Alternative Treatments for Fertility

Parent Q&A

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  • Hi all, 

    I've looked through the archives but not found any recent posts to help with this. 

    I'm 43 and had one child easily in my late 30s with no issues.  2 years postpartum I was diagnosed with Hashimoto's.  I did the AIP diet and determined I should cut out gluten, which I've been continuing to do, along with reducing dairy, sugar, caffeine and alcohol.  I also advocated to start a low dose (12.5mcg) of levothyroxine given the miscarriage risk associated with Hashimoto's (even when euthryroid).  I've since had two miscarriages in the last 5 months.  

    I also have low Vitamin D, iron, and magnesium which I've been trying to take supplements and improve my diet to fix.  After my second pregnancy, my Kaiser OB told me to ramp down the amount of Vitamin D I was taking (4000 IU) for safety reasons (to 400IU).  After this second miscarriage, I got tested again and my Vitamin D levels were super low, which I know can impact fertility.  I asked my OB if I should be doing other tests to determine what the issues should be and she said no.  

    All this to say, I'm frustrated with my care at Kaiser which only seems concerned that my TSH is <2.5 and otherwise, are not willing to be proactive in the least about addressing my fertility.  I fully realize my age may be the primary factor in my miscarriages but I'd also like to optimize my nutrition and check for any other factors that might be causing issues in the little time I have left to try.  

    Any recommendations for integrative or functional doctors that are familiar with Hashimoto's, advanced age, and fertility (ideally in the East Bay)?  

    Also, after all the reading about the higher miscarriage and complication rates (preeclampsia, stillborn, cognitive issues, etc.) with Hashimoto's, I'd love to hear if you had a positive outcome being pregnant with Hashimoto's in your 40s. 

    Thanks very much!  

    Hi Mama, Our family is seeing Dr Chris Holder with Wild Oak Medicine in Santa Rosa. But mostly it can be Zoom. I find his personality lovely to engage with, direct, and helpful. He seems expert level and we feel well held. Best of luck!

    Hi! I have Hashimotos and worked with Dr Korza at Berkeley Naturopathic Medical Group prior to getting pregnant. She really helped me identify appropriate labs to request from Kaiser (that dug deeper into more than just TSH) and provided supplements to help me on my fertility journey. I found her to be wonderful in her holistic support. It isn't cheap, but was well worth it for me. 

    Hi, I hear you as I’m also a Hashimoto patient suffering with infertility and approaching 40. I have a wonderful endocrinologist, Dr Nathan Becker, and highly recommend him. He is not a fertility specialist per se, but deeply understands the way fertility and hypothyroidism interact. He doesn’t take insurance and is pretty expensive, but he’s incredibly thorough and is usually able to nail things pretty quickly. He operates out of UCSF Parnassus in the city. Good luck, I know what you’re going through. 

    I'm so sorry to hear that you're going through this, it sounds really hard. Miscarriages can be so devastating. 

    I don't have much insight into Hashimoto's and pregnancy, but just wanted to pop in and say that I worked with Carly Wertheim, who is a holistic health practitioner and runs a practice focused on prenatal nutrition. I think she's incredible – she's so wonderful to work with, and provided me tons of detailed and evidence-based tips on how to address issues I was experiencing. She's based in Marin, but I believe she does Zoom sessions mostly! 

    This is her business:

    I recommend Dr. Stephanie Daniel  She has an office in Berkeley.  She helped me get pregnant and stay pregnant.

    Her price went up when I needed to see her again, but I discovered the amazing Dr. Marcey Shapiro. She's moved from Albany to New Mexico but is doing Zoom appointments.  She ran labs for me that others had not ordered before and discovered I have adrenal PCOS, which I'd likely been suffering with my entire life.  Knowing how to address it has been life-changing, to say the least.

    I'm not sure if she practices anymore or just writes books, but Dr. Sara Gottfried used to practice in Oakland.  

    I'm no expert but it sounds like you are low in progesterone, which happens as we age but is also the hormone responsible for holding a pregnancy.  

    I really feel for you! I am a mom who personally had 4 miscarriages, and I am a family physician who regularly counsels women about fertility concerns.

    There is a functional medicine physician I used to work with that I respect tremendously: Dawn Jacobson, MD (virtual visits through Parsley Health)

    It is great news that you were able to get pregnant 2x so quickly. That is very lucky and much better than many women over age 35. Last I looked, only about 87% of women got pregnant even 1x in a year.

    Unfortunately, miscarriage is incredibly common, and 3 miscarriages per woman is actually expected! There is a “recurrent miscarriage” workup that includes looking at antibodies and other factors that cause clotting problems. However, that workup starts after the third miscarriage, based on what is expected vs unexpected. 

    Research studies show that as many as 25% of all pregnancies spontaneously abort (miscarry), even though many of those pregnancies were not even really known - thought to be a late or heavy period, etc. Even more frustrating is that miscarriage rates are expected to increase even more after age 35, continuing to increase gradually every year. Most miscarriages happen due to genetic abnormalities, and this is considered a natural part of the aging process for eggs.

    This means that miscarriages are actually expected a lot after age 35. If you were pregnant 3x in 1 year, it would not be surprising if 2 of the 3 pregnancies ended in miscarriage.

    Sometimes we “speed up” the recurrent miscarriage workup - and fertlity interventions - with a person over age 35 and definitely over age 38. However, there are very few interventions that affect rates of miscarriage. Certainly things like smoking cessation and using anticoagulants for women with clotting issues can help a lot; but that is not the majority of women. 

    Not that knowing what to expect makes this makes it any easier emotionally! Miscarriages are frustrating and painful. Having a constructive conversation about what interventions may help vs those that are known to help for certain patients is key. Hope is important, and so is being practical and setting realistic expectations. Understanding the rates of successful pregnancies at a given age can help couple decide on how patient they are willing to be vs how much intervention they are willing to accept - and to set the time frames for re-evaluating their approach. Time passing is important.

    Your gyn provider may already have mentioned this, but support groups and individual counseling with someone experienced in miscarriages and fertility concerns can be extremely helpful for individuals and for couples.

    Hang in there!

    I'm so sorry to hear about your struggles with your health and fertility. You only mention your Kaiser OB. If your OB hasn't referred you to the Kaiser fertility department at this point, they are not doing their job and you need a new OB and a referral quick. They should have referred you after 6 months of trying and definitely after 2 miscarriages.

    That being said, Kaiser fertility was super backed up when I tried working with them 6 months ago. I was diagnosed with Hashimoto's also after doing the bloodwork for Kaiser fertility. Since I couldn't get a fertility appointment for months and really wanted to get pregnant quickly, I started working weekly with Sean Brown of and then also worked with Both were recommended on BPN. I'm 39 and am 17 weeks pregnant now. I'm happy to discuss more details via private message.

    I have Hashimoto's.  I tried to get pregnant at 39-40, no luck.  The fertility doc at Kaiser said that many women with Hashimoto's also have an ovarian autoimmunity, and that nobody with my hormonal profile would ever get pregnant with her own eggs.  This was many years ago, and I don't know whether a doctor would come to the same conclusion now especially regarding ovarian autoimmunity.  Skimming through the abstracts of medical articles on thyroid function and infertility, I get the sense that the mechanism (or mechanisms) of the relationship isn't completely clear.  (I'm not a doctor, just a biologist.)  We started down the donor-egg IVF path, and the IVF doc said I needed fibroid surgery (not that they had ever bothered me). After that, I stopped developing a sufficient premenstrual uterine lining.  The treatment for that was more surgery.  By that time we were beginning to understand what "high-risk pregnancy" can mean when a friend of ours had a premature baby.  We had one of those 4 a.m. conversations where we decided we could not continue on the IVF path. That kid has since grown up to be a disabled adult.  I went into full perimenopause not long thereafter, so I would say that in my case, thyroid-related early ovarian failure was for real.

    In the end we adopted.  I won't pretend that adoption is easy, but I can say we have a healthy smart delightful kid.

  • I am wondering if anyone can recommend any holistic health practitioners with expertise in secondary infertility in the East Bay - Oakland and environs.  

    I am 40, trying to have a 2nd kid, had an miscarriage about 10 months ago and haven't been able to get pregnant again.  I am working with Kaiser's infertility clinic and have had a comprehensive workup, but would like to also consult with someone regarding supplements, acupuncture, diet, etc.

    I tried searching posts, but didn't find anything recent in the East Bay.

    Thank you!


    sorry to hear about your struggles. We worked with both Kaiser and spring fertility for infertility challenges and I would highly recommend talking to spring fertility. They now have a full set up in Oakland. I found Kaiser to not be flexible in the protocols or treatments they offered. Also, their lab services were inferior and if you look at their success rates on the SART website, there has been a decline in positive outcomes. Spring did customized plans based on your needs and wants (along with the latest science)

    happy to chat more if they helps.

    I highly recommend Root and Stem in Oakland. They seem to specialize in infertility.

    I am seeing Don Gates near Lake Merritt ( for acupuncture and he's been wonderful. I have been seeing him since we started our IVF transfer process in the fall. I am currently 29 weeks pregnant. Obviously acupuncture isn't the only cause of this, but it certainly didn't hurt (I have done it with both of my pregnancies). I feel like Don really listens to and treats all of my symptoms. He has been super helpful with suggestions around supplements and changes to nutrition etc...  He even helped sort through insurance issues as my insurance doesn't cover infertility as a reason for treatment. 

    Hi, I'd recommend contacting Dr. Mary Davenport. She helped me and my husband get pregnant after struggling with infertility. She looked at diet, life style (e.g., exercise), weight, hormone level, general health and specific health conditions. She is very thorough and looks at how everything works together and tries to figure out the underlying cause of infertility instead of just suggesting a one-size-fits-all approach. I highly recommend her. She is currently located in El Sobrante but is closing that practice soon and going completely telehealth. Her number is 510-222-2098 if you want to call her office. Best of luck!

    Try Oldershaw Clinic over on Grand Ave for acupuncture.

    Hi MRLD,

    I recommend Leslie Oldershaw acupuncture on Grand Avenue in Oakland/Piedmont. Leslie and Nicole are awesome! Good luck on your journey.


    Traci Moren of Full Moon Acupuncture is wonderful. She offers acupuncture and herbs, and specializes in fertility and pregnancy. She supported me on my IVF journey.  

    Hi there - I saw Mari Kubota for acupuncture and Dr. Ariel Provasoli for chiropractic work while trying to get pregnant. Both wonderful! Also, it sounds like you’re satisfied with Kaiser but I just want to share that I worked with an incredible fertility doctor, Dr. Aimee Eyvazzadeh. She did a number of tests and procedures that Kaiser doesn’t generally do, which ultimately led to a diagnosis and treatment that I don’t think Kaiser would’ve arrived at. Happy to chat more if you’d like. Best of luck!

    I can strongly recommend Jules Bogdanski in Oakland for acupuncture and support navigating fertility treatment options. Her new website is here:

    I love East Bay Acupuncture and Natural Medicine in South Berkeley.

    Sean is wonderful. I believe about 40% or so of their practice is dedicated to fertility support, and they have a ton of experience in it. I had low ovarian reserve and some fertility issues that were being treated by medical providers. Sean put together an acupuncture plan and herbal formulas, and once the surgery-related medical issues that I had were resolved, I got pregnant quickly (within two cycles). I was 36. I can't say whether this would have happened anyway, but I can say that their support prior to and throughout my pregnancy made a huge difference for me personally. They know what they are doing, and if acupuncture and herbal therapy can help your situation, they will make sure it does. 

    Hi! I can recommend an excellent acupuncturist for fertility - Laura Aguiar in Berkeley. She’s fabulous.

    Sean Hall. East Bay Acupuncture. 

    Thank you so much everyone for your heartfelt replies!!! You all have given me wonderful resources and perspectives.  Thank you for sharing.  Cheers!

  • Dear community,

    I am looking for an acupuncturist who is experienced with fertility in San Francisco. I am 41 and had an early miscarriage in June. It took me a few months to get my period back to regular but I am worried that my follicular cycle could be too short to conceive/sustain a health pregnancy. sometimes I ovulate on cycle day 10 and cycle length is only 23 days. I have two older children. Conception with them was easy, so as with the last miscarriage. Although now I am in my early 40s, I am not sure where my body stands.  Would greatly appreciate any tips/experience sharing/recommendations!

    Double happiness health in SF is excellent. I didn’t have the same issues as you, but they really are experts over there and would be a great resource. 

    Hello - I would highly recommend Blue Ova in Noe Valley. Fertility acupuncture is their special. Good luck! Chessie

    If you haven't already, I'd suggest you get checked out by your obgyn - I had secondary infertility, early miscarriage, and found out years later that I have fibroids and that's almost certainly why I couldn't get pregnant again. I also have very quick ovulation and cycles now at age 42 (used to be regular 28 days), although I don't know if that's related to the fibroids. I really wish I had gotten some imaging done when I was trying unsuccessfully to get pregnant. Blood tests can show whether there are hormonal issues. Good luck!

    Not in SF, but Oakland, but I still thought I'd share: I have not seen her for fertility issues but she has very positive yelp reviews in that regard (look up Heidi Kao on Yelp). I found her very kind knowledgable. Good Luck!

    I saw Naya at Needles and Tea after for help getting pregnant. She was recommended to me by someone else who had seen her and felt her work helped. I LOVE Naya and would recommend her to anyone looking for an acupuncturist. 

    I highly recommend Secret Garden Acupuncture just off union square. Both women who run the practice are extremely knowledgeable and have rich experiences with fertility. Since you are exploring fertility acupuncture, I also recommend the book, Making Babies, co written by a doctor and an acupuncturist.

    I just turned 42 yrs old and had a baby myself! It is definitely possible! I firmly believe that Secret Garden was a big contributor to my success. Best of luck to you. 

    Hi there, 

    I would highly recommend Shawna Seth -

    After two years of trying to become pregnant and IVF treatments I started seeing Shawna. She has been with me every step of the way. I'm 37. 

    She got my body to a place where I could become pregnant (I had weird cycles and a thin uterine lining), sustain pregnancy, helped with pregnancy symptoms, and helped me recover postpartum. She is very gentle and kind. She also accepts some insurance. 

    Good luck!


Archived Q&A and Reviews

Acupuncturist for Male Fertility

Oct 2011

Dear Friends, Could someone please recommend an acupuncturist or any kind of naturopathic person for male infertility. My husband's sperm count is 5million which is really low compared to an average of over 20 million. And obviously we don't want to do any invasive procedures or take unnecessary chemicals. It will be great if this acupuncturist is an expert at female fertility and helping couples conceive. I am 40. But my tests have come back really positive apparently. But one can always use the help. Please help. We prefer anyone in SFO, Berkeley, even San Jose, Palo Alto. Anywhere, as long as they have shown results and know what they are doing. Thank you in advance. Kristina

I recommend Byron Russell for fertility acupuncture work. He works with both men and women. (415) 902-4070; eMail Byron.J.Russell [at] satisfied fertility customer

Try Don Gates in Oakland We saw him for a year and he's great. My husbands count and morphology both went through the roof. He was pretty inconsistent about making it in for the acupuncture but was good about the herbs so make sure your husband takes his herbs. Also, how was his Motility and Morphology? Those count as well. There are people who specialize in infertility but in my experience they mostly charge a ton more. Good Luck! anon

I highly recommend Jill Stevens. She is an acupuncturist and herbalist specializing in women's health, pregnancy, and children. She has a family practice and I know she works with men's reproductive issues as well. Her website is I hope this helps and good luck to your family. Anon

Sean Hall is a fantastic acupuncturist specializing in women's and men's reproductive health issues. He is an extremely professional, knowledgeable, gentle, and trustworthy practitioner. His office is comfortable and calming. I highly recommend checking out East Bay Acupuncture. sadie

Feb 2011

Re: Recurrent miscarriage - resources & fertility recs
I can highly recommend that you talk with Leslie Oldershaw, a wonderful and very knowledgeable womens-reproductive health advocate who blends both Eastern & Western perspectives -- she is an accupuncturist. She has a beautiful, relaxing, and very professional practice at the top of Grand Avenue. She is also works closely with women to help them understand, research, and know their options in interacting with the world of fertility specialists. Her personal, wholistic, and caring environment made a huge difference in my experiences with challenges of getting & remaining pregnant.

If you do go the RE route, I highly recommend Dr. Richard Chetkowski who is a Reproductive Endocrinologist with his own practice near Alta Bates. I find, and know myself, that there can feel like a huge barrier or committment to talk with a RE. But, I highly recommend setting up an appointment to talk with someone like Dr. Chet. He is very clear-thinking and will be able to very quickly help you understand where you may fall in the realm of fertility issues and considerations. Of course, they will always be willing to move forward into helping you (i.e. starting fertility based assistance), but he would be a very clear and kind, experienced doctor, for helping you understand how your situation fits in the fertility world.

My experience is based on using Dr. Chetkowski & Leslie to conceive one healthy daughter (now 2), after dealing with an ectopic pregnancy & a number of fertility issues. I also worked with others, who were *not* good, and so have a strong basis for recommending these two. Good luck. reba

2010 Reviews

April 2010

Re: Partner's zero sperm count
My husband and I saw Dr. John Nieters, our acupuncturist, both times we decided to conceive. Dr. Nieters checked both me and my husband. From friends I know many fertility acupuncturists don't check both parties. We were both treated and given herbs based on our needs. I didn't have much just the regular folic acid but my husband was told to take a combo of herbs to increase blood supply in that area. Dr. Nieters has has many clients who have had motility and count problems. I could not recommend him more highly. He continues his education and is always on top of his medical literature, both western and eastern philosophies. You can check him out on his site at or call 510.814.6900 for an appointment. lex

March 2010

Can anyone recommend a good acupuncturist for fertility? I have read some of the 2008 and earlier archived recommendations but would like to see if I can get some more up to date recommendations. On the East Bay would be perfect, but other places would be fine too. Thanks!

I highly recommend Jennifer Carino in San Francisco, 415-377-8655. She has really educated herself on this and I believe she helped me finally become pregnant when I underwent IVF and then a frozen embryo transplant. I am now 8 months pregnant and all signs point to a healthy baby. Best of luck. expectant mama

I am seeking an acupuncturist/herbalist who specializes in fertility and pregnancy related issues in East Bay. Nina

I highly recommend Carla Dalton (510) 524-4812. I had seen several acupuncturists for fertility issues before Carla, but with no success. Then I asked my ob/gyn who she recommended, and started seeing Carla. Within 3 months, I was pregnant with my son. I had a complicated pregnancy, and Carla was also great throughout. My boy was born healthy and on time, and continues to thrive. Best wishes to you. Carolyn

I can highly recommend Claudia Weitkemper of Natural Healing Ways ( on Marin and San Pablo in Albany. When I had problems to conceive, I saw several acupuncturists; all were pretty vague about my condition and the potential success of the treatment. Claudia told me what she thought the problem was and said that I'd be pregnant within 6 months. I was in disbelief. But she was right! I credit her not only with becoming and staying pregnant, but also with a relatively easy first pregnancy at age 41. She was so supportive and understanding during our entire journey together. You could not find a better person to guide you through this! grateful mother of a 2-year old

I have worked with Abigail Surasky. I recommend her very highly. While the fertility work we did was back in 2008, she also helped me with fertility issues in 2004. Both times I got pregnant when my Kaiser OB said my ''normal'' hormone testings would definitely not indicate pregnancy as in any way likely (meaning that though my test results showed me within the ranges of normal they were severely whacked out enough to mean I would get pregnant when pigs began to fly).

It was not as simple as downing a few herbs and getting stuck with a few needles. The first time (when I was 41) things were almost that ''easy.'' But the second time (when I was 45) she and I devised and implemented dietary and exercise changes in addition. It was pretty much a lifestyle overhaul. So Abigail is good. I continue to see her for perimenopause issues now that my baby is a year old. Her phone number is 845-8017. She is located on Dwight Way near Milvia in Berkeley. Best wishes to you

you should try marti kennedy in berkeley she is the best! she's been doing this for over 30 years. after 1+ year of trying, she got us pregnant in 3 months!! happy new mama

hi there, About a year and a half ago I was also looking for an accupuncturist for fertility issues. Since October 2009, I've been working with Nancy Rakela in Berkeley. She is incredibly experienced (has practiced for over 20 years and has a lot of knowledge about fertility issues by working with many OBs and fertility centers in the area). With her expertise and treatments, I worked through luteal phase and thyroid issues (both related to fertility); two issues that my previous OB was not really dealing with regarding my fertility. Nancy also is very knowledgeable and gave me advice on my diet. At the moment, I'm almost 6 months pregnant (had a previous miscarriage) and so far my pregnancy has been easy, which I attribute to regular accupuncture, diet, and yoga. Nancy's website is Feel free to contact me if you have further questions. Good luck! Lisa jerseygirl07450 [at]

I can highly recommend Dr Ou. She helped both my husband and I with accupuncture treatment - she is fantastic- very knowledgable and the treatments were complemented by her suggustions for changes in eating and stress. We successfully got pregnant (after a miscarriage and trying for a year- I was 39 and my husband was 43). We now have a healthy happy 6 month old baby boy! Dr Ou's number is 1 (510) 654-3678 Heyrika [at]

I highly recommend PORTIA LEE at Traditional Ways Healing Center in El Cerrito. Portia knows her stuff. My husband and I used her throughout both of my pregnancies. The first one, I had trouble getting pregnant. My husband and I both went to see her. She not only gave us both acupuncture treatments but also herbs and gave us advice on things like how to relax (sounds funny, I know, but sometimes you really need the tips!), and eating better. Portia is amazingly personable, professional, and has a comforting and gentle touch. She makes no judgments....just gives you great care and advice.

During my labor and delivery, she was there with massage and acupuncture, too. For my second pregnancy, I worried that my age was working against me. I saw Portia again and her treatments were fabulous.

And now even my two pre-schoolers go to her (flu, eczema, pain relief, etc). Go see Portia! Traditional Ways Healing Center, 6931 Stockton Ave., El Cerrito, CA 94530. infoportialee [at] or office (510) 799-8788. Dara

To the person who is looking for an acupuncturist for fertility, I would highly recommend Lia Willebrand. She has a very gentle but thorough approach to fertility. She is well versed in herbs (yuck but effective!) and acupuncture to maximize fertility. She also gave me suggestions about stuff to do at home (specific moxa points, dietary suggestions, etc.) which made me feel empowered in the process on a daily basis. Lia is an experienced practitioner who is kind and smart. Seeing Lia was one of the stars that alligned to help bring me my daughter. p.s. I referred my neighbor to Lia and now she is in her second trimester!! Lia is populating our block with babies!!! :)

I can not recommend Laura Aguiar more highly, if you are looking for an acupuncturist who specializes in fertility. She has an office in Berkeley and an office in Orinda. I have worked with her for the past couple of years in preparation for trying to get pregnant (IUI) and throughout my pregnancy. I just gave birth to my daughter and Laura was a wonderful, supportive and knowledgeable member of my team. She was able regulate my cycle prior to inseminations and decoded the medical lingo for me. She was able to recommend test that I asked my doctor to do, one of which uncovered a main reason why my initial attempts were not successful. She has been able to address other issues as well, but fertility has been the focus. You can reach Laura at 510-326-6725. Maria C

I highly recommend Portia Lee, a licensed acupuncturist in El Cerrito (next to Wellgrounded Cafe). Portia attended the long and challenging (but wonderful and empowering!) homebirth of my son and she was incredible. I had some challenges on the road to pregnancy and childbirth. She is knowledgeable, thoughtful, and incredibly caring and warm. I have recommended her to many friends including three friends who had hospital births who had various fertility or pregnancy challenges. All of them have been very satisfied and I know we all have such gratitude for the wonderful support she has provided to us. Portia has continued to support our family and my now three year old son has also seen her on a number of occasions. Portia's info: (510) 799-8788 Kayoko

I have spoken with Leslie Oldershaw and seen Christina Martin at Tao to Wellness, Maureen Raytis and now Nancy Rakela for fertility. I would recommend either Maureen Raytis or Nancy Rakela.

Maureen was high energy and involved with my care, encouraging me to ask questions and maintain a relationship even outside of the visits, and helped me a lot with diet towards fertility.

I am currently seeing Nancy Rakela because her demeanor is very soothing to me, and she is clearly very experienced - not only with fertility (though that is clearly an important part of her practice), but also with other areas -- she is helping me with some severe skin allergies, probably related to fertility treatment. I could not find anyone other than Nancy (including my medical doctors) that had the expertise to help me with both. I feel like she treats me as a partner as opposed to a patient, and she is incredibly enjoyable to work with. She explains the rationale for my care and has credible answers to questions, but she is not pushy. Her experience is clear. Nancy's office space is also absolutely beautiful, peaceful and immaculate. Also, I am very pain sensitive and her needles haven't made me uncomfortable; which I did sometimes experience with other practitioners. Also Nancy's rates are very reasonable and she has a wonderful assistant in her office, and takes credit cards - which makes the scheduling and payment process much smoother - making the overall experience incredibly pleasant and easy. I really look forward to going.

I'd encourage you to talk with a few and see who you feel comfortable with, and don't be afraid to seek someone more compatible if the relationship isn't a fit. Nancy Rakela is at (510) 540-6267 and Maureen Raytis is at (510) 444-4141. Dedicated

I highly recommend Laura Aguiar. She has an office in Berkeley (510)326-6725 as well as in Orinda at the Jade Clinic (925)254-3148.

She is very knowledgeable about treating fertility issues, as well as other medical issues, and her gentle manner makes the treatment very relaxing. She is warm and empathetic about the emotional issues involved in infertility. She prescribes herbs and will give diet and lifestyle recommendations, but not in a heavy-handed way. I highly recommend that you give her a try! happy client

2009 Reviews

May 2009

Can anyone give a recommendation about Dr. Chen at the Oakland Acupuncture Center for fertility issues? I saw a post about him awhile ago with a phone number but only get an answering machine with an automated message on it. Thanks.

We love Dr. Chen! I went to him for some help when we found out that my daughter was breech and we wanted her to turn. He was fantastic. She did not turn - it was really late in the game and we tried everything but if I have any trouble with #2 I am going to see Dr. Chen! sarah

I know Dr Chen professionally and he is a great doctor. However for hormonal regulation I would see Maureen Raytis LAc. She is absolutely wonderful and specializes in infertility treatment and women's issues. I see her regularly for a variety of reasons and cannot recommend her highly enough. She is gentle, intuitive and really talented. You cannot go wrong working with her. She is in Oakland near the Grand Lake theater. Her phone # is(510) 501-6960. Good luck Elizabeth

2008 Reviews

July 2008

I am seeking an acupuncturist who specializes in fertility and pregnancy related issues. Any recommendations? Thank you. Christina

I have a recommendation for an acupuncturist who specializes in fertility issues. Her name is Maureen Raytis and she's located in Oakland. She herself, is pregnant now, so I'm not sure if she's taking on new patients, but if she is, she's fabulous. Her number is: (510) 444-4141. All the best and blessings. dahlia

I highly recommend Leslie Oldershaw in Piedmont. I am convinced I finally had a successful IVF because of Leslie. I wish I had worked with her sooner. If you compare the cost of her treatment vs. repeated IVF's (or any fertility treatment), it is well worth the investment in her services. Happy Mom

July 2008

Looking for recommendation for an acupuncturist specializing in promotion of fertility/prevention of miscarriage. S

I saw a an acupuncturist named Maria Jia-Yu Yung in Oakland at the East Bay Pain center. I was pregnant 3 months after being told I wouldn't be able to get pregnant. I have a healthy son who is now 18 months old and am very grateful I went to see Maria. I also referred a friend who was having trouble getting pregnant to her and she now has a child as well. Good luck.

I highly recommend Carla Dalton for fertility and for maintaining a healthy pregnancy. I saw several different acupuncturists before Carla, but knew I'd met the right person with Carla. Within 3 months of treatments with Carla, I was pregnant with my son and carried him to term. This after infertility and miscarriages. My son is vibrantly healthy, and I think one reason is that I had regular treatments from Carla during my pregnancy with him. She's been great since then, too, as I continue to work towards optimum health. Carla's on her summer vacation right now and won't be back until August, but she's well worth the wait. Her number is: 510-524-4812. Carolyn

I highly recommend Lia Willebrand for acupuncture for fertility related issues.

Lia is a down to earth, smart and warm practitioner who really cares about her clients. She's also very knowledgeable about herbs that support getting pregnant. I am grateful to her for being pregnant!!

She has a two offices, both in Berkeley and some some weekend hours. Her phone number is 510-858-6463. love lia's needles!!

for any acupuncture needs, but especially anything fertility related, please see Amy Taylor. she is phoenominal! her website is her # is 510-558-0117 prem

Maureen Raytis is an acupuncturist who specializes in fertility. She's located at 495 Elwood Ave., Suite 1 in Oakland. Her number 510-444-4141. I highly recommend her. Ronna

Abigail Surasky in Berkeley is unparalleled in my opinion. Her number is 845-8017. She made recommendations to me regarding dietary and lifestyle changes, non-invasive testings my ''regular'' health plan didn't sanction, prescribed herbs and natural remedies, and performed needle treatments on me. I was perimenopausal. And here I sit, 45 and pregnant with my own egg and no treatments other than hers. Who knows if it will last, or where it will take me... we shall see, we shall see. She also helped me regain my fertility when my Kaiser doc had given me a very poor prognosis for getting pregnant 4.5 years ago (I had a healthy baby boy 3.5 yrs ago).

As far as preventing miscarriage.... I would believe that if the miscarriage issues are related to your body being able to support a viable pregnancy (''normal, healthy'' embryo/fetus), Abigail would be able to help. But I really don't think that anything can help prevent miscarriages that are related to blighted ova, molar pregnancies, other serious chromosomal issues, etc.

I wish you the very best of luck! A lot of hard work and a ton of luck

Don Gates is a wonderful accupuncturist, and helped me greatly in overcoming fertility issues. He is also a wonderful, warm & caring specialist. His practice is much more than fertility, more a whole body balance. He is also very gentle and would be wonderful for anyone new to accupuncture. Don F. Gates, L.Ac. Temescal Acupuncture Center 330 41st Street Oakland, CA 94609 Tel 510-428-9430 Fax 510-654-7054 don [at] Jill

I saw Leslie Oldershaw leading up to the birth of my daughter and she is great. She specializes in fertility and really knows her stuff. I've seen other acupuncturists for fertility and there was a big difference. She is very thorough and will work with your other health care providers. I ended up doing IVF, as I had with my son, but I still credit her with helping me prepare for and keep the pregnancy. She is in at the top of Grand Avenue, in Piedmont. Good Luck! Beth G.

I highly recommend Jacques Bernou, 925 962-9228, as an acupuncturist that specializes in fertility. Besides being a good person he is incredibly successful helping people with fertility challenges. Sherry

I recommend Christina Martin in Berkeley 510-883-0383 or Maureen Raytis in Oakland 510-444-4141 for fertility acupuncture. I went to the UCSF Center for Reproductive Health for nine unsuccessful months trying various combos of Clomid, Femara, Follistim and Ovidrel with IUI's. After adding acupuncture to the regimen for three cycles I became pregnant and continued treatment through my first trimester to avoid miscarriage. So far so good! My only regret is that I didn't begin acupuncture sooner.

Both women are warm and sincere with reasonable rates (important since most insurance either covers very little if anything). As mentioned in another post- Maureen is expecting and will be handing off her practice temporarily- so Christina may be your best bet at this time. Good luck! 42 and finally pregnant

I went to Marnie McCurdy at East-West Integrative Medicine when I was having IVF treatment. She is really wonderful. Only drawback = she's in the City. But, in Glen Park, very accessible. See Jen

I recently started seeing Nancy Rakela, O.M.D., LAc in Berkeley for the same reasons. While I am not pregnant (yet!), she is extremely knowledgeable from a Western and Eastern medical perspective and offers a serene office setting with professional staff. I highly recommend. Her number is: 540-6267. Serena

May 2008

I'm looking for recomendations for an accupuncturist to help increase my fertility as we get ready to do IVF. I've heard Leslie Oldershaw is amazing but she's also expensive and the IVF is stretching us to the max. My insurance wont cover any of this. All the previous postings on BPN are rather dated so I was wondering if anyone has more recent experience with an effective, kind and reasonably priced accupuncturist in the east Bay? Kate

I don't know how much Leslie Oldershaw is or what is expensive to you, but Abigail Surasky is fabulous. She is $80 a session if you go once a week, less if you go more often. Her office is in Berkeley at Dwight and Milvia. Her number is 845 8017. Good luck to you! anon

I saw Leslie Oldershaw for fertility treatment a few years ago and was very happy with her but I agree, it's expensive, and not covered by insurance. I haven't tried it myself, but a friend of mine sought acupuncture treatment at a school in San Francisco. She found the care to be both top rate (teachers accompanied students at the sessions) and affordable ($60/hour) if I remember correctly. Sorry I don't have details, but it might be worth the research. Good luck! Been there.

I'm currently seeing Marti Lee Kennedy on Ashby near college for some pregnancy-related issues. She's a L.Ac. and OMD, and she specializes in fertility and pregnancy issues. So far she seems terrific, and she's been doing it for decades. If you check the archives for her, you will find many BPN recommendations. Currently her rates are $125 for first visit and $85 for each subsequent. mama

Heidi Kao in San Francisco is AMAZING. She is a gentle and understanding Acupuncturist specializing in Fertility and IVF. Very talented. She is located at: 30 Monterey Boulevard, SF, CA 94131 telephone 415.586.5900 And she accepts insurance. I highly recommend her. js-berkeley

I have been seeing Laura Aguiar for acupuncture for a while now (recently for fertility issues). She is extremely knowledgeable about both acupuncture and herbs. The treatments are relaxing and pain-free! She is also a kind, thoughtful person and it is great to talk to her during each appointment. (She sometimes seems to know more than my doctor!) Laura has a practice in Berkeley (510-326-6725) and Orinda (925-254-3148). Best of luck with your ivf. east bay mom

Marti Lee Kennedy at the Ashby Center of Complementary Medicine in Berkeley on Ashby Ave (by College Ave) has helped a lot of women with fertility issues. She's a wonderful, warm-hearted, caring and very experienced practitioner. Good luck! Rosie

I can recommend acupuncturist Lili Tom. I originally went to her in preparation for IVF. After gearing up for my first IVF cycle we decided to just keep trying acupuncture for a few months (I wasn't menatlly prepared for IVF). After 5 months I became pregnant with one IUI. I'm 37 and after having been off of fertility drugs for about 6 months decided to give a low dose of Clomid another try. I believe the break of fertility drugs and the acupunture helped prepare my body for the successful round of IUI. Lili is great. She is gentle but effective. She puts her total concentration into you and what she is doing for you. I feel very taken care of when I see her. She charges about 85 a session. I am continuing to see her during my pregnancy as well. Her website is Good luck! happy client

Geraldine Fitzgerald Shute of Deep Healing Acupuncture has been working with my partner while she is trying to get pregnant- she is amazingly knowledgeable and gentle and helped her with her hayfever at the same time! We highly recommend her. phone: (510) 672 2210 email: geraldine [at] website: rachel

I highly recommend Portia Lee for acupuncture to help fertility. When we were trying to concieve, I tried three other acupuncturist/herbalists, including Leslie Oldershaw before hearing about Portia thru a friend of a friend. We also were working with Kaiser and later the Pacific Fertility Center. But I truly believe that it was Portia's care that finally made the difference. She is incredibly warm, nurturing and supportive and very knowledgeable about acupuncture and herbs. I took a break between treatments at PFC and just worked with Portia for six months to strengthen my body and work holistically. It was the best decision, because when we finally did go back to do a treatment at PFC, we were successful on the first try! And further evidence of Portia's prowess, with her help-myself, my friend and my friend's friend all got pregnant! I feel very lucky to have gone to her. Her info: Portia Lee, Traditional Ways Healing Center, 6931 Stockton Avenue, El Cerrito, CA 510-799-8788 or 510-932-4456 Happy Mom (at last!)

May 2008

I was wondering if anyone has experience/advice/recommendations re: acupuncture as a fertility treatment. I'm going to be starting IVF in late June (my previous IUI cycles ended in negative or miscarriage). I'm a slow responder to fertility meds and do not ovulate on my own (hypothalamus issues). Money is a factor for us, since we don't have insurance for the IVF, so our savings is already being ransacked. But, I want to do whatever I can to increase the chances. I've never done any kind of acupuncture and am unsure about it. (Also potentially interested in fertility yoga) m

Restorative yoga is very good for improving issues around fertility. Depending upon where you live/work, there are restorative yoga classes with well trained yoga teachers at the Alameda Yoga Station and Berkeley Yoga Room as well as other locations in the East Bay and San Francisco. yoga mama

try Leslie Oldershaw in Piedmont ( She not cheap, but comes highly recommended, and shes very thorough. We just completed a sucessful IVF cycle with her so we are happy! happy customer

I would like to highly recommend Maureen Raytis. She is an acupuncturist in Oakland on Grand Avenue and she specializes in fertility. I saw her last year for the months leading up to, and during my first (and only!) IVF cycle. I do believe that it was with her help that my body responded as well as it did to the treatment and I was able to get pregnant on the first try.

Her offices are beautiful and relaxing and she is a caring and knowledgeable practitioner. She will even take time outside of normal office hours to give you a treatment when it's most crucial to the success of your IVF cycle (before egg retrieval, and before and after implantation).

I can't say enough great things about her. Good luck! Her website is Expecting in October

Here it is. This is the person/clinic that may have cured my infertility. I was diagnosed with incurable infertility. My case was so grim that 3 different fertility clinics, after reviewing my lab results, wouldn't even take me as a client, saying that I had a better chance at a miracle. I can't tell you how distraught I was. Finally, after a healthy period of crying bouts and true grief, I got determined. After studying endocrinology myself, I did several things that led me to getting pregnant - naturally - in 2000. I now have a beautiful, perfectly healthy and amazing 7 year old son. Believe me, I UNDERSTAND the pain of hearing the words ''infertile''.

Only 1 of the actions I took in my ''determined'' stage was a medical intervention. I visited Phil Madden at the Sonoma Valley Acupunture and Health Clinic,(707-996-6681). He is a person of intention, calm and integrity. Taking my situation very seriously, Phil consulted with other colleagues and created a liquid herbal concoction specific to me that I believe may have been a key ingredient in my successful pregnancy. I know this seems unbelieveable. But, remember, I had medical testing prior analyzed by many different sources and all agreed my case was dire. I realize Sonoma may be far for you, but you'll probably save money in the long run by going to the right person once or twice.

By the way, eggplant (from the nightshade family) and other foods cause miscarriage. I remember a book that listed all foods that cause miscarriage and infertility. Some women miscarry so quickly that they don't even realize they are pregnant. I'm sorry I can't find the name of the book. I know there is a book called: The Infertility Book. I can't remember if this is the book I read, but get one of these books (The Infertility Book can be borrowed through your library's Super Search from Sonoma Valley Library). - Love and Light to you. I understand

I would recommend Thuy Nguyen at Berkeley Community Acupuncture It's a sliding fee clinic and very affordable and she is a lovely woman to work with. I was also struggling with fertility issues which is the main reason I decided to check out acupuncture and I am now 5 months pregnant. Who know's if the acupuncture did the trick but regardless it helped me to relax and create a sense of hopefulness. Good Luck. Caroline

The best source of info I found was on go to their bulletin boards (select ALL BOARDS - I think you have to join first but it's free). It's really well organized, you can check out info from others by all sorts of headings and in your case under ''alternative treatments'' you'll find a lot of info, or you can post your question there. I am convinced that some of these women know more than some of the fertility drs, and it's very powerful to have the combined knowledge and experience of so many women trying to achieve the same thing. been there

April 2008

I am interested in hearing about recent experiences with Dr. Angela Wu in SF. I am forty and trying to conceive a second time. I have a son who is 18 months old. Thank you! Thanks for your time!

I saw five different acupuncturists in my ''baby quest'' recently, over a three year period, including Dr. Wu in SF. I found it helpful to go there and try it out (as I'd heard so much hype about it), and get her dietary guidelines (which are pretty intense, but helpful to know about), etc. -- but in the end found it to be a bit of a racket. It is SOOOOO expensive -- the recommended treatments run something like $300-500 a WEEK -- and it felt to me like it was preying on our desperation. There was a bit of a ''you just have to believe'' aspect to it, that really rubbed my husband the wrong way. In the end, I ended up going to an acupuncturist in Oakland that I absolutely LOVE -- Dr. Jing Li on Piedmont Ave. (above the flower shop near the cemetary, 654-1567; she also has an office in SF). She is really smart, treated me (and my husband) by really observing us (it didn't feel like she was just following a standard fertility protocol), took my insurance (blue cross), and prescribed herbs/treatments that were reasonably priced, only going to the more expensive ones (and those almost apologetically) when it really seemed that was where we needed to go. I think she is smarter, better, and more... honorable (in terms of her relationship to the 'infertility industrial complex') than Dr. Wu. I also had positive experiences with Leslie Oldershaw, Michelle Bullard, and Nancy Rakela -- all of whom I'd recommend over Dr. Wu. It might be worth going just to see for yourself, and get all the handouts -- but I think that the time it takes to get out to the Richmond for treatments, the psychology of the place, and especially the cost make it not at all worth it. Especially when Dr. Li is available!! (BTW we asked one of the Dr.s we were consulting with, Dr. Zouves, about Dr. Wu, and he very gently and carefully mentioned how many wonderful acupunturists besides her were available in these parts....) -- it was pretty easy to read between the lines. !

Good luck to you on your journey towards your second child. anon

I did one visit with Angela Wu in San Francisco when I was going through fertility treatments. I will say up front I hear she works miracles (my fertility doctor at the time even admitted it when I asked his opinion). HOWEVER, I knew in my heart after my first visit I could not follow her very strict and expensive fertility plan. If you are the kind of person who can follow a strict routine (diet, herbal supplements, strange treatments) and have the money to invest in it, go for it! As an alternative, I went to acupunturist Leslie Oldershaw in Piedmont for treatment while I was doing IVF's and had a successful pregnancy. She is well respected as a fertility specialist (and other women's issues), kind, supportive, and affordable. Good luck. Happy Mom

I missed your original question, but I assume you are asking about going to Angela Wu for infertility issues? I went to her for 3 months, spent waaaaay too much money, and ended up feeling physically horrible. She runs a factory production line and gives everyone the same treatment and rakes in the money. I lost tons of weight following her program (and I was already too thin to start out with, so that was not a good thing in my case!), the herbs gave me digestive problems, and most importantly, it did not help me get pregnant. My fertility doctor said she wasn't helpful to his patients, but he did have a recommendation for another acupuncturist in SF who he respected who specialized in fertility issues. I can try to dig up that name if you are interested and post again. -Yana

I noticed both previous answers were negative and while I understood their concerns such as costs, difficult program to follow and a feeling like you are in a fertility factory so to speak which are all valid, but I also think it should be pointed out that Dr Wu has a gift that not many other acupuncturists have - she is able to tell most women when they are pregnant (or with multiples) BEFORE your test at 8 or 10 days or whenever it is (it's been 5 years since I did all this fertility stuff) just by your pulse and she is able to tell you when your pregnancy might be having trouble and she can help you with that.

I went to 2 other acupuncturists before I went to her, one I liked a lot better in the sense of feeling that I could talk to her better than Dr Wu and feeling like it wasn't so profit oriented but neither of the other acupuncturists had the gift that she had and that ended up being very important to me as we almost lost the baby and I credit her with being able to prevent a miscarriage. In addition she was the only one who was able to get my period started again.

So I think it depends how much time you have and how desperate you feel. If you have plenty of time and not much money go elsewhere. If you are desperate or have a history of miscarriage etc then you could check her out. Also, there are ways to reduce the cost - ask for 1/2 sessions, don't go every week when you are pregnant etc. anon

This is a late response, but I wanted to comment that Angela Wu, while very expensive, was a great help to me. I had been unable to get pregnant for almost 2 years. My reproductive endocrinologist was suggesting I start thinking about IVF. Instead, I decided to try Dr. Wu.

I followed her recommendations (dietary and otherwise) very closely, especially from the beginning through about 5 months of pregnancy. Within 8 weeks of starting treatment with her (herbs, acupuncture, acupressure and dietary changes), I was pregnant. I continued treatment during my pregnancy and had an extremely easy pregnancy--no morning sickness or nausea, no strong food aversions or cravings, very few aches and pains and no excess weight gain.

While I sometimes felt that she was asking me to have more treatments than necessary, and the monetary cost and time investment were quite high, I have to say that her treatment was very successful for me. It's a lot cheaper and less stressful than IVF, or at least it was for me.

If I have problems getting pregnant a second time I plan to go back to her. VW

2007 Reviews

Oct 2007

I am looking for recommendations for an acupunturist that specializes in fertility issues. Price is a concern since there is no coverage with insurance. Attempting pregnancy for second child. Angela

I highly recommend Michelle Bullard, whom I give lots of credit for my ''miracle baby.'' She is a kind, gentle, and gifted acupuncturist and is very knowledgeable about women's fertility and women's health, among lots of other topics. I have another friend who went to her and also had a baby last year and swears by her. Good luck! Here's her info: Michelle Bullard, 2421 4th St., Berkeley, 510-845-8282

I have been seeing Leslie Oldershaw for three months. She's really nice and people give her rave reviews. It is expensive though - $95 a visit. I pre-pay for 10 at a time and get $10 off each visit. My insurance pays for $25 a session. Anonymous

I would go to Christina Martin. I went through my successful IVF cycle with her. She doesn't specialize in infertility per se, but came highly recommended by my OBGYN. She is very supportive and knowledgable (teaches at a local acu school), and went out of her way to schedule me for treatments immediately before and after my embryo transfer (came in at 7 am!). She also charges a reasonable sliding scale fee. I actually tried someone who advertised herself as an infertility acupuncturist and was very disappointed with the experience. She was much more expensive to begin with, and kept trying to push really expensive tests and supplements on me (and insinuated that it would be detrimental to me getting pregnant if I didn't buy these things!). Meanwhile, she cut corners with her methods. For ex, you are supposed to change around where needles are placed dependent on what's happening with the patient. She never asked how I was, just placed the needles in the same place each time - I saw her for 5 minutes total each time. She was even 20 min late one time bc she was joking around with another patient and never bothered to apologize or give a discount. I was left with the feeling that she was just trying to cash in on the desparation of people who really wanted to have kids. And of course, some patients will eventually get pregnant whether or not they get acupuncture, so it's hard to catch scammers like her. I would AT LEAST recommend that you try Christina vs someone else to see how they measure up. Lots of luck to you! Anonymous

I went to Angela Wu in SF (Clement and 11th?) for 3 months before IVF to get ready and every week after. I'd highly recommend her but I will tell you it gets quite expensive. I went about 3 or 4 years ago and spent about $150-200 out of pocket every week - this included acupuncture, herbs, massage, and cupping. I also followed a strict diet. She made a big difference to me in quality and quantity of eggs. She is truly talented, can usually tell if you are pregnant before you do the test (I think around day 8?) just by feeling your pulse! And often also knows if it is multiples and can warn you of dangers as the pregnancy progresses.

There is another TCM dr I've noticed who also seems very talented, located in Marin and gives free advice on a website called (I know you didn't mention IVF but this website is great info even for those just looking to get pregnant the natural way) - look on the Bulletin Boards for IVF with Alternative Treatments under the Complementary Treatments and there is a thread ''Happy to Answer Questions'' and she answers all sorts of general and specific-to-you questions so this may be a good way to get some info w/o any costs if you have questions regarding what you could be doing. She also has a website been there

I highly recommend Maureen Raytis, L.Ac. She is one of a few acupuncturists in the Oakland/Berkeley area who has a specialty in fertility. She has a great bedside manner and uplifting spirit which is important when working with fertitilty and the stress it brings. She also will take time to counsel you on nutrition and other things you can do to help the process. She takes insurance and her prices are very reasonable compared to other acupuncturists specializing in fertility. Maureen's office is located across from the Grand Lake Theater in Oakland. Her number is (510)444-4141. Her website is Best of luck to you!! kamila

Hi there - I feel for you - but there's hope! I got pregnant twice (lost the first pregnancy due to chromosome problems) within one year with the help of the fabulous acupuncturist and naturopath Claudia Weitkemper, who specializes in women's fertility. Her website is and here is the page on Fertility Challenges anonymous

You need to go see my acupucturist! She is great at treating insomnia and she works a lot with women, fertility and post-partum issues. My friend went and saw her for chronic insomnia and is now sleeping through the night. Her name is Maureen Raytis and she can be reached at 510-444-4141 or mo [at] Get the point, you'll feel better!

I posted about my acupuncturist, Bea Hammond, in response to the referral request for someone to help with morning sickness. Since she has a really good track record helping women who are trying to get pregnant, I'm posting about her here as well. She's in Albany on Solano. Her number is 510-495-4946. Jean

2006 Reviews

April 2006

I am an almost 36 year old woman who is lucky enough to have 2 beautiful children. My son was conceived through IVF and my daughter was a miracle. My husband and I would love to add one more child into our lives. I have been diaganosed with poor egg quality - fsh was 7.5 day 3 and 14.8 day 10. We cannot justify IVF again and were thinking that accupuncture may help. I live in Walnut Creek and have been given a few names: Dr. Jorgen Jensen, Dr. Michael Boyer, Dr. Chai and Dr. Singular. Does anyone have any experience with them? Especially dealing with poor egg quality? We don't want to wait as these eggs aren't getting any better! We just want to know that we tried as many avenues as possible before we give up and move on with our lives. Thank you so much anon

I am an acupuncturist and it is my understanding that acupuncture cannot change the quality of the egg. You are born with a certain number of eggs and as you get older, the quality of these eggs declines. This happens for some people faster than others. Acupuncture can help with fertility in many ways: increasing circulation to the gynecological organs, removing obstructions from the fallopian tubes balancing hormones, reducing stress, thickening the lining of the uterus, and improving sperm quality and and quantity. Unfortunately, it cannot change the health of the eggs themselves. Sara Rankin, L.Ac.

I tried accupuncture to conquer infertility 13 yrs ago. My understanding is that accupuncture can help with infertility if the issue is regularizing periods so that you know when you will be fertile. It certainly wasn't helpful with me with improving the quality of my old eggs. You should satisfy yourself, though, and find out what precisely it can help you with. I don't know that anything can improve egg quality, but perhaps there have been new advances in the last decade or so. I wish you the best of luck. Anon

I am 40 years old and also had been diagnosed with poor egg quality. My FSH was 12. It took us 2 and a half years to conceive but I am now 8 months pregnant. We were just about to try an IUI but were fortunate to enough to conceive naturally. I had explored several alternative avenues like acupuncture but what really did it for us was Chinese herbs. I did acupuncture for the whole 2 and half years that we tried but as soon as I started the herb treatment I was pregnant within a few months. That pregnancy unfortunately ended in a miscarriage but I was pregnant once again 2 months later. The important thing is to find a a Chinese herbalist who uses raw herbs. The kind you have to boil and simmer and drink as a tea. Most acupuncturists also deal with herbs but they are usually tablets or powders. The raw herbs are much more powerful. More labor intensive and not very tasty but well worth it. I went to Fu's Natural Healing Center, 391 Sutter Street Suite 515 @ Stockton San Francisco (415) 788-2298. San Francisco might be too far for you but maybe you can find a Chinese herbalist in Walnut Creek. Good Luck!! anon

In response to your search for an Acupuncturist to help you with the health of your ovum and hopefully aid you in your third pregnancy; I am not familiar with the Doctors names you were referred to, but if it isn't too much to consider I will add one more. I myself am an acupuncturist, focusing on women's health and just entering my third trimester of pregnancy. My personal acupuncturist and a very gifted Doctor is Aida Men. She practices in Alameda. She is brilliant and a master herbalist as well. She specializes in fertility, maternity, gynecology and pediatrics. She has years and years of training and experience in both traditional chinese medicine and western medicine. She is also incredibly kind, and gentle in her needling technique. I will be referring a lot of patients to her when I take my own maternity leave. Her clinic number is (510) 749-9630. She would be well worth the trip from Walnut Creek. Good Luck! Celina Lyons, L.Ac

My husband and I both use Portia Lee in El Cerrito. She's marvelous! We were concerned about the length of time it was taking for me (37 yrs old at the time) to get pregnant (my first). She treated us both with acupuncture and herbs and gave us great advice about the importance of the lifestyle we were living (too busy, not getting enough REST!, eating healthier, etc.).

Portia is very caring and understanding. She works WITH you, as opposed to just working ''on'' you. She has a gentle touch, poise and professionalism that made me feel very at ease. After getting pregnant, I continued to see her and she even came to the hospital after about 30 hours of labor to help my delivery move along.

When we start thinking about a sibling for our son, we will definitely see Portia again. She works at Traditional Ways Healing Center, 6931 Stockton Ave. in El Cerrito. Her office number is 510-932-4456. dara

I saw Don Gates at Temescal Acupuncture Center. He was wonderful, kind, and gentle. I have a needle phobia and Don made the whole procedure wonderful. anon

I have seen Nancy Rakela, acupuncturist in west Berkeley, for a few years for infertility issues. I would recommend her -- knows the subject matter well. I believe acupuncture is a great way to stay relaxed during the infertility journey. I believe it really helped to strengthen my overall system, boost my immune system, and allowed me to deeply relax during the hectic pace of life, work, and infertility treatments. It's well worth it. I will now make it a part of my health care -- beyond pregnancy. anon

March 2006

Hi-- I'm being referred to an RE (age 43, d3 FSH 7 but estradiol 82; d10 FSH after CCT is 14.2) but have also wondered about acupuncture.

I've read the posts and will try Dr. Ou (on Grand Ave). On the phone, she didn't really have the time to explain how acupuncture can help. I know it destresses and can regularize menstrual cycles.

But, can my FSH be artificially or temporarily heightened by stress or irregular cycles, such that acupuncture can lower FSH? I know that I owe it to myself to give it a shot but I'd also like to know if anyone knows whether it can help bypass problems with poor ovarian reserve.

Unrelatedly, but if someone knows... can the presence of an ovarian cyst during CCT (which ruptured on d15 after having it for a year, probably due to the clomiphene citrate) create falsely poor results? The cyst definitely affected my hormones (PMS). Thanks for any ideas you may have. anon

I highly recommend Dr. Jing Li (4414 Piedmont Ave., 654-1567) for infertility and other pregancy-related issues. She is very knowledgable and kind. I went to Dr. Li when I was trying to get pregnant After 4 unsuccessful inseminations, I went to her in my 5th cycle and got pregnant. When I was over-due, I also went to her to ''get things going'' and went into labor that night. I have been to Dr. Ou as well, but I found her English to be limited and had a hard time commuinicating with her. I think if you have not had much accupuncture before, Dr. Li would make you feel very at ease. Gretchen

My acupuncturist is Jorgen Jensen in Walnut Creek. He is wonderful at explining things. He has approx 80% or higher? fertility rate. (Much higher than inverto fertiliztion or artificial insemination and much cheaper too!) I got pregnant after 3 month in his care after trying for years. anon

For the person who wondered about the purpose of acupuncture for fertility: I went through it myself (unsuccessfully, alas) and never completely understood it, but I would just warn you that Dr. Ou on Grand Avenue may not be the best person to explain it to you. I saw her once and it wasn't the right place for me: very little privacy in the rough-and-ready office and treatment area, and a brusque manner from the practitioner. I ended up at a more ''Western'' practice. I wish you all the best. anon

Regarding benefits of acupuncture for fertility: I have heard many western doctors tout the benefits of acupuncture for fertility, in particular around greater uterine blood flow and reduced stress. Here's a blurb on a journal article that tells more:

I have also heard many acupuncturists talk about the benefits of acupuncture in terms of Chinese medicine, which I don't claim to understand. Dave

I was in your shoes a couple of years ago. I did do acupuncture and I feel that it probably did not help. My doctor suggested it and I respected his advice so I went ahead with it. I did eventually get pregnant but it was several months after stopping acupuncture.

But I do think it helped in the sense that I felt I was doing all that I could do. And for me that was really important. I needed to give it my all so that ten years from now I would be ok with how things turned out. But who knows maybe the acupunture did really help and its benefits didn't materialize for several months!

And that is what is so hard about being where you are right now. Not having answers and not really being able to get them. It drove me nuts! There is so much that the doctors DON'T know. You just have to pursue this for as long as you feel comfortable doing so.

I had a wonderful fertility doctor who really got on my case about trying to figure out what all the numbers mean. I was 41 years old, my FSH was a depressing 19 and my periods were really erratic. A previous doctor had told me the only way I would become pregnant was to use egg donor.

The numbers mean something but they don't mean everything. Every month is different. Doctors cannot predict with accuracy your chances for getting pregnant. I know that for a fact. I went through four IVFs and the first three produced almost nothing. For the fourth and what was going to be the last IVF I produced a whopping nineteen eggs which resulted in my having a healthy daughter.

I think part of it was having made peace with all the fertility / pregnancy stuff. It wasn't 'giving up' in a negative sense it was just making peace with it. And you can't reach that space until you have traveled all the way through this journey you are on. I am so sorry you are having to go through this. Don't feel pressured to do anything you don't want to do. Find a kind and very competent doctor and pace yourself.

It is hard to balance doing whatever it takes with not exhausting yourself. And it is difficult to eliminate stressful things in our lives because change itself creates stress. Going through treatment for infertility is such an emotional rollercoaster and throughout it all we are supposed to relax!

I think you have already answered your question. You owe it to yourself to give acupuncture a shot. The only reason for not doing it is if it stresses you out financially or emotionally. If it creates any kind of strain for you then just let it go. anon

I really recommend you read ''The Infertility Cure'' as it is all about how accupuncture, chinese herbs, and dietary/lifestyle changes can help fertility. The woman who wrote it was trained both in Western and Eastern medicine. I'm in my 40's and have been going to Leslie Oldershaw, who I think is fantastic and will take all the time in the world to explain things to you. I'm still doing the fertility program at Kaiser, but feel that the accupuncture has helped, both mentally and physically. Above all it has helped my stress levels tremendously and a big factor in infertility is the fight or flight syndrome which means it's harder to get pregnant when you're stressed and not eating right. When I miss my weekly appointment, I definatley notice that I am more PMS-y or things will get to me quicker than usual. anon

Although I am not a doctor, I have had quite a bit of experience with acupuncture and fertility treatments. I am 41 and started recieving treatment through a reputable fertility clinic using acupuncture to support the IVF cycles. I have been though numerous IVF cycles in the past year all the while doing acupuncture in conjunction with the cycles. One thing I can tell you is that my ovarian reserve has not increased.

While there is some clinical evidence to suggest that acupuncture can help with fertility and possibly improve results of IVF, the data is far from conclusive. We decided to do the acupucture just in case. My strong word of caution is this: At 43 years, you should not be looking to acupuncture to increase ovarian reserve or egg quality. Go immediately to a good fertility clinic and consult with a specialist. Any good RE will be interested in anything that will improve your chances, including acupuncture. But time is of the essence. No one has yet found a means to reverse the aging process. I don't mean for this to sound too alarming, but from my own experience, delays can be costly. I hope you reach your goal of having a child soon. Best of luck! anon

2005 Reviews

Dec 2005

Hi All, I am 40 and my FSH is 29!!. Practically all doctors have asked me to consider donor eggs. I heard acupuncture helps my kind of cases. I may go for acupuncture for couple of months and then try IVF cycle. I will appreciate if someone can recommend good infertility acupuncturists in bay area. Does anyone have any experience with Angela Wu or Lifang Liang in San Francisco. Any feedback/suggestion? Thanks for your help! Regards

Hi there -- I've seen Angela Wu and found her approach demands lots of money and time and a willingness to give in to her program. I liked some of her practitioners and the treatments were fine, but the program (the cost esp. but also the amount of time it took each week) was causing too much stress in my relationship and my life. Also her waiting area also made me feel like I'd joined a cult of desperate women willing to pay anything...not a feeling I liked. I've since switched to Nancy Rakela in Berkeley and like her a lot; Leslie Oldershaw is also very knowledegable and supportive (and a student of Lifang Liang I believe). But actually the most helpful and inspiring ''therapy'' I've done as part of this ''baby search'' has been with the website and the phone circles run by its creator, Julia Indichova -- the author of the book *Inconceiveable* (her FSH was 42 when she was told to give up on getting pregnant, and went on to change her diet, mindset, and approach to her own health

Check the archives! There are many postings already re: Angela Wu vs. other acupuncture/fertility specialists in East Bay/San Francisco. I went to Leslie Oldershaw (I was 45!) and credit her with the birth of my daughter. Angela Wu works miracles, but her regime was too overwhelming for me. anon

Oct 2005

I noticed the existing posting for accupuncturists/ herbal medicine is couple of years old. I would appreciate it if anyone has more recent experiences with Leslie Oldershaw, Marti Lee Kennedy, or Angela Wu in helping with late pregnancies & multiple pregnancies. Any other recommendation is also appreciated. Thank you so much.

I started seeing Marti Lee Kennedy in my third trimester primarily for the lower back pain I was experiencing. I had never had acupuncture before and was a bit leery, however she made me feel extremely comfortable and her treatments started working immediately. It has also helped me with some of the insomnia I have been experiencing. I cannot compare her with other practitioners, but I have been very pleased. Tiffany

I saw Marti Lee Kennedy for acupuncture treatments for a few months just prior to getting pregnant with my second child in mid-2004. Our initial intention was to use acupuncture to ''prepare'' for IVF (some research has shown higher success rates for IVF with preceding acupuncture), but discovered we had become pregnant without any other intervention than acupuncture just prior to the cycle we had slated to begin IVF injections. It's hard to say for sure whether it was the acupuncture that definitively led to the pregnancy, but what I can say is I was already 42 and had been trying for 3 years unsuccessfully to get pregnant.It felt to me like it did make a difference. I also saw Marti occasionally once the pregnancy had started, which was always pleasant though my pregnancies were blessedly uneventful and thus didn't require much symptomatic relief of any sort. I always really enjoyed going to see Marti-- she's a very nice person, empathic, kind, and seemed to me quite skillful and knowledgeable professionally. I invariably felt so relaxed after the treatments that it seemed like a good thing regardless of the outcome. Best of luck.

I started seeing Marti Lee Kennedy in my third trimester primarily for the lower back pain I was experiencing. I had never had acupuncture before and was a bit leery, however she made me feel extremely comfortable and her treatments started working immediately. It has also helped me with some of the insomnia I have been experiencing. I cannot compare her with other practitioners, but I have been very pleased. Tiffany

I've also heard good things about Dr. Kennedy. I have heard that she has been successful with at least one older patient, with very high FSH. I had one treatment by her years ago for a non-fertility related issue and found her very nuturing.

I have not seen any of the doctors that the original post asked about, but I do have a great acupuncturist recommendation... Portia Lee L.Ac. is exceptional. As a mother of two little ones, she is very knowledgeable about women and their bodies.

Portia has been treating me since postpartum with my second child, and now throughout my third pregnancy (I am due in two weeks). She is nurturing and respectful, and I find her treatments to be both gentler and deeper than other treatments I have had before. She uses a lot of Moxa (heat), gives great nutritional recommendations, traditional medicinal Chinese recipes, and custom mixes her own whole herbs.

Although I do not think she specialized in pregnancy and women's fertility in school, it does seem to be the clientele that is drawn to her. I have only positive feedback to give, and I am grateful to have found her. I leave her office each time feeling rejuvenated.

She has recently moved her practice to a great office in El Cerrito q Traditional Ways Healing Center at 6931 Stockton Avenue. Anna I have had experience with both Leslie Oldershaw and Angela Wu. I was in my early 40's when I started trying to get pregnant and desperately wanted a baby. Traditional fertility treatments were not working. I later was given the name of Leslie Oldershaw by a nurse who worked in my fertility doctor's office. Herbs were offered but were optional (which was not the case with Angela Wu). I liked Leslie a great deal, and I credit her with the birth of my little girl. I had two IVF's that were not successful, and pending the 3rd try, Leslie worked on improving my uterine environment through acupuncture. I would highly recommend her! anon

For my first round of IVF, I went to Leslie Oldershaw, whom I liked tremendously. I liked her office, her style and operation. Unfortunately, probably through no fault of hers, that IVF cycle failed miserably.

Another acupuncturist who's highly thought of and has a lot of fertility experience is Nancy Rakela in No. Berkeley. I've been treated by her and liked her a lot as well.

I have had experience with both Leslie Oldershaw and Angela Wu. I was in my early 40's when I started trying to get pregnant and desperately wanted a baby. Traditional fertility treatments were not working, so I scheduled an appointment with Angela Wu. I found her routine to be too exhausting and expensive, so did not continue with treatment. That being said, even my fertility doctor admitted that she works miracles, I just knew I would not follow her strict routine.

I have been seeing Dr. Wu in San Francisco for several months now and she has helped me immensely. Our fertility (we are only doing IVF at this point, with a gestational carrier, so we don't know what a natural cycle would be like) has improved, but still not resulted in a viable pregnancy. I have known women who have become pregnant with her treatments who were told they were hopeless cases, and a friend that I sent to her a few months ago just had over 15 embryos in her last IVF cycle (up from 0 in the first, and 6 in the second pre-dr. Wu)--she doesn't know yet if she is pregnant. Dr. Wu says her own sucess rate is 50% --which is amazing considering she gets mostly women who haven't been able to get pregnant. I would definitely check her out--she is the real thing.

After my first round of IVF with another doctor, I decided to pull out all the stops and go to Angela Wu, whom I had heard a lot about, both positively and negatively. I went to her out of blind faith (and desperation!). Treatment by Dr. Wu was very intensive, time- consuming and expensive. She has a much more comprehensive dietary and lifestyle treatment program than the other Oriental Doctors I've seen.

Dr. Wu wanted to see me 2-3x/week and asked me to take MULTIPLE, expensive herbs. After much hesitation and skepticism, I ended up doing everything she recommended (including wearing red underwear and burning moxa 2 times per day) and beat the odds. At age 39, with an FSH of 18+, I had a successful 3rd IVF cycle and ended up with a beautiful, perfectly healthy baby girl. This was after several renowned Western fertility doctors told me I had less than a 5% chance of conceiving, even with IVF.

Interestingly, Dr. Wu told me all along that I had all the basics in place for a successful conception, but just needed to follow her program for 4 months. (She also accurately told me I was carrying a girl based on my pulse when I was only 10 weeks pregnant).

I firmly believe my daughter would not be here if not for Dr. Wu. Despite all that, though, treatment by her required a leap of faith, and a great deal of time, money and lifestyle changes.

I was treated by all three acupuncturists at various points. So, all in all, I think Drs. Oldershaw, Kennedy and Rakela are all good choices if you want to stay local and are just starting out. Hopefully their treatments will work for you. If you're at the end of the line, however, and have the time, money and commitment, I'd go to Angela Wu. Also, acupuncture and other complementary fertility treatments won't increase your chances of a multiple pregnancy. Good luck! Beat the odds

June 2005

After two years of trying to get pregnant, my husband and I decided to start seeing Dr. Wu for fertility treatment. We've seen her a couple of times, but are not sure we should keep going to her clinic. I read good recommendations on your website, but would like to know of more recent experiences. Have any of you been to her clinic recently? What was your experience with her? Did you have doubts at the beginning (whether you've treated with her recently or in the past)? Any other suggestions for alternative fertility treatment? Thank you very much

Go to Nancy Rakela in Berkeley instead. I used Dr. Wu for several months, and am happy to share with you my experience if you care to know. Long story short, when I miscarried (for the 5th time), I expected her to be understanding and warm (I certainly didn't blame her for the loss, since I'd miscarried before). Instead, she spent the entire time explaining why it was my fault that I lost the baby. It was the worst experience of all my 5 miscarriages. So awful, in fact, that I wrote a short story about it.

As a last resort, still believing in alternative medicine, I went to Nancy Rakela in Berkeley. She was kind, not nearly as expensive, and truly interested in me, not statistics. I got pregnant, stayed pregnant, and now have a healthy little holy-terror running around. I cannot say enough about Nancy.

After 5 IUI's, and 2 unsuccessful IVF's, I began acupuncture with Leslie Oldershaw in Piedmont. She is a warm and caring woman who I firmly believe helped me have my beautiful daughter. Leslie may be able to help with labor induction. (I did not use her for that purpose, but the subject did come up). anon

2004 Reviews

February 2004

Hi everyone - My husband and I have been struggling with infertility for a couple of years now and we're ready to look into alternative treatment. We're condsidering accupuncture/chinese medicine and we'd be interested in hearing about experiences folks have had with Leslie Oldershaw, Barbara Wilt and Sally Savitz. I've looked at past recommendations on the board...but I was hoping for a bit more. This is a really tough decision and it's taken me awhile just to get to this point. Any help would be greatly appreciated. Many thanks! Signed... Hopeful

We too have been trying to get pregnant after many months of trying (we already have one child, so know it should be possible again). I began getting weekly acupuncture treatments about 4 months ago, as well as taking an herbal tincture that my acupuncturist recommended. I have to say that, although I am not pregnant yet, the treatments have been amazing. I went from having unpredictable cycles that lasted from 26-34 days to a right-on-the-dot 28 day cycle, with ovulation happening on day 15. I feel now it is just a matter of time until we can conceive again. Plus, the treatments are incredibly relaxing and not painful at all. I don't have experience with any of the acupuncturists you ask about--I see Laurel Brody at Traditional Ways Healing Center in El Cerrito. In general though, I would highly recommend acupuncture as a non-invasive alternative (or adjunct) to Western medicine.

I would definitely try acupuncture. There are a lot of reasons for infertility, and yours may be different than mine, but the combination of acupuncture, herbs, and diet changes is what it took for me to get pregnant. I don't know any of the acupuncturists you inquired about, but I can highly recommend Marti Lee Kennedy at the Ashby Center of Complementary Medicine near College Ave. in Elmwood. She specializes in fertility and pregnancy issues, and is warm and loving and extremely supportive. I personally know two women besides myself who were struggling with infertility and got pregnant while seeing Marti. This is a really difficult issue and time for you, so please feel free to e-mail me if you want more information. Star

Dear Hopeful, My husband and I have been working with Leslie Oldershaw off and on for close to five years. We cannot say enough wonderful things about Leslie and her friendly staff! Five years ago we started working with Leslie to boost our fertility and we have a beautiful 31/2 year old son to show for it! We are now working with Leslie again to try for number two. Leslie teaches classes about Chinese Medicine and fertility. Fertility is definitely one of her specialities. She is so knowlegable in this field that we feel we have recieved our best information from her. We are also working with Kaiser's Infertility Clinic and have been impressed with Leslie's knowledge of western infertiliy treatments as well as her ability to support those treatments with accupunture and herbs. Leslie is always able to explain our lab results and tests better than any western doctor. She has a wealth of information regarding all available bay area infertility resources. Leslie is caring, sensitive and has a great sense of humor to boot! Western medicine can make you feel quite hopeless, and a visit to Leslie with her wonderfully positive spirit always brings us back to a hopeful place. I should add that Kaiser doctors have been amazed that with our numbers that we have been able to get pregnant three times and my husband and I attribute it all to Leslie! Best of luck and feel free to email me with any other questions. Cindy

I worked with Leslie Oldershaw and I thought she was great - I appreciated her knowledge, her flexibility and especially how personalized and supportive the care was. I'd recommend, though, that you talk to a couple of people and see who clicks with you. Beyond the technical expertise, and we are lucky to live in a region with several well-recognized experienced fertility accupunturists, I think it's about who you can develop a good rapport with. A fan of Leslie's

Although I haven't had to grapple with infertility, I can give a resounding recommendation for Leslie Oldershaw as a skilled, wise, and compassionate practitioner. As far as your issue goes, Leslie has a terrific reputation; she studied with the Chinese woman MD in SF who is considered the top in the field and wrote an introduction to her recent book on the role of acupuncture in enhancing the effectiveness of western infertility treatments. She has a lovely office and wonderful assistants; she also does her own herbal preparations and is knowledgeable about nutrition, homeopathy, and other alternative techniques and treatments.

I just completed an intensive course of treatment with her-- following nonsurgical treatment at UCSF for a brain aneurysm in November I was subject to blinding, migraine-like headaches (due to blood floating around in my brain, as they explained it) which the neurologists said I would continue to experience for up to 6 months; my first treatment with Leslie was a week after I got out of the hospital (10 weeks ago) and I have not had a single headache since I began!

Leslie is a great listener; she takes a lot of time with her patients and does a great job of asking questions to elicit information to help her in treating you. She is patient with questions and enjoys sharing her knowledge with clients. There is a bulletin board in her office covered with baby pictures from grateful parents whom she helped in their quest to conceive and bring to term healthy infants! I recently referred a family member to her for infertility treatment. Good luck to you! Jenny

I'd like to respond to the couple seeking alternative infertility treatments. My recommendations: Dr. Ching Chun Ou, the older sister, on Grand Avenue/Sunnyside in Oaklan -- make sure not to mistakenly go to a different Dr. Ou. (Ou already recommended on this site). Another doctor told us we had very little chance of conceiving even with IVF; then, with the help of Dr. Ou and Shapiro, we conceived naturally in about a half-year's time. Recommendations received:

i am writing to give a very heartfelt recommendation for sally savitz if you are considering accupuncture to address infertility issues. at 36 i was diagnosed with ''premature ovarian failure.'' three different fertility specialists told me that my chances of a successful pregnancy were less than 1/100. two of the three wouldn't even try drugs or IVF with me; the third agreed to (with the warning that even IVF would only increase my chances to 3 or 4%), but i didn't respond to any of the drugs. i had seen sally for other issues, so i asked her to help with my fertility. i began seeing her on a weekly basis for treatment. at the same time, i read up on yoga, meditation, vitamins, etc., so that i could approach it from all angles (''inconceivable'' is a good book outlining this approach). for my 38th birthday (after a cancelled IVF cycle, and before starting what was going to be our second & final IVF attempt), we went to europe for a vacation . . . and i conceived my perfect, adorable daughter, who is now four months old! i had a joyful, problem-free pregnancy and an unmedicated 5 hour labor. although one never knows for sure what causes a pregnancy to finally take, i know that sally made it happen for me. she is an extremely accomplished, experienced professional (plus a wonderful human being) and i trust her absolutely. after my daughter's birth, sally came to see us in the hospital and it was just so incredibly special. i understand what you're going through & it's very hard. i hope it all works out for you. hilary

I'd like to respond to the couple seeking alternative infertility treatments. My recommendations: Dr. Ching Chun Ou and Marcey Shapiro, great MD/naturopath on Solano Avenue in Albany. Another doctor told us we had very little chance of conceiving even with IVF; then, with the help of Dr. Ou and Shapiro, we conceived naturally in about a half-year's time.

2003 Reviews

Sept. 2003

I would really like to get a first hand recommendation on an acupuncturist in SF or the East Bay who works with women and increasing their fertility. Any recommmendations would be greatly appreciated! Thank you so much for any advice or information! cindy

Leslie Oldershaw is great. I know several friends that used her for fertility. I used her for other stuff & she is sensitive, caring, takes lots of time with you-- just a great health care provider in general. She has a very holistic approach & will work with you to come up with a plan that fits your life realistically (ie. can/will you also do herbs, diet change, exercise, etc?). She will also work with you to figure out if your insurance will pay for it, using tax-free medical spending accounts, etc. She is on Grand Ave in Piedmont. 595-1175
Good luck, virginia

I loved my acupuncturist who specializes in enhancing fertility. She was exceptional in how much time she spent with me, her style is warm and caring. I am convinced her work helped me get pregnant after a year of trying. Her name is Leslie Oldershaw, office on Grand Ave, phone 510-595-1175 Jocelyn

Dr. Ou on Grand Ave. in Oakland is really great. I think she helped me to get pregnant both times, but of course I can't be totally sure I wouldn't have anyway. She really impressed this cycle had always been on the long side and she wanted it to be just 28 days. After one or maybe two sessions with her, it was 28 days and it stayed that way for a long long time. Her number is in information for Oakland and her first name is Chun something....sorry I'm not sure, but I'm sure you can find her in the book. Good luck! Irene

I highly recommend Sally Savitz for fertility related acupuncture. I tried to get pregnant for 18 months (and I was under 30) without success. I saw her twice and was pregnant that same month! Good luck. She's in Oakland - 655-9644

I know of 3 people personally who have gotten pregnant with the help of Angela Wu ( Her practice is extremely busy and expensive but seems worth it.
health care professional

If you have the time and the commitment, Angela Wu in San Francisco has a clinic that treats infertility with Chinese massage, acupuncture and diet. I believe it is the only comprehensive Chinese medicine clinic that is almost completely devoted to infertility issues. Here is the web address: I had a very positive experience. anon

Angela Wu on Clement in SF is well-known for fertility treatments. Went to her for a period of time. She also puts you on a specific diet and herbal regimine as well as acupuncture. I gave up (too difficult for me to get there and couldn't hack the herbs) but she does have a decent success rate. You can ask to call some of her clients for references. Wu's Healing Center at 415-752-0170 or Good luck! Janet

Feb. 2003

I have seen a number of posts recommending acupuncturists for infertility issues. I have always had irregular periods and had been on the pill for years so it wasn't an issue until I wanted to become pregnant. I ended up getting pregnant via clomid and now have an 18 month old daughter. We are thinking about trying for a 2nd child in 6 months or so, but until then, I would like to correct any ovulation problems that are causing the irregular periods. I would love to have a regular cycle so I don't need to go on the pill again. Has anyone used acupuncture to correct irregular cycles and did your cycles become regular on a long- term basis? I realize that alot of people use acupuncture to get pregnant but I haven't heard much about how it helps AFTER the delivery. Any feedback is greatly appreciated.

I tried acupuncture for irregular periods, and it didn't really do anything to regulate them, but it helped relax me. The best thing I got from it was the nutritional advice. I heartily approve of the whole-body approach to medicine that is offered by acupuncturists. The one I saw made me chart out what I ate for a week, then gave me advice on what to cut down on, eat more of, etc, since the hormonal stuff is pretty closely tied to nutrition. Maybe if I had followed the advice, it would have worked! It certainly couldn't hurt, but wasn't the miracle I was looking for. I ended up taking Progesterone since I can't stand to take the pill (makes me have constant 'morning sickness'). But for the few months I was on Clomid, it regulated my period as well as the Progesterone. Good luck!

I bet that any of the acupuncturists you've seen recommmended for infertility will also be very good to help you regulate your period. Check out the list again. In the meantime, I highly recommend Carla Dalton who works in North Berkeley. Her phone is (510) 524-4812. Carolyn

I highly recommend my acupuncturist for irregular periods, among many other things, her name is karen Cutler, her office # is 510-654-3873. She is very skilled, and knows a lot about diet and other things that all contribute to the woes of womenhood!! Plus, I love her to death, I think she's great! I started with her last summer, and I have no complaints!! good luck jennifer

This is not exactly the same, but I went to see an acupuncturist after I had been bleeding heavily for 8 weeks after a miscarriage. I had been to the doctor and been told that the only way to end the bleeding was to either wait for however long it took or take birth control pills to slam my body into shape, which seemed a bit harsh, seeing as it was struggling so much already. I was also unhappy because I was incredibly anemic and yet the attitude was, take iron pills or do the therapy we recommend. Period.

So I went to see an acupuncturist my mother recommended, a highly- skilled Chinese man in San Francisco named Dr. Lai. He had been working on a family friend's eyes for years, basically keeping her vision going as long as he could (she was becoming legally blind).

He took one look at me, shook his head in distress, and told me I was too weak for acupuncture; instead he prescribed Chinese herbs (which his wife dispenses from the drawers covering a complete wall). I went home, followed the directions, and within 48 hours had stopped bleeding entirely. Within a week I felt better than I had before I was pregnant! I still look back with wonder at the sense of vitality those herbs gave me in such a short time; they really built up my blood quickly.

To make a long story short, he got me back on track and I conceived a child after six more very regular and manageable periods. I cannot recommend Dr. Lai enough; he is an excellent doctor and a very kind man who doesn't see the body as some kind of machine separate from the rest of you.

He is located on Geary Blvd, across from Kaiser near the hill where the old Sears building is. I don't know the address but I believe he is in the phone book. If you can't find him, you can email me and I will find out for you. Heather

I used acupuncture to help regulate my cycle and lessen PMS. I found it incredibly helpful and the results longterm. My pregnancy and postpartum were healthy and easy as well. I saw Dennis VonElgg in Berkeley, he has an office in Lafayette also. His # is 872-0895 or He was very compassionate, attentive and aware, I found him to be knowledgeable and easy to talk with. I highly recommend him. cb

Jan. 2003

I am trying to find a good acupuncturist and/or herbal medicine specialist to help me deal with my fertility issues. I have read the recommendations on the website but they are pretty old. I am looking for someone who has dealt with hormonal imbalance issues successfully. Trying to conceive again

I highly recommend Marti Lee Kennedy, The Ashby Center of Complementary Medicine. 843-5000 She was recommended by a friend who had fertility problems. We both have children now. Good luck, anon

I can recommend Dr. Li (a woman). Her main number is (415) 282- 1880, but she has an Oakland office on Piedmont Ave where she works twice a week. Good luck! Dana

I have seen Leslie Oldershaw, L.Ac., for a few months, and she specializes in fertility issues. She's very informed and warm, and she supports patients to integrate Chinese and ''western'' medicine. While I've only used her services for a short time, she was recommended by other friends who used her services to support fertility. Her phone number is 510-595-1175, and her office is in Piedmont.

I went to see Dr. Ou after trying for 16 months to get pregnant and did get pregnant on the very next ovulation cycle after she poked me. I'm sure she'd be happy to discuss your situation with you over the phone before having you commit to an appointment. She's at 3901 Grand Avenue near Lake Merritt 510.547-6798. Good luck! Amy

I too had problems and went to Angela Wu in San Francisco. I now have a child. She is a great acupuncturist and almost exclusively treats fertility patients, with great success. She was in a SF Chronicle article a while ago (last year I think). Her phone number is (415)752-0170 and her website is: Good luck. She's not cheap but she's worth it! Happy Client

Angela Wu on Clement Street in SF is a miracle worker. Be prepared to spend a lot of money, take a ton of herbs, singe your hair off with moxa and totally give up good food, but in the end you'll get your baby.
a mom at last :)

I highly recommend Carla Dalton. 510-524-4812 She was not the first acupuncturist I saw for fertility issues, but she was the best. Within three months of seeing her, I was pregnant with my son. After I became pregnant, she was wonderful in helping me hold and keep my baby healthy during a difficult pregnancy. I have sent friends to her for a variety of reasons, and all those who wanted to get pregnant were very quickly. Carolyn

I would recommend Laura Aguiar, an acupuncturist who has offices in both Berkeley and Orinda. Her number is 326-6725. She works with a lot of women who are trying to get pregnant/are pregnant, and she's great. Alison

Earlier Reviews

June 1999

I am looking for an alternative to taking hormones to treat infertility - does anyone have a recommendation for an acupuncturist or other oriental medicine practitioner?

I went to Yumiko Bamba, who is in SF at 415-447-9270. I got pregnant the first month after treatment but then miscarried. I continued on with her and got pregnant a second time with another miscarriage.

My husband and I believe that Dr. Y.C. Chiang, an acupuncturist and Chinese herbalist, made the difference in our getting pregnant after a long time of infertility. He has helped many others as well. He works in El Cerrito on San Pablo Avenue. He doesn't speak English well, and he is expensive, but he's very effective with many people. His number is 524-1057. He also teaches martial arts as does his wife; they have a school called the Wen Wu school. My husband and I have also been taking Chi Gung classes with them; Chi Gung is a martial art done for health. The Chi Gung may also have helped us get pregnant; it can help people become more vital with many possible benefits.

Another acupuncturist who specializes in infertility issues is Marti Kennedy on Ashby in Berkeley. Her number is 843-5000. She also has lots of experience and has helped many people. Either doctor can also give herbs to help hold a pregnancy, if there is possibility of miscarriage, and can help with any other health issues that might come up during pregnancy. In our case, we had been told it was extremely unlikely that we could conceive without intervention, and that even with in vitro fertilization our chances were low. When we saw Dr. Chiang, he said we both had low energy in some ways that affected our fertility, but that he thought we could be pregnant in three months if we took his herbs, and we were. Later, it looked like I was about to miscarry, and my ob/gyn told me there was nothing she could do. Dr. Chiang gave me herbs to help hold the pregnancy, and it was fine. We have a beautiful child now. We did a lot of research into both western medical and alternative infertility treatments. Good luck. -- Alexandra

I went to Robert Dreyfuss in Kensington, 528-0132. He specializes in infertility, and in cancer, and has a very kind and gentle spirit. I decided to get acupuncture and herbs after having two early miscarriages trying for my 2nd child, and having always had extremely irregular and unpredictable menstrual cycles. After starting treatments with him, I immediately started and maintained a regular 30-day cycle (perhaps the most direct and obvious effect!), got pregnant within a few months, and delivered a very healthy & happy baby girl. I began seeing him every 2 weeks, and after my first trimester cut back to once a month. I'll never know, of course, how much of my success with that pregnancy could be attributed to the acupuncture and herbs (other than having regular cycles for the first time in my life!), but I'm sure it didn't hurt and my attitude was to do whatever I could to help make the miracle happen. Good luck !!!!!

Dr. Ou on Grand Avenue is famous for her work helping couples with infertility. She helped me to get my cycle healthy so that I could conceive. She is also an excellent all around accupuncturist -- I would go to her with any health problem. Be prepared, though, for her very straightforward manner and aggressive use of needles. But please still go -- she has a very high success rate -- there are photos of babies covering her desk. Her # is 547-6798.

I hear really good things about Jane Tang who is in Marin. I know of two people with infertility problems who got pregnant with her help. (June 1999)

Jane Tang also has offices in Oakland at 4414 Piedmont Ave, 654-1567. Or at least she did as of a few years ago, when I saw her. I didn't use her for infertility, but I liked her and her assistant a lot. -- Linda