Monday, January 23, 2017

How to Stop Your Natural Fertility Treatments

Infertility is expensive.  No matter how you slice it, it's costs a lot to get all the tests, lab work, scans, blood draws and sometimes even surgeries for both the husband and wife.  IVF on average is $10,000.00-$25,000.00 per month depending on what the couple needs throughout their cycle.  IUI's are around $1,000.00 per month.    It often takes several IVF attempts to have a healthy baby born.  Even acupuncture, when used weekly to help build Kidney Yang and Jing to enhance fertility and balance hormones gets expensive over time.  Add in the vitamins that are critical to many infertility problems and then the thousand year old herbal medicine to enhance fertility with the additional consultations to make sure your herbal medicine is working, needing to change to different formulas or re-check labs: it all adds up.

We often encourage our patients to take a break, from it all, and many do.  It's just too hard to go on and on and on with negative pregnancy test after negative pregnancy test.  After a year of treatment for our patients under 35 and after only 6 months of treatments for our patients over 35 we tenderly and gently  bring up other options like mini or Japanese IVF or even adoption.  All of our patients of course have already considered these options on their own, before ever seeking our expertise.  But it's important to talk about options.  These are difficult conversations to have with our patients as they are hoping we have all the answers for every single patient: we don't. 

Many flat out refuse our suggestion of IVF initially and it's not something we obsessively bring up of course.  But with some education about mini IVF and our success in prepping patients prior to their treatment, they often do finally hear our suggestions.  Only a small percentage of our patients ever need IVF but when they do, we work closely with a center who tries to be the least invasive as possible and due to the lower number of prescription drugs they use, the cost is about 1/2 of traditional IVF. 

 It often takes several promptings on our part over several months to encourage them to at least do a consult.  It's a fine line between encouraging your patient to seek other options and not making them feel abandoned or that you have given up on them.  Let me be clear: we never give up on our patients.  We may refer them out for further testing or refer out for IVF or talk about pursuing adoption but we never give up.  Giving up on a patient is not our job.  Our job is to encourage, give hope and do all we can to support their fertility for as long as they want.

Often we hear their resistance: "but you helped me ovulate on my own, for the first time in my life, I'm not ready to give up".  Or "but I don't have the endometriosis pain anymore, after 10 years of it, doesn't that mean we are more fertile?  Maybe it will be next month?" or "my labs show my hormones are balanced for the first time, I can't stop now" or "my husband's semen analysis went from infertile to fertile for the first time ever, we can't take a break".
We understand.  It's impossible to know how long to seek treatment, any treatment, natural or not.
It's hard to know how many IVF's to do before you stop. Or how many IUI's with Clomid.  It's so hard to decide but your doctors will make suggestions and we will guide you.

We say it over and over to our patients, post it on our FB business page and post it on our health blogs: No one can tell when the tide will turn.  No one can promise you 100% success with their treatment, not even us, not even IVF.   You have to look within.  You and your spouse have to decide if you feel the treatments are helping you and you have to decide when to stop treatment.  You have to decide when to give up hope or to move on to another solution or simply change directions by adding in a different approach in addition to what you are already doing.  No one knows if it's working or not,  until it does and you have a positive pregnancy test.

It's a tough call and patients hate making that call. But we can't make it for them.

We often urge them to take a break and give them a big hug when they have the courage to do that: We are honest when we encourage them to stop all herbal medicine, stop their vitamins, and stop all acupuncture.  It takes courage.  We tell them, enjoy your life, enjoy your husband and the love you have together.  Go on vacation.  Go on dates. Talk with your therapist.  If they don't have a therapist, we often refer out to one.  Take a break, save some money, stop thinking about infertility every minute of every day.  It's hard.  We know, it creeps into your thoughts even when you don't want it to. We live it every day with our patients. We have to make difficult decisions every day.

We often encourage our patients to do a consult with the IVF doctors after they have been coming for a year.  Sometimes we recommend they do a consult with an IVF doctor after our first assessment and treatment.  We know it's another $250 just to talk to the doctor for  half an hour but it gives them power to know if this doctor thinks IVF could help them.  We understand their consult  includes no treatment, but their expert opinion is valuable.  Surprisingly,  not all of our patients will hear that they are a good candidate for mini IVF.  The doctor we refer out to will not always say yes to our patients. That is heartbreaking to hear, but they are honest about their expectations and that can empower our couples to find another clinic or to keep trying naturally or to stop all treatment and save money for adoption.

Often, if a patient chooses to go through IVF they will continue with their acupuncture.  They will come less frequently than before, but it helps reduce anxiety and helps them with their PMS symptoms or with their side-effects from drugs and for some it can help reduce their pain.  We never, ever suggest continuing on with herbal medicine once patients start taking fertility drugs.  Many studies have shown prepping with acupuncture and herbal medicine prior to IVF increases the success of the IVF by over 50%.  This is encouraging to the patient and they continue with our care. Together, we help couples get pregnant.

Within our practice we created packages for patients in our practice to help make things more affordable.  We have kept those prices for the packages the same cost for 9 years.  9 years without raising the price is something we are proud of and have done it intentionally. Even though the cost of running a practice goes up annually we wanted to kept that option intact for our patients.  Some of our practitioners handle the intensive, more in depth assessments and recommendations, pouring over cases for hours during their initial and on the re-evaluations.  Other practitioners continue to offer the packages for follow-ups to make chronic medical conditions, like infertility, more affordable.  This enables our patients to receive the best of both worlds: in-depth research, expertise and recommendations coupled with more affordable follow-ups.  Many of our patients see both practitioners Kristen and Tony Burris, L.Ac., M.S.T.O.M. to take advantage of these options, scheduling different appointments at different times throughout their fertility treatments.

One of the greatest compliments we ever received in our practice was when another Acupuncturist and Herbalist, who also treated infertility in her practice, came to us for help getting pregnant.  After her long, thorough, investigative initial evaluation and acupuncture treatment she was awe struck.  She said right then and there she couldn't believe she had told patients she treated infertility all of these years in her practice.  She said, I don't treat infertility after all and she referred every one of her infertility patients to us that day. What we do during our initial visit and during our re-evaluations for patients, spending hours and hours going through past labs, current labs, semen analysis and evaluating them from a Chinese Medicine perspective it different, it's exhausting and laborious and we love it. 

Another surprise was when a reproductive endocrinologist (the doctors who offer IVF) referred his wife to us for treatment.  It was a life altering moment in our practice that happened over 10 years ago and we will never forget it.  Their baby girl is a beauty!

We see miracles happen every week.  We witness what was once impossible become possible. It is never up to us to stop treatment: that would be unethical.  It is never our right to take that hope away from a patient; that would be cruel.   It is our job to instill hope, not take it away. 

Don't be a afraid to take a break for a week, a month, a season, or a year.  Look inside and you will find the answer.  Ask the experts and they will help you make the best decision you can.

Need a consult?  We offer free initial 30 minute consultations for our patients over the phone

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Infinite Ideas to Support Your Chronically Ill Friend or Family Member

  1. Showing empathy goes a long way “I’m so sorry you are still suffering.  If we ever make plans and you need to break them because you don’t feel well, it’s ok with me.  I understand.”
  2. Jewelry: Most women love jewelry.  Who doesn't love the little blue box from Tiffany's? Many companies make custom jewelry today and some even have specific jewelry depending on what chronic illness she may have.  It’s pretty special to know that your family member or friend acknowledges your suffering through such a kind gesture.  Every time she looks at her wrist or wears the necklace, she will feel loved by you and know you care.
  3. Last minute text to go out to a movie is always a winner.  She will know then if she thinks she has the strength to make it through a two hour show.  Always offer to pick her up so she doesn’t feel awkward asking for a ride.
  4. Group massages can be a saving grace.  Ask her if she’d be open to it and then go together.  You can plan ahead, but know she may not feel up to it that day.  Often those community massage centers have openings so you can call one hour ahead.  

5. Be compassionate, knowing that she lives in a constant and rather annoying state of making blind decisions for which there is no guarantee if she is making the right choice.   Something as simple as driving to the grocery store may affect her energy, mood or happiness. Something as small as making dinner can wipe her out for days and often she won’t know how it affect her day to day and until after she has done it.

6. Make her one fresh, one frozen meals and drop them off (ask about allergies or sensitivities or possibly a new diet she may be trying first) Pack them both in disposable containers and add a sweet note saying "These containers don't need to be returned." Often dropping off a meal, rather than sitting and chatting is a welcome gift.

7. Arrange for her children to have a play date or a sleepover at your home.   (Only offer the overnight if they have done that at your home before so you don’t put her on the spot). When calling her say “I’d like to find a time when I can have your kids come and play.  When is a good day for you?  I’ll pick them up around 11 and they will be home before bed. Does that sound good? “

8. Don't make this person into a your personal medical project. They most likely have spent hours researching their own ailments and treatment plans.  Instead ask “Is there anything I can research for you?” or “Is there a book you have been wanting to read about your mystery illness I can get for you?” or “I’m going to the library this week, any books you want me to pick up for you?” Research can be exhausting and overwhelming so asking is a kind gesture.  

9. Sometimes connecting people who get it and also suffer is helpful.  " I have an amazing friend I’d like to  introduce you to.  Would you be willing to chat with her via email or phone?  She has recently has been diagnosed with a chronic illness and feels pretty isolated.  You two may have insights to share that could be helpful?"

10. If you live nearby stop in unexpectedly and let her know you are here to wash her car or if you are super tight friends , just do it without ringing the doorbell put a little note inside for her to find the next time she must get in her car. If you live far away, research a local carwash and buy her a series of 12 washes to get her through the next year.

11. Don’t tell her “you look good?” if you really mean, I don’t believe you are really suffering from anything real.  It’s ok to compliment her by saying “you look good, I’m sorry you still feel so awful!”
12.Test results can be scary and doctor’s visits humiliating or exhausting. You can ask her, "Do you want me to come to your next doctor’s visit and take notes?  Do you want me to hang out with you the day you are expecting test results? I could come over for a couple of hours and you can rest on the couch while I read or cook you dinner?"

13. When you feel helpless about their suffering simply ask, "What do you wish people understood better about how you feel and what you are going through?"

14. If you could have one thing taken off your plate for the next year, what would it be?  Then figure out a way to fulfill it.  If it’s dinner every night, start an email thread and once a week each person brings food over on their night.  They can simply make more of what they normally make and bring it by.  Always ask about new dietary restrictions and google recipes that fit that description.  If you find enough friends (30), they could take turns once a month for a year as an act of service or kindness.  If you don’t know their contacts, ask them for their information.  Even if 7 friends, once a month, made dinner, that would be a huge burden lifted from her. If she doesn’t have a large number of friends you could have your church members sign up and drop it off in a cooler on her front porch so she doesn’t have to feel bad or awkward in front of strangers.

15. Mail her a gift card to a local restaurant so she can use it on one of her bad days.
Never, ever make her feel guilty about things that she cannot do. In fact, she probably does that to herself and it’s a living torture.  

16. Mail her your top 5 favorite movies to watch and send a note that reminds her, resting is healing and nothing to feel guilty about. If she needs to relax in the daytime, and watches a movie, this is not a luxury, it’s a necessity and her family and friends need to understand that.

17. When you finish reading a book you enjoy, bring it to her or pop it in the mail.  If she is too tired to read, ask her if you can get it for her in audio form.

18. If she does needlepoint or cross stitch buy her a kit so she has something to do other than lay around and feel miserable.

19. Ask her some time, "Would you be comfortable having your name on our prayer list at church?" Not everyone is comfortable with the healing powers of prayer and others are just really private.  It’s always good to ask first.

20. Don’t make living too far away an excuse not to show that you care.  We have google, amazon, and everything online.  Even from out of state you can order her dinner.  Order dinner from a local restaurant that either a. delivers healthy meals or b. has takeout near her home.  If she is really down and out ask her husband to pick it up instead ; or if you live nearby, just do it for them.  Just email, text or call your friend “I’d like to order dinner for you from …Duke’s Chowder House or Rice Thai Food.  What would each family member like?  What is the best time for dinner to be brought to you and if tonight isn’t good, when is a good night I can do this for you? If that never works out, just buy her a gift card so she can use it when it’s convenient.  
21. Prayer is awesome but instead of saying, "I will pray for you," which feels condescending and assuming try , "I'd like to pray for you, if that's okay?"

22. Surprise her and show up just to vacuum, or mop her floors. If that’s not something you  or she is comfortable doing ask her if you can gift her a cleaning service to come by once next month or even monthly for a year?  Sometimes it’s easier to hire the cleaning service they use at their home.  More often than not, medical bills are really high and just the gesture of paying for their cleaning is a welcome gift.

23. If you are getting together always ask, "Do you have any errands I can run for you before coming over to your house?" “I’m headed to Target, what do you need?”

24. Ask her to do spontaneous things that require minimal effort on her part.  Like popping into an art museum for ⅓ an hour, listen to a  music concert in the park with assigned seats,  or got to a movie, or even a massage.   She may be more likely to participate since in the moment she will know if it's a good day or a bad day. Planning ahead is almost impossible and people often feel so horrible to cancel plans.  They often just tough it out, but pay for it later.  If it doesn’t work out the first, second or even third time, don’t give up on her if it’s something she would really love to do.

25. It isn’t helpful to say, "Why aren't you healed yet?" She certainly doesn’t know and she would welcome being completely free of all pains, limitations or sheer exhaustion if she could.

26. If your friend used to be a regular in your book club, bunko, girls night or bible class and continuely RSVP’s no...this is time for all of you ladies to step it up.  This isn’t a simple 6 week recovery from a surgery.  This is a chronic or maybe even life-long debilitating condition and illness.  If she has always been there to celebrate with you, think about rallying the women to do something special for her once a month.  

27. Don’t say “I wish there were something I could do?”  Because there is so much you can do, near or far, and it feels empty to hear that. Set an alert on your phone, once a week or once a month to send your friend something, leave a message, mail a card, or give and act of kindness.

28. No matter what her age is, think of her as your 90 year old grandmother who tires easily and needs help around the house.  Your friend may look well, but she may feel horrible.  Stop treating her like she was her former, healthy, self, because she’s not and she is probably in need of compassion,empathy and a helping hand. You never get mad at an elderly person who needs a nap or can’t go for long walks, in fact , you often say sit here grandma or let me do that for you.  If you aren’t sure, remember she probably feels that rotten.
29. Don’t say “You need to ask for help”.  This further burdens your friend when she already probably feels pretty isolated and embarrassed by her inability to do what she used to do or what she thinks she should still be able to accomplish.  Instead, offer help, ask questions and think outside the box.  If one gesture doesn’t work out due to timing or comfort level, try something different in a few weeks.

30. For a thoughtful gift, drop off  or mail her a set of festive paper plates, napkins, and plastic silverware with a note that says “Because nobody likes doing dishes." Many shops have funny napkins like “wine goes with everything” or recycled paper so no one has to feel guilty about more paper waste.  

31. Gift her a beautiful box that you either buy or make yourself  so she can  keep her notes of encouragement and well wishes. Be sure to mail her some, because today, very few people actually write hand, written notes.  Remind her to print off sweet emails or social media posts adn add that to her treasure box.  Suggest she can open the box any time she is feeling down so she is reminded she is still appreciated and loved by many.

32. Be her voice. If you are at an event and walking or seating is an issue because of her invisible disability, ask her if she'd like you to drop her off while you park or get an easy access seat?
33. If she loves prayer you could ask her "Would you like me to find you a prayer partner from our church?" Then try and partner her with someone who she would connect with.

34. Love animals?  You can offer to take care of her animals when she is in the hospital or in recovery from a treatment.  Or you can even suggest that your animals have a playdate for the day if her animal causes her stress.
35. If her illness has a major charity already established, donate in her name or go to a walk in her name.  You can even get a team to walk with you.  Or if you aren’t sure what she is suffering from you can always ask which charity touches her heart the most and then give a donation in her honor.

36.  Chocolate and massage anyone?  If she is up to it ask her :  "What are your  top 3 guilty pleasures?" and then spoil her unexpectedly.  

37. This may seem really silly but it genuinely helps:  Hold the door open for her whereever you go. Doors these days are heavy and can cause unnecessary exertion.
38. Once in awhile just call to check on her:  "I can be the person you vent to anytime you need it. I'm here to listen anytime you need me, so I’ll check in and see if you need to vent, Ok? ."

39. Ask your church youth group  to come over and do major yard work before and after Spring, Summer, and Fall until she feels better.  This may be for a year, or a lifetime,  but the major overhaul in their yard will be a huge burden lifted not just from her, but her husband too.  He too often has a lot more on his plate due to her illness.

40. If she has a disabled parking placard and you happen to be driving, allow her to tell you where she wants you to park that day: close or far. If she's having a good day, or good hour, she may want to walk a bit. Every day is different and the added steps can be a welcome change for her. Refrain from saying you are so lucky to have this placard: what I wouldn’t do to always get great parking.  I’m sure she would give her left arm, not to feel like hell most days.
41. Forever friend: You may have to accept that her chronic illness may never, ever go away. If she has found a way to be at peace with this possibility, never suggest that she is enabling the disease to make her negative.  In fact, you will want to commend her on her courage.

42. Empty offer:  Never, ever, ever say:  "Let me know if there is anything I can do." People rarely feel comfortable saying, "Yes, my dirty laundry and while you are at it, my dishes." Instead pick something you are willing to do and then ask her permission. If she says no thank you, offer again another time.  If she says no, then maybe she is more comfortable getting a nice note in the mail with encouraging thoughts or a bouquet of flowers just because.

43. Send her flowers

44. Send her plants that filter bad air.  If she has pets, research if the plants are poisonous to the animal and avoid sending those.  

45. Buy her a basket of magazines she can thumb through when she is too tired to read and not energetic enough to watch a movie.

46. Plant a low maintenance bush that flowers where she can see it from her favorite seat in the house.

47. Never insinuate that it must be in her head. There are millions of people who are in pain with illnesses that do not have diagnosis, treatments or cures.

48. Don’t pressure her to go to an expensive medical clinic that will have all the answers unless you are willing to pay for it.  Putting her family in financial jeopardy may feel like a selfish thing for her to do and she may not have courage to spend $30,000.00 in one week to find out, they don’t know what is wrong. If you have the money to pay for this visit, by all means, treat her.  Otherwise, this is a cruel suggestion that only makes her wish she could afford it.
49. Don’t assume because she works, she is fine.  Many families depend on two incomes to survive.  She may muster up every possible ounce of energy just to keep her family from going bankrupt.  If she manages to work part-time and still provide for her family, don’t tell her how lucky she is or how you wish you could work part-time.  I guarantee if you had to suffer only one day the way she has for the past year or even decades, you would crumble and retract your ridiculous comment.  Instead, drop her a note or some flowers at work and say “I know sometimes it’s hard to keep going, I’m proud of you and the courage you show each day”
50. If you friend or family member fell ill and at first you showed some concern but time has gotten away, do something else.  More than likely she feel isolated, lonely and forgotten.  She can no longer go on hikes, or play tennis or swoosh down the mountain on skis, but she is not dead.  Call her and say I miss you!  Can we go out for tea, or can I come over to your house and sit with you?  I can weed while we talk or just sit and catch up?  A little goes a long way and you don't always have to spend money on your friend or family member to show you care. 

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Baby Maker's Take: Abstinence, Ovulation and Intercourse & Finding Your Fertile Days

Many couple attempting to get pregnant have no idea when to have sex.  Those who don't suffer from infertility offer their advice: "All of the time!" But this neophyte advice can be counter productive to achieving pregnancy for a couple who may have multiple factors inhibiting conception.  Even men with perfect semen analysis, may not fair well, once inside the woman's body. 

The Perfect Storm

  • Timing 
  • Environment
  • Sperm Quality
  • Egg Quality
  • Lubrication
In this Article our Fertility Expert, Kristen N. Burris, L.Ac., M.S.T.O.M., better known as the Baby Maker, will be reviewing Timing for getting pregnant.

The easiest way to predict your most fertile days is using an at home ovulation predictor kit. But not all tests and monitors are created equal and they affect the timing of intercourse so be informed on what type of monitor or test strips you are using.

 The one we suggest, is the most advanced, and the most expensive.  It's called: the Clear Blue Fertility Monitor and costs around $200.  We found it cheaper on  Why it's more advanced?  It checks two hormones, Luteinizing Hormone (LH) and Estrogen (E3G),  to predict a woman's most fertile days. Most strips are only checking for an LH surge that often happens 24-36 hours BEFORE you ovulate, but those are averages.

This monitor also stores up to 6 cycles, giving you critical information about your cycle.  It's known that up to 40% of women have up to 7 days of varying fertile window days throughout their cycle.  Sadly, many couples are ill-advised that if they check one month of their cycle they can rely on that information for all other months.  This is incorrect and bad medical advice.  Check monthly for optimal results.

 When and How Often to Have Sex

Now that you have mastered which days are your peak fertility days, what does that mean and when do you actually have intercourse?

No two couples are the same, and individualizing this advice can be helpful depending on their personal circumstances including, sperm quality and quantity, impotency, cervical fluid or lack there of and regularity of ovulation including average fertile window days for each individual.

However, general recommendations can be followed improving your fertility.

If your peak days are 14 and 15 this is what you would do:
The week before you expect to ovulate (usually day 6-11) you will have your husband abstain from any ejaculation at all.  Day 12, when you monitor (the expensive and advanced one) most likely is showing a high fertile day, aka smiley face,  you would have intercourse.  Then abstain Day 13, then have intercourse Day 14 and either again on Day 16.  The rest of the month, freely be intimate as often as you want, however, once you hit Day 6 again, it's time for 5 days of abstinence.

Abstaining helps bolster sperm counts yet it becomes the quality of the sperm is stagnant and often clumping together inhibiting it's ability to move freely once released.  By allowing your husband to offer his first ejaculate on a day when you haven't peaked yet, gets rid of his least optimal sample.  Then, a day of rest, helps him re-build and then on your peak day, it's the most optimal day for intercourse for both you and him, that is if your monitor is checking BOTH LH surge and E3G.  More on that to follow.

Day 16 is more like an insurance policy, you will probably not need it, it may not be effective or cover what you actually want, but it's nice to have it there just in case.

When to have intercourse if you are using the suggested monitor Clear Blue Fertility Monitor that checks for both LH surge and E3G:

If your PEAK or SMILEY FACE Days are Day 14 and 15 This is what you would do:
Some couples opt to have intercourse back to back on their most fertile days
Abstain Day 7-11
Intercourse Day 12  (getting rid of stagnant semen)
Rest Day 13 (building back up)
Intercourse Day 14 (peak day for you, best sample for him)
Intercourse Day 15  again (second peak day)

Apply this formula around YOUR TWO most FERTILE DAYS

If your PEAK or SMILEY FACE Days are Day 11 and 12 This is what you would do:
Abstain Day 3-8
Intercourse Day 9
Rest Day 10
Intercourse Day 11
Intercourse Day 13
(OR some couples just can't resist a SMILEY face day and have Intercourse on Day 12 too like the example before this one)

Apply this formula around YOUR TWO most FERTILE DAYS

But My Ovulation Sticks Only Check for LH Surge

IF you are using cheaper monitors or sticks that JUST detect LH surge, intercourse days are different so pay attention.

On the first morning you detect an LH surge (usually start testing Day 10 and continue until you get an LH detection (pink line) and then stop checking every morning once you get a morning where there is no detection)

Day 5-10 Abstain
Day 10 Start Checking for LH surge
Day 11 Check again
Day 12 Check again
Day 13 FIRST Detectable surge so  have intercourse to rid stagnant sample
Day 14 Intercourse (optimal sample and optimal day for potential ovulation is today or tomorrow)
Day 15 Abstain then  Continue having intercourse every OTHER day until you no longer see evidence on your sticks that LH hormone is detected ie: Day 13, 14, 16, 18

Repeat this formula around your detectable LH surge days.  Those days vary considerably for some women.  

 If you are going through IUI (intra-uterine insemination)
After working along side with dozens of OBGYN's and Reproductive Endocrinologists (R.E.'s) I have observed many different styles and recommendations for when to have an IUI.  This is what I would advise.  Follow your doctor's recommendation for an un-medicated (all natural), or medicated IUI, and on the morning of your first PEAK fertility day go in for an IUI.  The next day follow up with a second IUI on your second PEAK day. If your doctor refuses to do back to back IUI days, then be sure to have intercourse on the second peak day.

  Do not wait an entire day after you ovulate, as some doctors suggest to their patients.  I suspect these doctors are going off of what they learn a decade or so ago.  The old ovulation monitors used to only show LH surge exclusively (not checking for E3G), therefore predicting you would most likely ovulate 24-36 hours AFTER the LH surge is detected.  But what happens when the first detectable amount was actually during your sleep, let's say 11pm that night before you check.  Then you waiting an entire day and a half to go in for you IUI, let's say 1pm.  Then it's too late and poor medical advise.
Newer monitors get you closer to your peak days, which means you need sperm to get pregnant to meet you egg.  When you see PEAK or SMILEY face, it's definitely go time, not wait another day and a 1/2.   A talented doctor will use ultrasound to confirm ovulation and monitor you throughout your fertile week to decide on the optimal day do the actual insemination.

Some other sweet suggestions to help those swimmers along and support conception as well as implantation:
After intercourse use a pillow to prop up your hips, allowing gravity to aid in the sperm motility
Try to do this for at least 1/2 an hour to 1 hour.  Some women just go to sleep for the evening and don't rise until morning

Eat pineapple (1 cup a day for a week).  One study showed that eating FRESH pineapple, especially as much of the core as possible, helped aid in implantation.  There are different theories including increased enzymes called bromelain as a nutrient that aids in implantation through slightly thinning the blood, increasing circulation and reducing inflammation.

Resume your normal activities the day after.  They used to be adamant about bed rest, and now new science is going back on that saying to return to your daily routine.  We do however, suggest keeping exercise to a moderate amount, not intensive, exhaustive levels.

Note: Medical Advice is not advisable over the internet.  It is always best to seek advice from experts in person for the variables can be confusing and need personalized attention.  Ask your natural fertility doctor for a personal recommendation.  Consultations are available throughout the US (208) 938-1277  
Baby Maker Infertility Consultations

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Connecting the Dots Immuno-Suprressant Therapy and Infertility

 Today the world found out that Glenn Frey a lead singer for the Eagle's Rock Band in America died.
A dear friend was so upset by this saying something to the effect of : "He died from Rheumatoid Arthritis and Colitis and Pneumonia at 67!? How is that possible?  I know a ton of people with rheumatoid arthritis.  Why are we dying so young? This is all too much"

Is it worth dying from medication?

I explained to her, that although I was not privy to his medical care, my expertise lead me to connect the dots.  He didn't actually die from Rheumatoid Arthritis.  He died from the prescription drugs he was taking to "treat" the rheumatoid arthritis which in turn diminished his immune system, causes an acute flare-up in his colon (colitis) and catching a virus that turned into pneumonia that in turn killed him. But sadly you don't read that in the paper and you think, well, we are all going to die some day. But you don't learn there could be a better way and a way to stay alive.

As I said before, I was not working with him personally on his case but the deduction of what happened was quite simple and even more scary, commonplace for treatment for many medical conditions.  Many of these medical conditions are serious and deblitating and most feel they don't have a choice but to take the prescriptions however, few of those patients have even tried natural medical treatment.  They may have dabbled, or tried acupuncture a few times to say "it didn't work".  That isn't consistent treatment, that isn't whole care. That isn't what I'm referring to.  Or they may say, I took some herbs.  Those didn't work and they tasted bad. Most people don't see a master herbalist, which is critical in serious medical cases.  Googling an herb and trying it is not medicine.  Taking one herb at a time, is bad medicine and ineffective anyways. 

Here are my speculations:
Mr. Fry was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis.
He was then prescribed immuno-suppressant therapy including cortico-steroids to control his pain in his hands (I'm assuming) particularly since he was a guitar player and still performed. 

Here in lies the problem.  These drugs are so effective they lower your immune system. Mind you, they don't just lower your immune system; they actually kill your immune system.  These drugs prevent your immune system cells from dividing; if they can't divide, they die. But we don't read about that, do we?

So what?
Your immune system is vital for keeping you alive, preventing cancer and preventing infections.  Preventing infection in your respiratory system and in your digestive Fry.  He had both.
It's vital to fight off infection, keep viruses from attacking your colon and  even an innocuous cold can turn to pneumonia and cause death, like Fry.

How Did We Get Here?

Immuosuppressive therapy was created for organ transplants.  When you are fighting to live, in an organ transplant situation, these risks seem like a reasonable, albeit, frightening risk to take.  But when struggling with pain, that could be treated with acupuncture, herbal medicine and dietary changes instead, why wouldn't you try the natural medicine? Most don't.  Most don't know they could or rather should.

What Are Your Options?

So what are people who suffer from pain to do?  What if you have rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, multiple sclerosis, crohn's disease, psoriasis, alopecia areota or Addison's disease? What are your treatment options?  Most here the diagnosis and get scared and immediately go on the drugs out of fear.  They don't say oh, thank you I'll get back to you on that.  The doctors often scare them into thinking they could die without the medications or will end up with curved fingers if left alone. The key being, if left alone.  Not, if treated by a master herbalist.  Not, if treated regularly with acupuncture.  If left alone.

This is what you do.  You seek out professional help from the most respected acupuncturist and herbalist in your area. If they are an herbalist, you can be treated from across the country with proper monitoring.   Today.  Not tomorrow.  Not after you have blood in your stool or your bladder is so irritated you have pain each and every time you urinate from more side-effects from the medication.  Not after you are catching every imaginable cold there is out there.  And sadly, if you are there already, that is ok, we can still help you.  It will just take longer to heal your body.

Immosuppressants, Cancer and Infertility?

Then you ask, what does this have to do with infertility?  John's Hopkins, a renowned medical facility in the United States dubbed Nubmer #1 in treating Rheumatology opening shares that immunosuppressant therapy is risky medicine and often lives are taken from it and some even cause infertility.

Cause infertility.

But instead of referring you to a form of medicine that is safe and works for these painful and often destructive forms of disease, they suggest yet another drug that may (or may not) preserve your fertility. Furthermore, long term use increases your risk for cancer.  These drugs also cause birth defects so trying to get pregnant while using them is working against you from every angle.

Beating Back Death Personal Case History

I had a patient, just like Mr. Fry except she was diagnosed with Crohn's disease and was put on immunosuppressant drugs to help her cope and manage with her disease.

She came to me for infertility because she couldn't get pregnant.

Her drugs were doing exactly as the side-effects said they would:
She had blood in her stool
Pus in her stool
She caught every cold and never, ever recovered from them
Exhausted beyond belief
She was puffy, exhausted and miserable

But she wanted a baby- luckily for us that motivates a person

The Chicken or The Egg?

I talked with her about the problem with me trying to help her get pregnant while she was on drugs that she could not be on while pregnant.  She said but my constipation and diarrhea?  I told her I would concurrently treat her for both her bowel disease and her infertility.

She talked to her doctor about going off the immunosuppressants as I explicitly told her I could not advise her to do that, she must discuss it with her doctor.  He adamantly said no, she would end up with a colostomy bag and even worse, get colon cancer.  She told him she was going off, she was under my care and that I would address both her bowel health and increase her fertility. She wanted a baby.  He was less then pleased and demanded she come back in 3 months to be checked.

She went off her medications.
I treated her for her Crohn's and IBS and you can guess what happened; she got healthy.
She got off the drugs that caused infertility
She got off the drugs that were making her sick

No more blood in her stool
No more pain
No more bloating
No more painful constipation or diarrhea
No colds
No runny nose
No inflammation, anywhere
And her exhaustion left her and she trained...for a 1/2 MARATHON!

She was ready to get pregnant.

Her doctor was skeptical and wanted to do another colonoscopy to see how she was doing 3 months into our treatment.  As he was putting her under for the procedure he mentioned a new immunosupressant drug he wanted to try with her. She was shocked.  She knew she no longer ever wanted to go on that type of medication again.

As she was coming out, he was astounded.  He told her that if he hadn't seen her colon before he would have never believed what he saw: her colon was completely healthy.  Not a trace of inflammation or disease. None.

But he cut into her anyway, just to be sure. Her biopsy came back as I expected: healthy.

With her permission, I wrote him a letter informing him that this was no mistake or miracle or fluke.  This was what is expected with my form of medicine and I would love to work integratively co-treating patients together to save lives, prevent infertility and help people from losing their colons or their lives.

We never heard from or received a referral from that doctor.

But the patient was finally happy and healthy and ready to conceive.


Kristen N. Burris, L.Ac., M.S.T.O.M. Fertility Expert In The United States of America

Mrs. Burris takes the most challenging infertility cases in the United States and uses no drugs, nor surgeries for treating infertility.  She has an unprecedented track record with patients seeking help with their complicated infertility problems.  She consults with patients via phone, email and in her private practice in Eagle, Idaho.  (208) 938-1277
For more testimonials, photos and studies visit us here.

Monday, January 4, 2016

Better than IVF

 The Misconception

Recently, a dear friend of mine mentioned that if couples really want a baby badly enough, they just need to do IVF. I about died. 

This dear, sweet, friend has known me for over 12 years.  She has heard about my tremendous successful infertility practice but I guess she doesn't really understand, as most don't.  They read their magazines that constantly tout IVF.  They believe it's that easy; if your pockets are deep.  They think, if they are even aware of natural infertility treatments at all: Why bother with natural medicine?  It must take longer?  It must take more time, more money and must not be as effective? Wrong. Wrong. Wrong. Wrong and wrong, again.

They are thinking: IVF is real medicine.   IVF is simple: take some drugs and mix you and your husband in a tube and you are pregnant.  But boy are they mistaken.  It's not their fault.  It's media.  It's our doctors referrals to Reproductive Endocrinologists, not as a last resort but a first option.  It's our TV shows, our magazines, our big pharma, books, advertisements, movies and on the flip side, we rarely ever see acupuncture and herbal medicine portrayed in a true-to-life fashion.

I was beyond words when she said that IVF was a guarantee. I thought if one of my closest friends believes this, the world related to infertility is doomed.  How can we get the word out?  How can we educate people suffering from infertility? How can we right this devastating wrong?  We can and we will with facts, testimonials, studies, education and best selling books then movies. 

I was astounded at what she had said and started to spout the truth:

Acupuncture is exponentially more effective than IVF. Herbal medicine when prescribed is 1/10th of the cost and 3 times as effective than IVF.

Patients get pregnant usually in a third of the time compared to IVF.  

IVF Costs $12,000.00-$25,000.00 for One Attempt

IVF rarely works the first time.  Patients have to spend $12,000.00- $25,000.00 a month, a month, just to try for a baby with no guarantee.  They often become over stimulated, risking hospitalization or death.  Fertility drugs have proven to cause long term, very risky health problems for the woman.  Egg donor is pushed hard to increase the fertility centers weak odds.  They virtually ignore male factor saying they choose the best so not to worry, when in reality how are we to choose the best when God (if you believe) and nature pick the best, not doctors.  If they are the best, why do so many embryos die?  Why do so many pregnancies fail?  Are you prepared to create 10 or 20 of your own children only to know that within a week half of them will all die?  Are prepared for the emotional turmoil?  Are you aware that so many of your children will be created only to die?  Are you aware that often you will have your own children, frozen in time to never have an opportunity to be born?  Only to be flushed away or used for science.  Those are hard, unspoken truths about IVF no on is talking about. 

She was like, wow, I had NO idea.  You never hear about that in regards to IVF.

I was numb and sad but now, I'm inspired.  We are all so misinformed.  We don't know.  It's time that changed.

But Acupuncture is Weird

We either see an ancient Chinese man, who doesn't speak English, doing strange, mysterious things in an unclean environment with dim lights and smokes abound.  

Acupuncture Must Hurt 

Or we see the hyper-exaggeration or using 1,000 needles, the grotesque exaggeration of how it feels, always over emphasizing pain, rather than the actual peaceful even blissful feeling most get with each treatment.  

But in reality, what my friend so erroneously assumed is what the majority of people think.  It so very sad.  A travesty in fact.

So many suffer from infertility and they think IVF is their only option and that it actually works, the first time and if not, eventually is must. But they couldn't be more wrong.

This baby girl, born December 2015,  proves Acupuncture and Herbal Medicine is better than IVF.

Acupuncture and Herbal Medicine  Vs. IVF 

 (David Vs. Goliath)

* Studies prove our medicine is exponentially more effective
* Acupuncture and Herbal Medicine carries no life threatening side-effects
* Patients are twice as likely in 1/3 of the time to conceive and give birth compared to IVF
* Our fertility program costs a fraction of IVF
*Once pregnant our patients are far less likely to miscarry
*Ectopic pregnancy is almost completely avoided with our treatments
*Our live birth rates are higher
*Our babies overall are healthier and have fewer birth defects (so far, no serious birth defects in our practice of 15 years)

December was a month to remember. Here are some more precious newborn pictures of the latest miracle "infertility" baby born from our fertility treatments to inspire you during your struggles with infertility. .....I think it's time I hunker down and write a book for once and for all.  

For more inspiring testimonials and studies visit our website.  We offer consultations throughout the US for the most difficult infertility cases.  (208) 938-1277

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Two Fold Pregnancy Rates Average in 4 Months Compared to 12 months of IVF

When you think of infertility you think of IVF.
You hear about In-vitro Fertilization.
Then you may think, that would never happen to me.

It's one of the number one questions I receive in my practice "Why didn't I hear about you earlier?" "Why didn't my doctor refer me to you?" "I wish I had known this before I went through 6 months of Clomid, 3 failed IUI's and 4 failed IVF's" "Why aren't there more news stories?"

The beauty about medicine today, that is different from even 15 years ago, is you have the tools and the power to research and share your findings with if not hundreds of people, maybe thousands or even millions.

Quickly reviewing a few of my patients successes I realize we need to empower more women and men struggling with infertility.  We need to educate our doctors and nurses about what is working for infertility and preventing miscarriage and to whom to refer to.  Not everyone is a specialist in fertility and those who generally treat everything, generally get average results. A vague response from your doctor when you ask about acupuncture as "oh, ok, sure you can try that." Is not a referral.

This is complicated.
It's complicated physically, emotionally, even spiritually.
Labs are missed or misread or misinterpreted.

5 years or 4 Months?

Just this week a patient of ours, who had sought the expertise of several doctors and nurses for 5 years gave birth.  5 years of failures and yet in four short months we were able to help her get pregnant by making recommendations for her and her husband.  The speed with which they had success getting pregnant with us far surpasses the proof that Acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Herbal Medicine, when prescribed by an expert in Traditional Chinese Herbal Medicine Practitioner, (not googled, not recommended by a friend or even a doctor who has no training in herbal medicine), patients are astoundingly:

Twice As Likely in 1/3 of the Time to Get Pregnant Compared to IVF

Two fold pregnancy rates average in 4 months compared to 12 months of IVF (at a fraction of the cost with no horrible side-effects)

This is truth.
This is affordable.
This is life-giving medicine and we need to empower one another.

Another patient comes to mind, whom I treated this week.  She has sought the expertise of family doctors, OBGYN's, Nurse Practitioner's in OBGYN's offices, and even Reproductive Endocrinologists (those are the doctors who treat with IVF).  Eight years of suffering.  Eight years of unknowns.  Eight years of heartache.  Eight years of medical bills. Eight years of miscarriages and a very long time between her ability to get pregnant.  Eight years and her doctors and nurses did not refer her to me.  Eight years.

That's a long time to wait for anything but the possibility of a not having a baby, it's nearly impossible to survive.

In one visit, I diagnosed her problem from a Traditional Chinese Medical Perspective.  In addition to that, I told her several labs that were missing that would confirm my Eastern Medical diagnosis from a Western Medical perspective.  She would have to have the courage to ask her doctor for the lab work to be done.

Eight years of infertility gives a woman a lot of courage.  

Her response was something like this: They have never been able to help me.  You are an expert in infertility and I am here to take your advice.  I will ask. I will take the herbal medicine you prescribed.  I will take all the vitamins you suggest. I will get the acupuncture.  I will ask for the labs to be drawn.  And guess what happened.....

In one visit, after eight years of waiting, I was right; from both an Eastern Medical approach and a Western Medical approach.  It's one of the gifts of having 4 years of medial training in graduate school where an entire year is dedicated to western medical training.

I observed and gave patient care treating patients as equals, as colleagues, together with doctors and nurses at UCSD University of California San Diego, San Diego Hospice, and Pomerado Hospital in Poway, California.  San Diego Fertility Center, La Jolla IVF, Reproductive Partners, Reproductive Sciences Medical Center and Infertility, Gynecology and Obstetrics, to name a few.

How To Marry the Two Sides of Infertility Medicine

I learned a lot from those professional relationships.  Medical information was shared generously.  I was not considered a side-note.  I was an integral and important part of our success.  I witnessed hundreds of patients prescription recommendations, dosages, responses.  It was such a priveledge because I could observe how each reproductive medicine doctor worked, what protocols they preferred and what types of outcomes they got.  I saw so many couples in that 7 years of integrative approach, I could have a new patient tell me what their Reproductive Endocrinologist reccomeneded or their OBGYN recommended and I could tell them what doctor they were seeing.  They each were that predictable.  They each stuck pretty close to identical protocols for each patient irregardless of diagnosis. 

I knew the inside working of fertility centers, not just the end result which often was tens or  hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt with no baby.  But we don't hear that story often, do we? We hear about the miracle IVF baby.  We hear about celebrities who couldn't have children if it weren't for their IVF.

The truth we often don't hear about is people do have medical options.  


There is infertility medicine that is:
More Effective
Less Invasive
Healthier Babies
Fewer Miscarriages
Faster Success Rates

In fact, it's Twice as Effective as IVF and in a fraction of time (Average is 4 months with correctly prescribed Traditional Chinese Herbal Medicine compared to IVF).

Time is money
Time ages us
Time is losing hope
 Time tears apart marriages
Time opens up room for more miscarriages
Time is not on our side when it comes to infertility

If you are looking for studies to back these words you can visit here: Click "Meet Kristen" you will find links to studies there and also under "Other" then "Resources"

One blood draw was all she needed.  

The treatment is simple and she will have her baby.

People ask me all around the country "How do you do that?"
I have colleagues contact me wanting to know what medical texts I use?   What herbal prescriptions to I recommend?  I have colleagues whom after receiving treatment from me for infertility start referring all of their own infertility patients to me instead of treating them their self.  What protocols do I use?

I don't do protocols

Each person and their spouse are individuals.  If they are to have success, they need individual care. The need differential diagnosis.  This is not something you can memorize.  This is not something you can advise through a book.  This is not a cookie cutter approach to buying on-line because they say it will treat your condition.

Your PCOS is not her PCOS.
His semen analysis is not another man's semen analysis.
Your Endometriosis is not identical to hers.  It's impossible to treat with one herb, one cleanse, one treatment.  Impossible.

One answer to the question of how I do what I do is this:

I Just Know Things

I have always been this way, as long as I can remember.  All the training in the world doesn't give you insight like that.  It's not something I can teach.  It's not something that has a name.  It's a knowing.  It's an insight. It's almost always right.  Call it blessed.  Call it Spirit.  Call it intuition.  Call it being a medium.  Call it being psychic.  Call it luck.  Call it smart.  I don't call it any of those things.  I just know sometimes.

The key to my knowing is I share it. 

 I share this wisdom and insight with my patient.  Sometimes, it's not even about them.  It's about their husband.  If they listen things shift quickly.  If they hesitate, think about it, talk it over, ignore it.  It takes time or never evolves.

Just yesterday a patient came in and she was concerned about her husbands lifestyle and semen analysis.  In our practice we never ignore 50% of your infertility; your partner.  Never.

Unexplained infertility is about 1/3 of all infertility cases and if you think about it, even if you have a diagnosis, you always also have unexplained underneath that too.  Women and men share the burden of the unexplained infertility diagnosis equally yet, almost all men are ignored in all practices we have worked with except ours.

I asked her to bring me a copy of his semen analysis.  On my paperwork she checked that her husband had no abnormal semen analysis, no male factor infertility.

In plain english, on the paperwork, written by his doctor was male factor poor morphology.

That IS male factor infertility.

The problem is western medicine doesn't have good treatment options for male factor other than IVF (in-vitro fertilization).  We do.  We were able to advise her on how to improve his morphology of his sperm.  He also had low volume and we have medical recommendations for that too.

Yet another patient comes to mind as a perfect example of how I just know things.  She had gone through seven failed IVF's by the time she sought my expertise.  She was recommended by her friend, not her doctor.

Seven failed IVF's with multiple miscarriages. Did you even know couples could experience seven failed IVF's?  Did you know on average one IVF is $15,000.00-$20,000.00 per attempt?

After one visit I implored her to have a certain test done before her next IVF embryo transfer in two weeks.
She saw me before her transfer several times and after the transfer and then nothing.  We didn't hear from her.  We didn't get a return phone call.  This was not good.

Months later she returned.

She reviewed with me what had happened and apologized for not contacting us earlier. The devastation was too much to bare.

 The acupuncture worked.  By adding acupuncture to her IVF (studies prove an increased 50-62% increased success rate see the baby maker's business page) she got pregnant with twins.

However, she made one huge mistake that her doctors had made for 8 IVF's in a row. She didn't get the bloodwork done that I asked for.  So, she inevitably miscarried.

I was so sad for her.  A bit exasperated I asked her "Will you please take my advise and get the labwork done now?"
She said "Oh, I did"
I said "And?"
She said "I have it, you were right"

One visit.  It took one visit for me to be present with her, see her, review her history, observe her body, examine her past menstrual cycles, and analyze her failed IVF's to make my assessment that ultimately was the key to her success.

She is more than half way through her pregnancy now.

Be empowered.
Follow us on Facebook Eagle Acupuncture for more inspiring testimonies, studies and photos of real couples who once struggled with infertility and are now a family

Kristen Burris, L.Ac., M.S.T.O.M., Dip. Ac. was voted Top Doc 2010 in Eagle and Business Person of the Year 2011-2012. Ms Burris won the prestigious National Association of Women Business Owner of the year 2013 and received referrals from doctors throughout the US including Dr. Mehmet Oz. She is the founder and medical director of Eagle Acupuncture a natural fertility center she runs with her husband.  She consults with the most challenging fertility cases all throughout the US. 

Kristen Burris has been featured in USA Today, Woman’s Day, MSNBC, Yahoo News, Parents, Parenting, Natural Health,& Better Nutrition magazines, The San Diego Union Tribune, The Miami Herald, NPR radio, KTVB Boise, KBOI TV and KUSI TV. Ms. Burris taught graduate school at Pacific College of Oriental Medicine in San Diego, California, one of the most respected colleges in the field of integrative medicine. Throughout her career she has also treated patients at: San Diego Hospice, UC-San Diego Free Clinic, UC-San Diego Dental Acupuncture Study and at the leading fertility centers in California