Spotlight: Kyle Liston
by Colleen M. Quinn
Many people count becoming a parent as a milestone worthy of celebration, and consider a child a great gift. For people dealing with issues of infertility, however, having a child might only happen in dreams. Only those who have experienced this know the hurt that goes along with infertility.
This is why acupuncturist Kyle Liston specializes in fertility issues, and works to make dreams of children a reality. Kyle makes her fertility acupuncture services available through Child of Your Dreams in Erie, Colorado. She combines her knowledge of western medicine with acupuncture, a Chinese medicinal practice, to help others overcome fertility problems.
Chinese medicine is a unique system of diagnosis, treatments, and modalities that is about 5,000 years old. It regards the body as a complete system in balance with nature, and for this reason many methods of Chinese medicine approach the body as a whole, including acupuncture.
Acupuncture, a painless insertion of fine needles at specific points on the body, is a well-known part of Chinese medicine. It has treated various ailments and illnesses for thousands of years. Acupuncture manages and optimizes the flow of qi, the body’s natural energy, as it flows through 12 main meridians, or points, throughout the body.
Just as there are pathways for blood and nerves, meridians are pathways of qi. Equally so, the ease of flow in these pathways are just as important since each meridian corresponds to an organ of the body. Ailments “can actually manifest themselves in the organ and in the meridian,” says Kyle, explaining that stimulation of either a meridian or stomach can affect the other.
Acupuncture redirects the flow of qi, restoring the body’s homeostatic balance by using tiny needles strategically inserted at the meridians. This balance can be disrupted by injuries, stress, or unhealthy habits. In redirecting the body’s qi, acupuncture can enhance a person’s overall health. The benefits may include pain relief, a stronger immune system, the alleviation of certain illnesses, and a feeling of overall relaxation.
While acupuncture has various applications, Kyle has unlocked possibilities for women trying to conceive. Kyle specializes in acupuncture for men and women who are experiencing fertility issues, and also those who are trying or planning to try In Vitro Fertilization.
Many recent medical studies have found acupuncture very helpful during in vitro fertilization. Just as it can improve overall health and well being, acupuncture can enhance the lining of the uterus, increase the number and quality of embryos and eggs, promote a sense of well-being and decrease stress during the in vitro process.
In vitro is a Latin phrase meaning “in glass,” and in this case refers to the particular process of fertilizing eggs during in vitro fertilization. The in vitro procedure begins by stimulating the ovaries at the beginning of a woman’s menstrual cycle with prescribed medications, and can be enhanced by acupuncture. In a normal menstrual cycle, usually just one egg is released, but this stimulation encourages the ovaries to release several at a time.
The eggs are retrieved vaginally, and placed in a dish of special culture media, along with sperm. In some cases the sperm is injected directly into the egg, depending on the quality of the sperm. These fertilized embryos are then transferred back into the woman’s uterus 2 to 5 days later, a procedure called embryo transfer. At this stage, acupuncture is performed immediately before and after the embryo transfer, and has been shown to dramatically increase the chances of pregnancy.
The sooner the patient begins acupuncture before in vitro fertilization, the better are the chances of a successful pregnancy. This is ideally 2 to 3 months prior to in vitro for women, and sometimes 4 months prior for men, if necessary. The frequency of acupuncture visits depend on many variables in a woman’s life, including age, previous pregnancies, the condition of the ovaries, and lifestyle habits. They can take place several times a week or month leading up to In Vitro fertilization and egg retrieval.
“Acupuncture can help enhance the quality of eggs and embryos,” Kyle says, “Especially if the woman has not responded to previous medications or has had a failed cycle.” In addition, she says, the acupuncture process can also help reduce the side effects of medications, and can lessen stress as well. Enhancing the environment of a woman’s body for In Vitro Fertilization is essential, since the procedure is delicate and costly (such processes may cost upwards of $20,000).
Recently, many fertility clinics now provide elective acupuncture services on site the day of the embryo transfer. Kyle has developed such a service as Director of Complimentary Medicine at Conceptions Reproductive Associates in Littleton, Colorado.
The convenience of having an acupuncturist available comforts many patients, as well as simply having someone there for them. For patients at many other local clinics, other such arrangements can be made. The most important part of the in vitro and embryo transfer process is that the patient is relaxed and feels comfortable - an invaluable contribution that acupuncture makes possible.
In helping couples with fertility problems, Kyle helps them through a difficult and distressful time she knows only too well. As a labor and delivery nurse of 15 years, Kyle also struggled with infertility for a majority of her medical career. Having adopted her first child, she tried in vitro fertilization six times, but only with heartbreaking results. Kyle says that one of the hardest things was helping deliver babies for others, while she herself tried to conceive.
Eventually, Kyle decided to pursue a path different than nursing. “For a while, I struggled deciding between traditional medicine and acupuncture, but acupuncture just felt right,” she says. It was at this time that Kyle also decided to adopt again. “After I adopted my second child, I felt complete,” she says, “Then I wanted to help others [with infertility].”
Through Child of Your Dreams, Kyle assists people every day to handle their infertility issues. Kyle says that while acupuncture helps a great deal in overcoming infertility, she also discusses with patients the importance of healthy diets and lifestyles. She stresses the advantage of organic foods: “A woman needs to be slightly over nourished to get pregnant,” Kyle says, pointing out that historically, high birthrates correspond with times of plenty. She can also offer spiritual support to those who request it, although on a more informal basis.
More than anything else, the delight in helping others makes Kyle’s work so important, both for herself and for those whose lives she touches. Kyle says that she finds special reward in receiving an abundance of pregnancy and birth announcements – she loves seeing and holding the children that are so much a part of her daily work.
About Colleen Quinn
Colleen Quinn graduated from the University of Colorado, Boulder with a Bachelor of Science in Journalism and Mass Communication. A writer for most of her life, she has been writing for Whisperingtree.net for over two years. In that time, she’s had the opportunity to meet with many practitioners and masters of the healing arts. Using her years of customer service experience and time as an intern reporter, Colleen provides a unique means of expression for each practitioner she meets. She believes that honest interest and open ears are paramount for learning and understanding the world around us. Through her writing, Colleen offers readers a valuable insight into the work of those who are doing so much to help others.
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