed, with a blood test, that Rob's blood lead levels were at a very toxic level. This, we discovered was probably due to Rob stripping old (lead containing) paint from their new house over the past year. Rob and Jane both undertook a 3 month detox with our nutritionist to help their bodies excrete the heavy metal. Jane went on to conceive immediately afterwards and give birth to a baby boy.