One of Dawn Balusik's extra areas of study is infertility. Acupuncture & Oriental Medicine can be used alone or in combination with conventional assisted reproductive technologies for both male & female fertility. Below are some news clips and articles regarding acupuncture for fertility, as well as some success stories from a few of Dawn's patients.
When I walked into Dawn's office last February, I had just undergone a second round of IUI which, I would find out a week later, did not work.
I have been diagnosed with severe endometriosis. It took 7 years to be diagnosed, and it was only after an ultrasound showed a tumor on my ovary. I had been told for months by the doctor that it was only a cyst and to not worry. I was in excruitating pain. The day after my ultrasound, the doctor operated. I had two tumors, and lost my left ovary and tube. I was 27 and not ready to start having kids. I had another surgery when I was 29, to remove more endometriosis lesions.
When I was 31, I went to a fertility specialist, and was told I had less than 3% chance of conceiving a baby naturally, and less than 40% chance with IVF. I was also told by multiple doctors and specialists that I could only come off of my birth control pill for 6 months to try to get pregnant before the endometriosis would come back and I would need another surgery.
The last round of IUI caused a cyst, so I decided to take a break from invasive fertility treatments and see if Eastern medicine could help heal my body.
When I walked into Dawn's office, I felt for the first time that someone in the health care profession understood what I was going through and was just as disheartened that it had taken 7 years and the loss of my ovary to diagnose this disease. Dawn diagnosed me with "Blood Stagnation" and suggested a diet, herbs, castor oil packs and acupuncture treatments. Most weeks I went for 2 acupuncture treatments. I did everything she told me to do and I also read "The Infertility Cure" and followed recipes and the suggested diet from the cook book.
Each month I worked with Dawn I saw an improvement in my menstrual cycle: it became more regular as a cycle of 31 days. The pain was not as intense, the blood was healthier, and most of all, it lasted longer. When I first started seeing Dawn, I was have a 24-hour period. After 5 months of Dawn's treatment, I was having a 5-day period. Also, the acupuncture helped with my anxiety about not getting pregnant, and feeling that I was running out of time.
Five months into treatment with Dawn, I went back to the fertility doctor: my cyst had gone, and my one remaining ovary was producing more follicles than ever. In fact, that cycle, I had 18 follicles! My husband and I were considering doing a round of IVF, as I felt my body was now healthier, and IVF might work. However, that month my period never came. I conceived naturally, and I am currently 9 months pregnant!!! I continued weekly acupuncture treatments throughout the 1st and 2nd trimester and then went to bi-weekly treatments in the 3rd.
I firmly believe that without Dawn's help I would not be pregnant, and I will be forever grateful for her wisdom, understanding, and this beautiful baby growing in my belly.
-Charlotte H., Clearwater, FL, Feb 2013
When I stopped taking the birth control pill in preparation for trying to conceive I experienced amenorrhea, or absence of menstruation. My gynecologist did an ultrasound which showed that my ovaries had the string of pearls appearance which is the hallmark of Polycystic Ovary Syndrome.
I began fertility testing and treatment with a Reproductive Endocrinologist (RE). Further hormone testing indicated an imbalance in my FSH and LH levels that was keeping me from ovulating. I went through months of invasive testing - blood tests to check hormone levels, glucose tolerance testing and an hysterosalpinogram to see if my fallopian tubes were blocked. My tubes were normal and I was not found to have glucose intolerance.
The RE finally decided to put me on Clomid with timed intercourse and a self-administered abdominal injection to ensure release of an egg. I also had to have monthly vaginal ultrasounds to make sure my ovaries were not hyperstimulated by the Clomid. After two unsuccessful tries with Clomid I went back in to talk to my RE, who I had only seen once throughout the months of testing. When she began talking about in-vitro fertilization I realized that I needed to take a step back and look at other options. In-vitro is a wonderful innovation but I felt that I was being pushed towards a costly, invasive procedure before more simple methods had been exhausted.
I stopped going to the RE and went looking for an acupuncturist. I found Dawn Balusik and went in for my initial consultation, with images of painful needles running through my head. What I found was nothing like that. Dawn was kind and concerned and took an impressively thorough health history, asking what I thought were all the right questions. She began treating me with acupuncture (which was not painful at all), started me on herbal supplements and recommended some diet changes.
My weekly treatments with Dawn were peaceful, relaxing times that took me out of my busy life and made me take a breath. After just a month of treatment my cycle began to regulate. And after just two and a half months of treatment I was pregnant! No drugs, no medical procedures, no timed intercourse. Dawn continued to treat me throughout my very easy pregnancy. I did not have morning sickness or many of the other common irritations of pregnancy.
In November 2011 I gave birth to a healthy, eight pound baby girl. I can't thank Dawn enough! I highly recommend her to anyone experiencing fertility issues.
- Kim H., Clearwater, FL, May 2012
My husband and I had been trying to get pregnant for about four years. I am an extremely healthy individual and found this extremely frustrating. After the doctors ran tests on us and I had a laparoscopy, we determined that there was, in fact, nothing medically wrong with us.
We were referred to the Reproductive Medical Center. We unsuccessfully tried a few rounds of artificial husband insemination (IUI) and eventually we tried in-vitro (IVF) in the summer of 2006. I signed up for the shared donors program. We produced eight eggs. I donated four of them and we were able to use two of the four we kept. Unfortunately, we had an early miscarriage. Six months later a friend of mine suggested I try acupuncture.
Dawn Balusik met with me and suggested that I try acupuncture and associated herbs for a couple of menstrual cycles. Thereafter she would switch me to fertility herbs. She suggested that I may have blood stagnation, and that the acupuncture and the initial herbs would help increase blood circulation, which in turn would help maintain a pregnancy. I tried acupuncture and herbs for the two months and noticed less clotting in my period by the end of the second cycle.
After being a patient of Dawn Balusik for two cycles I was offered a free in-vitro cycle as part of a study the Reproductive Medical Center was conducting. My doctor asked that I discontinue the use of herbs, but allowed me to continue acupuncture. I did so and this time we produced fifteen eggs – thirteen of which fertilized. We were able to freeze eggs as well as use the two healthiest.
We have had no problems thus far and are currently about ten weeks pregnant. I am continuing to see Dawn on a regular basis to help with blood circulation in order to maintain a healthy pregnancy.
— J. Wright, Clearwater, FL, June 2007
I’ve been wanting to send you this thank you for a while, but got caught up with moving into a house and trips up north for baby showers! I truly believe that your acupuncture treatments helped us to conceive our miracle baby through IVF and I can’t thank you enough for that amazing gift that you have shared with us!
You really make a difference in people’s lives and have a very special way of making a positive change when people’s bodies aren’t healthy! Your knowledge and care of your patients really shines through and we will be forever grateful for all you do. I will definitely be seeking your assistance on the next time around! Thank You again from the bottom of our hearts!
- Kirstan C., Tampa, FL, Dec 2012
After suffering multiple miscarriages (between 7-9 weeks) and dealing with the pain of endometriosis, I decided to take the advice of an OB/Gyn family friend and try acupuncture. She had used acupuncture during her IVF treatment and given birth to healthy twin boys.
My husband and I had been trying for a baby since 2003. After more than two years and three miscarriages, we consulted a fertility specialist. For a year I underwent endless blood tests which were unable to determine any problem. I began doing intensive online research and felt certain my symptoms matched those of endometriosis.
It took another six months of treatment and another miscarriage before I complained enough about the pain to convince my doctor to perform bilateral laparoscopy surgery where he found Stage 4 endometriosis and removed several large cysts from both of my ovaries. He stated that he was amazed I had conceived at all and was surprised I hadn’t complained more from the pain. I had...for the entire duration of my treatment.
After surgery I was put on the drug Lupron to shut down my ovaries for a couple of months in an effort to let the rest of the endometriosis cells die. This drug caused night sweats, hot flashes, cramping, bleeding and mood swings. Two elevated FSH tests followed which prompted my doctor to recommend the possibility of looking into donor egg IVF as my best option of conceiving a healthy baby.
Not convinced that this was the necessary next option, I turned to acupuncture. After three months of treatment with Dawn Balusik using acupuncture and herbs, and a healthy diet, I conceived naturally and had a healthy, problem-free pregnancy. For the first time in four years I was pain-free, and being treated by someone who was optimistic, supportive, and receptive to my questions and concerns.
In July 2007, I gave birth to an 8 lb 10 oz baby boy! I feel that had I not been treated with acupuncture and the herbs, my body would not have been healed or strong enough to sustain a healthy pregnancy.
If my husband and I attempt to add to our family, there is no doubt in my mind that I will turn to Dawn Balusik and her acupuncture again to give me the mental and physical treatment that I feel gifted me with my son!
- Dede C., Clearwater, FL, October 2007
I sought Dr. Dawn's help for acupuncture after my husband and I spent nearly six frustrating and emotionally draining years trying to have another child. Our first child was conceived naturally and was born at full termwhen I was 38 years old. About six months after that, due to my age, we began trying to conceive again but were unsuccessful. After about six failed cycles, we sought help from my Ob/Gyn. After many tests and procedures (D & C, hysterosalpingogram, hysteroscopy, polypectomy) my infertility remained unexplained and we began Clomid therapy.
I initially did not conceive, however after increasing the dosage twice I successfully conceived. At six months gestation, I went into labor and gave birth to stillborn twins – a boy and a girl. After our joy of conceiving and carrying seemingly healthy twins, we were faced with having to bury them. It was completely devastating. I felt broken.
We spent the next year considering our options. We considered other forms of ART as well as adoption, and ultimately after a year decided to try to conceive again. We felt that the loss of our twins would be meaningless if we gave up hope. We again turned to Clomid therapy, mainly because I did not want to change doctors and this infertility treatment was the only one available through her. However, I experienced miscarriage after miscarriage – so many that I lost count – and ultimately in May of 2007 we sought the help of the Reproductive Medicine Group (RMG) in Tampa. I was referred there by my family physician who was also being treated for infertility.
My husband and I underwent several diagnostic procedures to enable Dr. Goodman to determine the best treatment options. Because I was over the age of 43, in-vitro was not an option for me. The recommended treatment was injectible gonadotropins with intrauterine insemination. We agreed to try this approach and had two unsuccessful treatments over the next six months. Given that IVF wasn’t an option and that we were opposed to pursuing treatment with donor eggs, we were almost ready to give up and pursue adoption.
We decided to take a break from the treatments to relax enjoy the November and December holidays and try again in January. At the same time I had begun researching information on acupuncture treatment for infertility. I read an article in Conceive magazine while in the RMG office that piqued my interest. I then went online and read article after article and was completely intrigued. I also talked with colleagues and found that several people I know had successfully received acupuncture treatments for other health issues.
Through more research I found Dr. Dawn, met with her and decided to begin treatment of acupuncture and herbs. I can’t explain why, but upon meeting Dr. Dawn I immediately felt she could help me. I received weekly acupuncture treatments and took fertility herbs for about 3 months, then in January had another round of injectibles and IUI. After the procedure I began receiving acupuncture treatments every two weeks. Two weeks after the IUI we had a positive pregnancy test!
I continued to receive biweekly treatments from Dr. Dawn throughout my pregnancy to maintain a healthy and balanced pregnancy. We had our little "scares" over the next 38 weeks but overall the pregnancy was successful and our adorable daughter Giuliana was born on September 23, 2008. Our little miracle weighed a healthy 7 lbs. and measured 19 ½ inches. We finally feel our family is complete and are so grateful to Dr. Dawn for helping to make this possible. I would recommend her to anyone seeking a natural and stress free treatment for infertility.
- Sonya M., Lakeland, Florida, November 2008