When it's hard to conceive...

ACUPUNCTURIST Karen Costin says that stress, the contraceptive pill, and ovulation issues are among the factors that can have an impact on fertility.

Over the past 10 years, Karen says that she has seen an increase in the number of women who are finding it hard to become pregnant.

Karen works with women who are pregnant, or trying to conceive. She uses Five Element acupuncture in her practice at Sandford Road in Ranelagh and has been practising for 22 years.

“I treat women who have tried IVF and it has failed, or they would like to try and get pregnant without going down the IVF route,” she says. Others are in the process of undergoing IVF treatment, and want to do acupuncture to increase their chance of success.

Karen adds: “I work with men as well. I have got a lot of patients who I treat for low sperm count.” One problem is that women don’t always know when they ovulate. ”The older you get, the lifespan of the egg is shorter so you need to know exactly when you are ovulating,” she says.

Stress can be an issue. “When you get stressed you release adrenaline, and that causes you to release testosterone in minuscule amounts, which has an impact on your fertility,” she says.

Women can be on the pill for years, then they want a baby, but their hormones are out of balance. Acupuncture can help in balancing hormones. “Sometimes the hormones can be slightly out, but it won’t be detected in a hormone test,” says Karen. Another issue, she says, is that some couples are not having enough sex: “They are too tired, they are too stressed. It is an issue.”