When I was up in Sheffield last week for my AFC scan, I also made an appointment to see an acupuncturist specialising in fertility.
She asked me to fill in a questionnaire beforehand, which we went through during the session. I thought it would just be a consultation, but after going through my answers, she had me lie down on a chair and pricked me all over with needles.
Now I’ve had acupuncture before, and really rate it. But I did not like this! Most of the needles didn’t hurt, but some of them were yucky.
The acupuncturist said it was because I was at the beginning of my period, which is why I was sensitive to the pain. I hope so as I didn’t expect it to hurt as much as it did. It made me feel dizzy.
It also made me feel very relaxed, once she’d finished puncturing me. She left all the needles in – again, different to what I’ve had before – and I just lay there for half an hour while she left me to it.
But it was flipping expensive. What price do you put on having a baby? Well, the argument is that acupuncture treatment in the grand scheme of things is way cheaper compared with having IVF. A drop in the ocean. But it’s the cumulative cost.
After the session, she charged me £123. I mean, really? And this was in Sheffield! Each subsequent session would be £50.
Luckily, I get £250 towards acupuncture through my work health insurance. If not, I’d have been sobbing.
What she did make very clear to me was that I can’t just have a session before egg collection and a session before and after egg transfer and for that to be OK. I needed sustained, regular treatment.
I explained my timings – that I’d be starting IVF in three weeks, with the business end being end of August. She said it didn’t give me much time, and really I’d need three months of sessions to feel the benefit. At the very least, I should be having one session a week in the lead-up, ideally two.
Who can afford £100 a week? That’d end up costing me almost £1,000 for this IVF cycle. It’s just insane, and yet another thing that if you don’t do, you end up feeling like you’ve not done enough.
I left feeling underwhelmed. She told me I needed to stop exercising so much, as well as my husband. (We go running two-three times a week.) I’m not keen on that. Running is my stress relief, plus I seem to be putting on weight since my first IVF so I need a way to keep on top of it.
All the other advice was common sense, or what I’ve already been doing, like reducing caffeine, alcohol (will cut it right out before treatment) and eating lots of fresh fruits and vegetables.
I’ve still got £127 left in my free acupuncture fund, so I will book an appointment in Windsor this week at a place that’s been recommended to me. Initial consultation is £60, plus £45 follow-up sessions, so I’ll see what they’ve got to say.
I know some people swear by acupuncture during IVF – even my doctor recommended it to me! But I dunno… after spending £4.5K on this cycle of IVF already, I’m not sure if it’s one step too far.