By Kathi Goertzen

SEATTLE – Millions of Americans are turning to alternative forms of medicine to help them with all kinds of medical problems. Now, local couples are finding new hope for infertility from a kind of medicine that is thousands of years old: acupuncture. For Seattle couple Davina and Todd Inslee, getting pregnant wasn’t the problem. Keeping the pregnancy was. Davina and Todd suffered through three devastating miscarriages. “We were at the store and the nurse called and basically told me that I’d never be able to get pregnant,” said Davina. “Basically, I just felt like a failure and I couldn’t understand why this was happening to me.”

But the Inslees refused to give up. They decided to try something that has become more and more popular for couples desperate for a baby — they turned to acupuncture. The Inslees went to see Stephanie Gianerelli at N.W. Acupuncture, which specializing in treating fertility problems in women and men. Though they kept working with their fertility doctor, this time they added acupuncture and Chinese herbs.

Once Davina became pregnant, Gianerelli focused on helping her keep the pregnancy. It worked and five months ago, little Ivan was born. The Inslees believe the acupuncture and herbal supplements may have helped this time. “Well, the proof’s in the pudding, something worked, something was different between this and the other three,” said Todd. Cindi Bowles has a different problem. She’s been trying to get pregnant for a year and a half. She’s tried just about everything Western Medicine can offer.

“I’ve never wanted something so much and tried so hard and done all the right things for this amount of time and had no result,” she said. Cindy also turned to N.W. Acupuncture for help. Eastern tradition has taught for thousands of years that acupuncture can not only make you feel better, it can re-balance the body, thus increasing your chances of a successful pregnancy. For Cindi that means putting needles in points that help her kidneys. “Her kidneys are her source of her reproductive energy in Chinese medicine, so it was very important for us to increase her kidney energy, which has happened,” said Gianerelli.

During treatments, Cindi lies on the table with about 10 needles in different points from her ears to her toes. At the same time, she listens to a relaxation CD and takes a combination of Chinese herbs formulated for her. Cindi said the needles don’t really hurt. “The part you feel is the tapping when they go in, but once they’re in I have to look where she’s put them, I can’t feel them.” Cindi’s not pregnant yet, but she is hopeful. And she may have good reason.

Stephanie Gianerelli says N.W. Acupuncture has a 60 percent success rate for the women and men they treat. “It’s very exciting. It can be a bit of a roller coaster. And once they’re pregnant that’s not it. You get excited for the first five minutes, then you say what are you going to do to get through the first trimester?” Many Seattle infertility clinics now refer their patients for acupuncture, in combination with all of the high tech therapies. In fact, the University of Washington is now trying to replicate a recent German study that shows acupuncture boosts the success rate of in vitro fertilization as well. It gives more ammunition to claims that some of the newest means for treating infertility are really thousands of years old. The Inslees are now believers.

“Every moment, every moment I was pregnant, it was a miracle. Every day it’s a miracle,” smiled Davina with tears in her eyes. The Inslees believe it was a combination of Western medicine and the Chinese herbs and acupuncture that finally made Ivan possible. ” He was meant to be, and I never wanted to give up. I knew that he was in there somewhere!” said Davina.