Monday, June 6, 2011

TCM: I Want Success Rates from You Too!

Being the data whore that I am, I crave statistics. I want to know what % of which people get pregnant after x many years of trying and with what diagnosis and with what treatments.

Now, I do know that statistics are fallible but they do, at least, give you some trend and hunch at the best path to take. For example, I do know that after 4 unsuccessful IVF tries with my own body, my chances of success on a subsequent cycle with my own body are less than 5%. However, there was this ONE online friend who tried and tried with her own body and finally got pregnant on IVF #10!!! So there's no reason to let statistics rule your life, but there is reason to at least let them help guide you.

The last few days, I've been revisiting some of my older TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine) books and natural fertility methods to gear up for my DE IVF cycle, so I can feel like I've prepped my body in the best way possible. But as I start to revisit these books, I remind myself of all of the hope in there that if I just change my whole life and mindset, I could become pregnant naturally.

And as I revisit these books, I've started to feel let down by myself and by TCM. By myself first because I went in blindly to these methods of TCM and of natural fertility and gave it my all with out even understanding how much they really could help. But then I get mad at TCM, because there really is NO WAY to know exactly how much they DO help. Why can't they publish THEIR success rates? There are just a bunch of stories in these books that make you feel like if you really do change what you eat and how you think and add a few herbs and other things, you too can pop out a baby in no time... Oh, there ARE are a FEW studies in the literature that show how acupuncture does actually help increase IVF rates. But there are no real hard facts or statistics, that show, if you spend a year doing x, y and z in Chinese medical or natropathic traditions, a certain percentage of you will get pregnant.

I feel stupid sometimes as I look back now for spending so much money and time doing acupuncture, cooking herbs, taking yoga classes, seeing this specialist and that specialist, without really reverting to my true nature, of questioning the trends behind it.

But let me state my disclaimer. This is in NO way intended to knock on TCM or the fact that it actually DOES help millions of women/partners get pregnant, and I must fully admit that it has greatly helped me deal with the STRESS of infertility and other issues in my life and I know some of the the changes I have made will stick with me for my life... AND,  I do know it's vitally important to have a healthy lifestyle to help increase or odds at success, BUT, I just feel a bit jaded now, especially when I think back to the naive person I was a few years ago, jumping full force into thinking that we could achieve our own natural pregnancy, because, by gosh, all I needed to do was stick a few needles in me, eliminate a few things in my diet and bend my body in a few ways.

Thanks for letting me vent... man, that felt good.


St Elsewhere said...

You vented right. See, even if TCM and all this will help some people, it won't be a rainmaker for everyone. And if you have dabbled in the alternative as well and yet are empty handed, the feeling of being jaded is obvious.

Cyndi said...

Tippy - I'm currently on a TCM treatment only. I've also wondered about statistics. My Dr. keeps insisting that this will work. I told him I'd give him six months.

I'm putting a lot of faith into this treatment and I have to believe it will work.

It does seem to have a positive effect on women but there are so many factors that is it really possible to say it was the TCM or maybe you just ate the right thing that month. I find it quite frustrating. :-(

Again . . . here's to hoping!

Sarah S said...

There is a great book out there that explains how TCM works and what is it based on, you might want to pick it up, it is call "The Web that Has No Weaver"

Gurlee said...

Oh no! I just wrote a lengthy comment & it's gone. Wtf? Why does this always happen?
The condensed version: I don't have the discipline to commit to tcm, it's hard enough to give up cocktails and running, two of my favorite things! My old doctor believed that whatever you do be it acupuncture, massage, etc. The bottom line is to take care of yourself. We ask so much from our bodies when cycling it's best to give yourself enjoyment and love in whatever way you can.

Jana said...

I've been doing acupuncture since February, usually about once a month and last month also some herbs. So far nothing but the acupuncturist did say last time that all my pulses are very good (isn't it crazy that we supposedly have 6?!) and that he's optimistic. We'll see, I still have 5 months until my next IVF round.

And - I've definitely become calmer since I do the acupuncture.

Anonymous said...

Doesn't venting feel awesome? So glad we get to do that in this forum! Whenever I think TCM, I think Randine Lewis....I'm surprised she doesn't have some stats out there.

I wish I had looked up stats for certain positions, standing on my head after BD, praying to the fertility gods, doing a "it's raining babies" dance, and so forth. ;-) The things we'll try, eh? Although, I happen to believe TCM has helped me tremendously in other ways, it didn't get me pregnant. So I hear your frustration.