Many studies have shown that Chinese Medicine and acupuncture can improve fertility for women and men, and we are getting a lot of exposure in the media! As a result, many acupuncturists have made the claim that they treat infertility in their practice but the reality is that most have only received a minimal training and no clinical experience during their schooling. At this time, our Clinic Director, Kiné Fischler LAc is only one of two acupuncturists in Portland who is a Fellow of the American Board of Oriental Reproductive Medicine, a fertility specialty certification that requires additional coursework before sitting for its comprehensive board exam. Most acupuncture schools do not offer specialty training so we must pursue intensive post graduate training in order to effectively specialize in fertility.
While it is a pleasure to read about Acupuncture for Fertility as an avenue of introducing the West to the many benefits of acupuncture, it is important to make sure that you are seeking treatment with an acupuncturist who has done the extra training to truly qualify as a specialist in fertility care.
When looking for a Fertility Acupuncturist in Portland, here are some things to consider:
First of all communication is key!
You must feel comfortable talking to your acupuncturist and confident in their explanations of your treatment plan. Ask if you can set up a quick phone call to ask a few questions before setting up an appointment. We want our potential patients to get a sense about whether we would be a good match as their practitioner so we offer a FREE 15 minute phone consult to answer basic questions about Chinese Medicine.
Did they receive training in infertility treatment? With who and for how long?
It takes more than a weekend continuing ed class to understand reproductive medicine from an East Asian Medicine perspective, Western physiology and the variations of treatments offered by Reproductive Endocrinologists. In depth knowledge requires training from conventional western medical doctors separately from learning how to treat infertility with Chinese Medicine. Personally, I am very passionate about women’s health, so I have been fortunate to train with conventional Reproductive Endocrinologists as well as the top practitioners of East Asian medicine. Here are just a few of my course titles to give you an idea:
- Treating Complex Gynecological Conditions with Evidence Based Acupuncture.” Dr Elisabet Stener-Victorin
- “Combining TCM and IVF to Improve Clinical Outcomes” and “The Treatment of Infertility” with Jane Lyttleton – world reknown Chinese Medicine physician
- “Regulation of the Menstrual Cycle and Neuroendocrinology” Dr Paul Magarelli (Reproductive Endocrinologist)
- “Implantation to Birth: Acupuncture and Herbs to Support Better Pregnancy and Birth Outcomes” with my all time favorite mentors Debra Betts, Sharon Weizenbaum, Claudia Citikovitz
Do they work with your local fertility clinics?
Depending on your health, it may be necessary to refer you to a clinic for some labs or diagnostic exams. Having a professional relationship with a fertility clinic can facilitate communication between your practitioners. If an IUI or IVF procedure makes sense at some point, it helps to work with an acupuncturist who is trusted by the fertility clinic and can offer complementary care based on the treatment plan defined by the reproductive specialist. We are honored to work with the doctors at Oregon Reproductive Medicine, OHSU Fertility Clinic and several private physician’s offices that offer fertility care.
How much of their practice is focused on fertility?
The more clinical experience an acupuncturist has with fertility, the more honed in their skills and effectiveness. We love to treat the whole family for a wide variety of ailments, but Willow Tree Wellness Clinic is known for our specialty in women’s health, fertility and pregnancy care. Around 80 % of our patients fall into this category and we have over 10 years of clinical experience.
Where is their clinic? Do you feel comfortable there?
You need to feel emotionally safe and comfortable discussing intimate, emotional details of your reproductive health. Make sure you feel supported and the boundaries are respectful.
What are their fees? Or do they bill insurance?
There is a range of fees, and the most expensive does not necessarily equate to the most successful treatment. And on the other hand, you do not want to go for the cheapest alternative either! Many insurance plans include acupuncture in their benefits – ask if the acupuncturist is an in network provider on your plan and if they bill insurance directly. I am in network with most major insurance plans as a preferred provider: MODA, United Healthcare, BC/BS and Pacific Source. We will explain your insurance’s acupuncture benefits before the first appointment. We keep our fees moderate for those who do not have insurance coverage, I want to keep my services affordable and accessible to all patients.
Anyone who claims that they have a secret method. There is no secret sauce that only some are privy to. A realistic treatment plan involves nutritional advice, lifestyle changes, herbal medicine and time for the body to recover from hormonal imbalances
Anyone who makes unbelievable claims – if it sounds too good to be true, it is. No medical practitioner can make guarantees. Working with natural methods takes time to get the body back into balance to be successful. You should see improvement with each treatment but the time line is based on your individual circumstance.
Call us for your Free Phone Consult
If you are in Portland, Oregon call us today at (503) 281-0030 to set up your Free 15 minute phone consult.
We also support and often refer to other local fertility acupuncturists – it is our goal to find the best practitioner for you!