Meet Reproductive Medicine Associates of Connecticut (RMACT) newest team member! We're excited to introduce Maureen McLaughlin, LA.c. who will be joining our fertility acupuncturists, Amy Matton, MS, LAc. and Elaine Malin, MTCM, LAc.
Maureen is an acupuncturist with 20 years of experience. We're looking forward to our patients enjoying and benefiting from her fertility acupuncture services, as well as her philosophy of treatment.
Here are a few answers to some questions that you might have about Maureen. Thank you Maureen for your thoughtful answers and welcome to RMACT!
An Interview with an Acupuncturist for Fertility
How long have you been practicing acupuncture?
I have been practicing acupuncture since 1997. I was introduced to acupuncture in the 80s, when I was a patient of it in California. I pretty much fell in love with it. I went on to study it, and I am happy to say it has been absolutely amazing and incredibly rewarding to practice it.
Where have you worked before coming to RMACT?
Before RMACT, I was affiliated with Advanced Fertility Center of Chicago (AFCC). And before AAFC, I worked with another clinic in the Chicago area, IVF1. In addition, I have had a busy private practice since I became an acupuncturist, treating a wide-range of conditions.
What sparked the interest in you to combine fertility and acupuncture?
The way fertility became my focus was an organic outgrowth of successes I experienced early on in my practice. People who were trying to achieve pregnancies often did. While it was, and always has been, professionally rewarding to help someone’s ankle, back, or neck feel better, helping a person or couple achieve pregnancy was very exciting for me. Learning more about it coincided with being heavily drawn to it!
Do you see fertility and acupuncture as a natural fit?
I believe fertility and acupuncture are a great fit. There is something about the deep, whole-body relaxation effect of acupuncture that helps a person go to a place of reception and peace, energy and sense of ease, and radiance and healing. This state promotes fertility.
Why not use a regular acupuncturist? What makes a “fertility” acupuncturist special or different?
Fertility acupuncturists have a unique understanding about which strategies to employ during a woman’s fertility cycle. When a person or couple is being treated with assisted reproductive technology (ART), the cycle is even more complex. There is a large body of knowledge both from the western standpoint and the eastern, and persons or couples seeking to combine acupuncture and fertility are best served by seeing a practitioner who has a strong interest and talent in this area and who has made it their priority to stay up-to-date on the latest information, research, and continuing education of the fertility world.
Are there special techniques that you use when you are treating a fertility patient? Is there research and/or data to support those techniques?
There are indeed special techniques we use when treating a fertility patient. Before she is actively trying to conceive, we might address constitutional weaknesses or excesses we see to prepare her for techniques and protocols we use during fertility treatment. Specifically, there are excellent protocols to help with increasing uterine lining and aiding in implantation, such as the one RMACT uses before and after an embryo transfer (the cold laser protocol).
What do you wish all your patients knew before they came to an acupuncture appointment? Especially if it’s the first time in acupuncture.
The biggest thing I want them to know is that it does NOT hurt! The needles do not feel like most other needles you may have experienced. This is not as much of an issue for patients who are already undergoing fertility treatment and giving themselves injections. You are a resilient, strong group of people, even so, you do not need any more discomfort than you may already have. A good acupuncturist will know how to treat a patient so it is very comfortable for them every step of the way. At worst, the needles may feel like very faint, very tiny stings and at best, you feel nothing at all upon insertion. Either way, within minutes you will begin to relax and unwind. It is important to trust and connect to the practitioner and, if that is the case, I am certain the experience will be pleasant — if not life-changing!
Are there certain questions that you hear frequently from fertility patients? What are the top 3 questions you get asked? What are the answers?
Number one would be ‘can you explain to me how acupuncture can help me get pregnant?’ To answer this question, I like to quote the studies that have shown that acupuncture treatment can help achieve pregnancy. Then I might share a story of a case similar to the person asking--that had a positive result--from my treasure trove of cases. So this plants seeds of hope from our first conversation on. Number two would be ‘is there anything else I can be doing to help myself get pregnant?’ This is all part of the process. At RMACT this question will be an easy one for me. The referrals I am used to making are already in place and in house at RMACT, such as nutritional counseling or talk therapy with a trained mental health professional. Fertile Yoga is also something I frequently referred patients to participate in as well. Number three would be ‘I felt SO great after that treatment. When should I come back?’ A treatment schedule is something we work on together based on the complexity of your case.
What about your life would you like to share that might make me more comfortable in coming to see you?
I think one thing about me that should make anybody feel comfortable is that I unconditionally accept them right where they are. My goal is to be their partner in the fertility treatment process. I am not there to judge. I am there to support. It’s a journey we go on together, and I consider it to be sacred. It is a great honor to be involved in something as monumental as family creation.
What are the things you cherish in your life?
I cherish my husband and our three adult children and my extended family. I have never been through infertility personally. Because having a family was something I always knew I wanted to do, I understand the deep desire of the infertile patient/couple. In remembering and connecting to my strong desire for my family, I am able to be very empathetic with the process. And it makes me want to work even harder to help make it happen for them!
BONUS: What are you looking forward to in working at RMACT? Had you heard about RMACT before you came here?
I’m really look forward to working closely with Amy Matton and Elaine Malin. It will be really awesome to have acupuncture colleagues in-house to collaborate and exchange ideas with. Really, I am looking forward to working with the entire organization. Everyone I have met so far has been incredibly professional and welcoming!
To make an appointment with any of the RMACT fertility acupuncturists, please complete the online form here or call:
Amy at 203-858-6286
Elaine at (203) 450-0230
Maureen at 847.707.2231