This client’s story highlights suboptimal fertility in both the man and woman and how this impacted on difficulties maintaining a viable pregnancy and resulting in recurrent miscarriages.
Debbie was aged 36 when she sought my help. She and her partner had been trying for two years naturally to conceive and then undergoing fertility treatment. It had been an arduous time for Debbie, over five cycles of IVF had resulted in 3 three pregnancies and all lost, the latest at 13 weeks. Not unsurprisingly, Debbie was struggling with depression and seeing a counsellor; sex had become increasingly difficult for both partners.
Following an in-depth consultation her blood tests and irregular menstrual cycle suggested polycystic ovaries, though no ovarian cysts had been detected on ultrasound. Her partner had poor sperm quality. We commenced weekly sessions over three months in preparation for her 6th IVF. Her menstrual cycle before IVF had gone from a long cycle to 28 days, which reflected a better hormonal balance and was an encouraging sign. I had given some advice to Debbie’s partner on lifestyle changes he could make to improve the quality of his sperm. At this IVF, although his sperm had improved, ICSI was still required. This cycle resulted in the transfer of two blastocysts.
Due to her previous miscarriages we continued weekly treatment until 13 weeks and then reduced sessions to every two weeks until 32 weeks. At this point, we decided to increase treatment frequency as twins tend to be born before their due dates and she was also suffering with acid reflux, anaemia and had pelvic girdle pain (sometimes called symphysis pubis dysfunction) and rib pain. I was able to ease her aches and pains but at 33 weeks one twin was shown to be breech, having been head down throughout the pregnancy. Unfortunately the usual acupuncture treatment for encouraging better birth position could not be done, as there is more of a risk of inducing labour in twin pregnancies. The twin did not change position and both twins were born by c-section at 36 weeks. The twins weighed about 7lbs each, which was above the average of 5.5lbs and both were healthy. Debbie and her partner were thrilled; it had been an incredibly difficult journey for them both.