How Much Does Fertility Acupuncture Cost?
Acupuncture may not seem like the first treatment option for women having difficulty getting pregnant. However, as one of the few therapies that can improve egg quality and after seeing the many pictures of babies and success stories on my website, women often feel reassured that acupuncture is a viable solution. The question then turns to the cost involved for this natural fertility therapy.
How much does fertility acupuncture cost? In the San Diego area, it can range anywhere from $25 to over $100 per treatment. The wide variation is due in part to the setting in which acupuncture is given (private or group) and the experience of the practitioner.
If I look up fertility acupuncture near my zip code 92111, several websites pop up. Most sites don’t talk about how much treatment costs. This is a standard practice. It’s similar to going to a jewelry store and all the tags are flipped with the price down. “How is seeing the item code helpful?” I quietly wonder.
I asked my colleagues about their unpublished fees. They spilled the beans. The cost of acupuncture varies based on the clinic and practitioner. For my area of San Diego area with the zip code of 92130, the per visit fee runs between $50-135 for an established patient.
Knowing your costs helps you plan your care and allow adjustments in your finances. After all you would be more likely to go to a certain dealer if you knew how much the car cost.
Why do some acupuncturists charge more for the same service?
Not all acupuncture is the same. And not all acupuncturists are created equal. Some of the reasons for a higher fee is due to experience and area of specialty. Treating fertility issues requires more specialized knowledge than a general acupuncturist has.
Fertility acupuncturists will have more experience and extra training in navigating the complexities of a woman’s fertility journey - including how to naturally optimize a woman’s reproductive cycle and how to best complement modern fertility treatments such as in vitro fertilization (IVF) and inseminations.
The least expensive acupuncture will be in community acupuncture clinics. In these settings, several people are treated in one large room. This group setting allows the price per acupuncture session to be lowered significantly. Unfortunately, the lower cost often comes at the price of extensive fertility experience. In the long run, this can make the difference between whether or not you get pregnant. Because it’s unlikely in a group setting that you will share intimate details of your fertility journey, this means that your acupuncturist does not always have the whole picture and can only help you at a superficial level.
However in private rooms, although at higher prices, your acupuncturist can more easily get to the root cause of what may be blocking you from a successful pregnancy. Often, the emotional difficulties of the fertility journey is the very thing preventing a woman from getting pregnant. Only in the privacy of an one-on-one session can this be shared and released therapeutically.
Is acupuncture covered by insurance?
Most insurance policies which cover acupuncture will only do so for a condition that is related to pain. Back pain, neck pain, elbow pain, leg pain, headache etc. To date, no insurance policy covers acupuncture for fertility treatment.
Treating infertility with acupuncture is a specialty that people pay out of pocket for.
To find out if your insurance company covers acupuncture, call them to verify coverage. Part of being an informed patient is to know the particulars of your insurance policy.
Here are some questions to ask your insurance company:
- Do I have coverage for acupuncture?
- If no, you can stop here because you know that you have to pay for acupuncture out of pocket.
- If yes, ask the questions below.
- Is acupuncture covered with in-network and out-of-network providers?
- How much have been my deductibles been met?
- How many acupuncture treatments are covered within a calendar year?
If you have a flexible spending account (FSA), it will cover acupuncture although not usually supplements.
Once you know how much each office visit costs, the next thing you need to know is the treatment plan.
How often do you need to be treated?
I'm only going to talk about my recommendations because every acupuncturist is going to be a little bit different. However, in talking with my colleagues, it's in line with what others advise.
If you're trying to conceive naturally, get acupuncture at least once a week. If you can comfortably afford twice a week, that would be even better.
My experience is that women who start with twice a week because they’re excited in the beginning and they want to give it their all, give up on acupuncture more quickly because they’re looking at the rapidly rising cost. If that’s going to be you, just do once a week because it’s more important to be able to stick it out longer with the treatment. But at the minimum, once a week.
If you're doing an IVF or an insemination, try to plan ahead and start acupuncture at least three months prior to your cycle. If your cycle is going to be sooner than that, just start acupuncture as soon as you can.
The reason for waiting three months before your cycle to prepare is because your eggs take up to four months to mature. You need to give it enough time for everything that you're doing to set in and work.
Once pregnant, I increase it to twice a week for the first trimester. This is the most delicate stage of a pregnancy so getting all the support you can may make the difference between a pregnancy that continues and one that doesn’t.
I strongly advise you to continue acupuncture especially if you have had acupuncture before to help you get pregnant. What helped you get pregnant will help you stay pregnant, so do not stop the acupuncture once you get a positive pregnancy test.
Remember that it's not about just getting that positive pregnancy test, it's about getting you past that first trimester which is the most critical period into the nine months. So continue the acupuncture to support the pregnancy.
How to choose an acupuncturist?
Here are the most common ways clients find acupuncturists:
- Google “fertility acupuncture 92111 (replace with your zip code).” Look through the websites to see who you resonate with and call them to ask your questions. Remember that you’re interviewing them for the best fit, not the other way around.
- Ask a friend for a referral. You’ll be surprised by how many women have needed extra help to get pregnant. Opening the conversation can lead to unexpected discoveries.
- Ask your fertility doctor for a referral. You can trust if a doctor recommends an acupuncturist, he or she most likely has plenty of fertility experience.
- Yelp - I’m including it here because people use it. However, it’s not the most reliable resource because Yelp’s review filter can skew the perception or the demographic doesn’t write Yelp reviews (for example, most of my clients are in their late 30s and 40s - an age group that generally doesn’t write reviews)
What questions to ask :
- How much experience does the acupuncturist have with your situation and/or age group? Acupuncturists with experience working with women in their 40s is more rare since this is a more complex issue involving emotional obstacles on top of physical.
- Does he or she treat pregnant women? Some acupuncturists don't treat during pregnancy. You should find someone who is comfortable enough to continue your treatment once you've had success.
- If you plan to use insurance, do they accept it? If no, what are their prices?
- What are their business hours?
- Where are they located? You want to make sure their hours and location are convenient for regular appointments.
As a patient, you get to decide who you want to go see for acupuncture services. I encourage you to interview 2-3 acupuncturists before deciding on one. Call their office. See how they answer your questions.
Here are some things to note that would help you make an informed decision.
- Was he or she rushed during the call?
- Did you have sufficient time to ask questions?
- Were you able to speak with the acupuncturist directly?
- Did you and the person who took your call make a connection?
- Were they accommodating to get you scheduled?
These initial impressions can give you a sense of how accessible your acupuncturist will be. Because you’ll be in a long-term relationship with your acupuncturist, you want to make sure you have a strong rapport.
Personally, I think that connection makes a significant impact in the end results. For example, I make sure I’m readily available to my clients for questions. My office phone number is my cell phone so they know that they can text me for any help.
If you have yet to add acupuncture as a healing modality to your fertility treatment plan, you may be pleasantly surprised at what it can do. Acupuncture works well as a stand alone treatment. It also works well in conjunction with IVF or inseminations. Don’t hesitate to add this powerful technique to your fertility journey.