Success Story: Baby at 44 after failed IVF’s + a miscarriage.
Trying to get pregnant: 4.5 years
Western Medicine + General Diagnosis Before Treatment:
Endometriosis – some of it previously removed.
Low Progesterone (14nmol at 7 days post ovulation. This should be at least 30nmol)
Primary Female Infertility – Age related infertility
Elevated TSH (Thyroid Stimulating Hormone) level: indicating a slightly underactive thyroid.
Low energy levels
Low vitamin D levels
Low vitamin B12 levels – likely due to long term vegetarian diet
No previous pregnancies with several years of unprotected intercourse.
Western Medicine Diagnosis of Partner:
Good sperm health: 73% Motility, 8% Healthy Morphology, 562 Million sperm.
Western Medicine Suggested Treatment:
IVF as soon as possible.
If not successful then egg donation in the future.
What They Tried Before My Help:
I first met Julie and her husband when she was 42, and they had been trying to conceive for around 2 years. Julie had been searching online for ‘natural fertility’, when she came across my website and free online chat.
Before finding me she had worked on her diet (she was then vegetarian) to try to optimise this as much as she could. She also took a selection of supplements and made some lifestyle and mindset changes.
She felt that her physical health was reasonable but she was regularly really tired and felt that she lacked the ability to function properly.
This made her question whether her energy may have some impact on her fertility health, and her ability to get pregnant
After 2+ years of trying naturally, she hadn’t seen any real progress with the things she had been trying and so she decided to get some help.
She was concerned about not getting pregnant and at 42 the pressure was building quickly.
This is when she decided to talk to me about some help.
Our First Meeting:
We started with a 30-minute free online chat to discuss their fertility journey so far, and to see whether I could help them.
During the chat we talked through their past experiences and future plans as they were planning an IVF cycle. We agreed that it would be best if they prepare for at least 3-months before the IVF cycle, to give them the best chance of getting pregnant.
After the chat Julie was really eager to get started and had decided that, no matter what, she would commit to work on her health naturally before starting IVF.
The next step was to complete a fertility health assessment – through my 3-hour online health assessment to find their unique Chinese Medicine Fertility Diagnosis.
The Chinese medicine diagnosis formed the foundation for everything that was applied later in their journey.
Diet, lifestyle, herbal medicine, supplements, IVF decisions, mindset, and more should all be applied individually to each person – based on their underlying health balance.
Each person has their own unique health balance and only when this is identified can they find the right solution more quickly – and speed up their journey.
What We Discovered – The Chinese Medicine Diagnosis:
Julie and her husband’s health diagnosis provided the foundation that showed us what we should work on – to enhance their fertility health.
With low energy levels, a history of endometriosis, slightly low thyroid function, and a consistently low progesterone level it was clear there was a deeper issue at play.
During the 3-hour online health assessment we:
- 1. Reviewed their medical test results to see what was presenting itself physically and medically.
We found issues with Julie’s Progesterone level and thyroid function.
We also discovered that her vitamin D and B12 were low, both of which affect blood quality and energy levels. She had a history of mild Endometriosis, which is not uncommon to see together with Progesterone and thyroid issues.
With a Progesterone level of 14-19nmol in various tests, it was clear that there was an ongoing issue with her not being able to produce Progesterone sufficiently.
This may have negatively impacted her body’s ability to prepare her womb for implantation of an embryo – naturally or with IVF.
This was a critical area to correct before starting her IVF cycle, to give her the best chance of getting pregnant.
Even with the Progesterone support during IVF it’s vital to treat the root cause of the lack of production of progesterone – before trying to get pregnant.
Failing to do so can negatively impact the IVF cycle, reducing the chance of getting pregnant and having a strong healthy pregnancy.
Synthetic progesterone (Progestin) that is used in IVF is not the same as natural Progesterone produced by the human body. It can certainly help support the body, but if someone is not getting pregnant due to the underlying cause of a low Progesterone level – then the medication will not always help as it is not addressing the actual root cause.
A deficiency of natural Progesterone often indicates a deficiency of Qi (energy) in Chinese medicine.
When the level of Qi in the body is lacking, your body doesn’t have enough energy to efficiently make Progesterone.
As Progesterone is so important for implantation, and a healthy pregnancy it’s vital to address this before trying to get pregnant naturally or with IVF.
Test results also showed that Julie’s thyroid was also slightly underactive, and along with the Progesterone issue this again pointed to a possible implantation issue.
Her husband’s results were really good, and so there was no concern with his sperm count of 562 million, along with all other parameters being healthy too.
Next we looked at their health through the eyes of Classical Chinese Medicine (not TCM).
- 2. Assessed their health with a Classical Chinese Medicine health review. This is to find the underlying health balance for each of them.
A Classical Chinese Medicine diagnosis is about assessing your body from a natural perspective, that is different to the westen medical approach.
This is where I look for the underlying patterns of imbalance in your body – to find the root cause of why pregnancy isn’t happening.
This is how we discovered Julie and her husband’s health balance, which gave us the foundation to know what the issue was and what we needed to work on.
Her husband’s health was relatively balanced, apart from some mild signs of stress. As his semen analysis was so good, we decided that he did not need any Chinese medicine treatment. We agreed that he would review his diet and lifestyle to balance out the effects of his stress.
For Julie we confirmed the root cause of her health issues that presented in the following patterns of Chinese Medicine imbalance:
- Qi deficiency – a lack of reserves of energy
- Yang deficiency – a lack of warmth
- Blood deficiency – poor quality of blood
- Blood stagnation – poor circulation of blood
These patterns presented together, and we’re at the root of all of her symptoms.
Here’s a bit more detail on each pattern, and what it means:
Julie’s Qi deficiency was displayed in her lack of energy, which stopped her body from being able to function at its optimum level. She regularly felt tired, and had become aware of this more recently. This was also reflected by her elevated TSH levels, and lower levels of thyroid hormones (T4+T3).
A lack of Qi meant that her body was unable to properly break down food, absorb nutrients, and create new Qi – and over time this resulted in a decreased level of Qi for her to use.
The lack of Qi was also impacting her Blood circulation, which was involved in the root cause of her Endometriosis.
Qi deficiency (low energy) = poor circulation of Qi and Blood.
Poor circulation of Qi and Blood = accumulation of Blood in different areas of the body, as it cannot efficiently circulate around the body.
Accumulation of blood in the wrong areas (such as the uterus, due to poor menstrual blood flow) = potential for retrograde blood flow out of the fallopian tubes, and into the body’s cavity outside the uterus.
This is a recognised cause of Endometriosis.
See my article on Endometriosis here
A lack of Qi is described as a ‘hypo’ situation in western medicine – a situation of underactivity of the body where your body becomes less able to fulfil its normal functions.
When this happens, getting pregnant takes second place over your general health and well-being, as there is not enough energy for everything to work at its optimum level. Supporting the Qi is vital to help support getting pregnant and having a healthy pregnancy.
Blood Deficiency and Blood Stagnation:
As Julie’s Qi was weak it interfered with her ability to make healthy red blood cells, and her blood quality decreased – causing Blood deficiency in Chinese medicine.
Once her blood quality was reduced it was also unable to circulate properly, which was involved in causing her Endometriosis as I mentioned above.
Circulation of the blood is directly linked to blood quality in Chinese medicine. Julie’s poor blood quality created poor blood circulation that presented with cold hands and feet, and some symptoms of poor circulation during menstruation.
These simple symptoms showed us that circulation in the reproductive area was not as good as it should be. This would impact the circulation of blood to her ovaries and womb and create the foundation for issues such as Endometriosis and reduced egg quality.
When treating a Blood stagnation issue that’s caused by Blood deficiency it’s important to improve Blood quality at the same time as increasing circulation. If you only increase blood circulation, you will further weaken the blood and the situation will get worse.
Another aspect of poor blood quality, and circulation, is the negative impact on egg health. If the blood is weak it can’t carry the right level of nutrients, and so the eggs are not properly or fully nourished. Over time this weakens the eggs, and reduces different aspects of their quality.
Yang Deficiency and Low Progesterone
Julie’s body also showed signs of coldness, which indicated a Yang deficiency (lack of warmth). The strength of our Yang (and Qi) is also related to our ability to produce Progesterone.
Low Progesterone levels usually occur from a deep and long term lack of Qi and Blood, which weakens the Kidney adrenal glands and ovaries – causing a reduction of progesterone after you ovulate.
This lack of Progesterone had likely been going on for many years, and it needed to be adjusted before Julie’s IVF cycle took place.
Once we had the western medicine diagnosis, and the Chinese medicine root cause understood, we had our complete diagnosis in place.
We were then able to use this as a basis for deciding on how to effectively treat and restore her fertility health.
We created a 2 part action plan:
Part 1: was to continue trying to get pregnant naturally, whilst working on Julie’s health with Classical Chinese Medicine – to prepare for a natural pregnancy within 6 months.
We chose the following 3 of my 5 Fertility Foundations to work with:
1. Treatment: Herbal Medicine prescriptions were personally created for each stage of Julie’s menstrual cycle. This was to strengthen her Qi and Blood quality and increase blood circulation, whilst also working to strengthen her Yang – and thereby increase Progesterone.
2. Diet: As Julie had been vegetarian for some years we agreed that it had not been supporting her sufficiently, as her Qi and Blood were too low.
Her diet was adjusted to support the herbal medicine treatment and gradually move her to a meat based diet. We started with bone stocks, and then increased meat consumption to slowly build her Qi and Blood. We removed all processed and flour based foods along with alcohol, sugar, caffeine and dairy to a greater degree. We increased her green vegetable intake too. Gradually we rebuilt her energy reserves and blood quality, and worked to increase circulation of her blood.
3. Lifestyle: We worked through key areas of activity versus rest and rejuvenation, that could support her Qi and strengthen it. This helped her greatly alongside the herbal medicine and diet. It gave her such an energy boost that she quit her job and became self-employed – something she had longed to do for years but never had enough energy. This had a hugely positive effect on her mindset too.
Part 2: was our back-up plan that would be activated if a natural pregnancy didn’t happen within 6-months.
It was decided that if they reached this stage they would immediately progress to an IVF cycle with Julie’s eggs.
After having spent 6-months optimising her health and preparing for pregnancy, she would then have a much better foundation for a possible IVF cycle.
Creating this 2 part action plan allowed us to balance Julie’s fertility health naturally, whilst preparing her for a possible IVF cycle if it was needed.
Having an IVF preparation time would help with egg quality, future embryo development, and optimising implantation of a healthy IVF embryo.
By the end of the 6-months, Julie wasn’t pregnant and so we activated part 2 of her plan.
Her health had increased significantly and although we had hoped she’d be pregnant we were still really pleased with her progress.
We supported her through her IVF cycle with Herbal Medicine, Diet, Lifestyle and Mindset support.
The IVF cycle went well at each stage and resulted in a positive pregnancy test.
She had made it to a pregnancy in her first IVF cycle now aged 43!
We continued to support her throughout the pregnancy and she was doing really well.
Unfortunately she fell ill and developed a high fever, which lead to a miscarriage a few days later.
We were devastated that she had come so far, and that a fever had resulted in her losing her pregnancy.
Although she was deeply upset, she remained positive and decided to take a bit of time out and just continue with some herbal medicine support with me.
Once she was ready we planned a repeat IVF cycle. This cycle didn’t result in a pregnancy and so we moved her on to a 3rd cycle, by which time she was 43.5 years old.
This 3rd IVF cycle went well, and resulted in a positive pregnancy.
This was the 2nd cycle out of 3 that had resulted in a pregnancy, which was a testament to her improved health.
She was pregnant again and so we supported her pregnancy into the 2nd trimester.
This time she remained well and had a healthy straightforward pregnancy.
She gave birth at age 44 to her healthy daughter – and had finally reached her goal!
Julie and I have kept in contact and it’s wonderful watching her daughter growing up – and Julie’s amazing role as a mum!
We’ll shortly be releasing the full story as told by Julie in a video interview with me.
Until then, here are some personal words from Julie that she shared online whilst offering someone else some support:
” Don’t give up!
Andrew supported me on a program – I changed many things in my life.
It worked after what felt like hard work but hey, it got me the prize!
We have an amazing and beautiful daughter, and to get there we had to put ourselves first. Invest in our health, wellbeing, and a professional program.
I am forever grateful I found Andrew”
Julie Christian, 44, UK.
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