With his unique technique, acupuncturist Gerad Kite can help fertility-challenged women to conceive - and he has more than 1,000 success stories to prove it. We meet nine of his patients whose baby dreams have finally come true
Cases in point: Gerad Kite with some of the children he has helped to be conceived using acupuncture
In the past 15 years acupuncturist and trained psychotherapist Gerad Kite has helped more than 1,000 women with unexplained infertility to conceive. He didn’t set out to specialise in infertility, but when a patient in her early 40s came for hay-fever relief in 1992, the treatment yielded surprising results.
‘She didn’t mention she had been trying for a baby for years,’ says Gerad, 48, who runs London’s Kite Clinic. ‘Three sessions later she was pregnant. She referred two friends for other ailments who fell pregnant too. It was clear that bringing women back into balance with their bodies through acupuncture was doing something to their fertility.’
Gerad practises Classical Five Element Acupuncture, an Ancient Chinese technique that works on the theory that when the body is in balance everything works as it should, including conception. ‘We all have little things wrong with us, so I look at pointers such as disrupted sleep, irregular bowel movements and mood and then help people’s bodies get healthy again,’ explains Gerad. ‘I look at their face colour, the sound in their voice, a predominant smell and an emotion that has got out of kilter. My experience as a psychotherapist helps me in this respect.’
When Gerad’s success stories hit the press in 2005 and 2006, women all over the world began to seek him out. ‘I was so overwhelmed by the demand that I trained up a team to work with me,’ says Gerad. His London Institute of Five-Element Acupuncture (LIFEA) now offers a postgraduate course that trains practitioners in infertility. The clinic treats 1,200 patients a year, with an average age of 35.
Seventy four per cent of patients who had 14 treatments over nine months have conceived; 82 per cent of them carried to full term, and of the 18 per cent who miscarried, 72 per cent had babies later on (these statistics include women who may be having IVF or other medical procedures alongside acupuncture).
Some of Gerad’s patients are referred to him by London’s private Lister hospital when they are undergoing IVF. ‘Doctors there have seen women conceive with the combination of IVF and our style of acupuncture, where before these women have failed with IVF alone or different types of acupuncture,’ says Gerad. The Kite Clinic has just completed a research study sponsored by the King’s Fund, a charity advising the government on how to improve healthcare, to see how acupuncture can ease the burden on GP surgeries by supporting patients who are unwell, but with medically undiagnosed symptoms. ‘We use acupuncture to treat their wellbeing and, non-symptomatically, to see if we can balance their systems, improve their health and allow them to see their GP less,’ says Gerad. Kite Clinic, tel: 020 7408 0341, kiteclinic.co.uk. For course information, visit lifea.co.uk
'I conceived my second baby in the first month of trying and my anxiety has gone,' says Katie
KATIE WOOLF, 37, an office manager from London, began trying for a baby at 31. After a year, tests revealed nothing medically wrong with Katie or her husband Scott and they went on the NHS waiting list for IVF. Katie then heard about Gerad and went to see him. A year later she fell pregnant with her son Johnny, now one. She is 24 weeks pregnant with her second child.
After a year of trying for a baby I went to my GP for tests and spent a fortune on so-called fertility experts, nutritionists and Chinese herbalists.
None of them could find anything wrong with either of us so I decided to try IVF. At the same time, I left my job because I had started to get panic attacks, moved house and found out that my dad had cancer – so having a baby was the last thing on my mind.
As I’m usually the life and soul of the party, the panic attacks were alien to me. My GP put me on betablockers and it became my full-time job to fight my way back to health.
Then in 2006 I read about Gerad’s success and went to see him. After my first treatment I felt better than I had done in years. The difference between his approach and the acupuncture I had had before was huge. I felt my mind was being reunited with my body. The panic attacks got better and I was back living a normal life within two months.
Gerad doesn’t have a magic wand but he made me well, which allowed me to have a child. Within seven months I was pregnant. Sadly I lost the baby at seven weeks but six months later I became pregnant with Johnny.
Gerad doesn’t treat you symptomatically but as a person. His training as a psychotherapist means there is no hiding. I conceived my second baby in the first month of trying and my anxiety has gone. I see Gerad for monthly maintenance sessions and I would love a third child. MELISSA ROBERTSON
'Acupuncture boosted my system and gave me a better chance with IVF,' says Melissa
MELISSA ROBERTSON, 46, a former TV production manager from Surrey, had been trying for a baby from the age of 38. After three failed IVF attempts, she went to see Gerad in 2006, whom she credits with helping her conceive her daughter Maddie, now three, on the fourth IVF attempt. She is married to Alistair. By the time we began to think about a fourth IVF attempt I really couldn’t face any more needles. It was such an intense time. I was working in TV production at the time and a colleague was training to be a Classical Five Element acupuncturist with Gerad. She suggested that I go to see him because of his reputation with treating women with unexplained infertility. When I met Gerad, I thought he was wonderful. At the initial consultation it was the first time that I had talked through the emotional upheaval of not being able to conceive. It was such a relief to talk. I began to see him every two weeks and he said that during those first few months he was going to use the acupuncture to really boost my system so that I would have a better chance with the IVF. I fell pregnant with my daughter Maddie at the age of 43. The acupuncture put me in a much better place physically and holistically to conceive. I also had acupuncture during the pregnancy and when I developed carpal tunnel syndrome [a condition in which the wrist nerve becomes compressed] it disappeared overnight after a session with Gerad.
I recommended the Kite Clinic to a friend who was struggling to conceive and she fell pregnant with twins while receiving IVF treatment. I do believe that going to Gerad made all the difference.
'Gerad said that I needed another focus apart from trying for a baby, ' says Charlotte
CHARLOTTE CLAYDON, 37, a retail manager from Hertfordshire, managed to conceive her son Thomas ten years ago, despite suffering from endometriosis. But five years of trying for a second child proved fruitless. Charlotte took the fertility drug Clomid, underwent IUI [where sperm are placed in the uterus with a catheter] and had many rounds of unsuccessful IVF. After seeing Gerad, she and her husband Tim conceived Max, now three, and Clementine, now two, naturally.
By 2005 I had spent over £20,000 on trying to have a second baby. I was due to take part in Professor Robert Winston’s BBC documentary about infertility. I told the producer that I was thinking about acupuncture to support my next round of IVF. She mentioned Gerad’s name and strangely enough I had been carrying round a magazine article about him in my bag for months.
Gerad said that I needed another focus apart from trying for a baby. After the first session of acupuncture I remember thinking that even if I don’t have a baby everything is going to be OK. I had another appointment the following week and the next morning I woke up with my top covered in milk. I had started lactating in the night. The strange thing was that I had never breast-fed my first baby. I knew then that what Gerad had done was a very physical thing. Two weeks later I had my first pain-free period; I had been in agony for 20 years.
Gerad knew I was about to start my second round of IVF and advised leaving it another month. At the end of those four weeks he told me I was pregnant – he could tell from my pulses. I could not believe it. I carried on seeing Gerad throughout the pregnancy.
After Max was born in 2006 we didn’t use contraception. After so many years of trying for him what was the point? Five months later Clementine was conceived, much to my shock. I had continued the acupuncture to help my health generally. Without it I would not have conceived two of my children.
'He made me feel positive that my body could cope with carrying a baby to almost full term,' says Natasha, who was diagnosed with cervical cancer
NATASHA LAWS, 34, from Hertfordshire, was hoping to conceive a sibling for her daughter Luschia, now 12, when she was diagnosed with cervical cancer in 2003. She had surgery to remove her cervix, which would still allow her to conceive naturally but with a high risk of miscarriage. She saw Gerad in 2007 and was pregnant seven months later with Anya, now 18 months. Natasha is married to Andy.
After the surgery, which left in a stitch strong enough to hold any future pregnancy in place, I was anxious about conceiving again. Even though doctors at the specialist hospital where I had my surgery were sure I could get pregnant, the doctors at my local hospital were more pessimistic. This conflicting advice began to get me down and I was worried that I would get pregnant but lose the baby. Looking back, anxiety played a strong role in my not getting pregnant.
After two years of trying for a baby I went to see Gerad in March 2007, as I had read powerful stories of the women he had helped. The needles didn’t hurt as much as I had feared. I felt hopeful, but a few months later I questioned why I wasn’t conceiving as quickly as some of the women I’d read about. Tests revealed that I had blocked fallopian tubes and the consultant said to think about IVF. Meanwhile, Gerad suggested doing a detox on my system. Two months later, in November, I did a pregnancy test and it was positive.
Gerad’s acupuncture definitely played a part. Without a cervix, the pregnancy was high risk in the second trimester and there was a chance of having a late miscarriage or a premature labour. I had acupuncture every six weeks and at 37 weeks Anya was born. Gerad’s acupuncture is not magic – but there is no doubt that he’s got a real talent. He helped reduce my anxiety and made me feel positive that my body could cope with carrying a baby to almost full term.
Gerad treated Caroline's daughter Edie for the first year of her life after she was diagnosed with hemiplegia, a form of cerebral palsy
CAROLINE HARRISON, 44, a pilates teacher from Dulwich, and her husband Ian went for fertility tests in 2004 after trying for a second child for two years. The results showed that Ian had a very low sperm count and they were told to try IVF. Before going down the medical route, Caroline tried acupuncture with Gerad and became pregnant three months later. Edie is now four and her sister Megan is ten.
I’d read that an infection could cause a low sperm count so before we committed to IVF Ian went to see a urologist, who diagnosed a prostate infection. After a course of antibiotics Ian’s sperm count returned to normal.
I’d seen an article about Gerad, so Ian and I decided to go to see him to maximise our chances of conceiving without IVF, as I was 40 by this point. I’d suffered from uterine polyps and recently had had them removed, so Gerad said that he would reset my internal clock because my cycle wasn’t working efficiently. The treatment was very painful but powerful. The mid-cycle spotting I’d been having stopped and three months later I was pregnant.
Edie was born in 2005, but I soon noticed that she was stiff down one side. When she was six months old I discovered that she had suffered a stroke in my womb, and as a result had hemiplegia, a form of cerebral palsy. My world fell apart. I took her to see Gerad every week for the first year of her life. Each time he treated her I saw an improvement. Gerad saw her as a whole person while the medical world treated the different aspects of her condition. Edie can now ride a tricycle and loves school. Most people don’t notice the weakness on her left side. Gerad sometimes does an MOT for Edie and she takes him custard creams! To contact the hemiplegia charity HemiHelp, tel: 0845 120 3713, or go to hemihelp.org.uk
'After trying IVF, Gerad was my last chance,' says Allison
ALLISON JAMES, 44, a marketing consultant from Surrey, and her husband Stephen began trying for a baby in 1999. After six years, her GP referred her to a fertility clinic where she was told she had ‘unexplained infertility’. Following two unsuccessful IVF cycles, she went to the Kite Clinic in March 2005 and conceived Adam, now two, in July 2006. Having spent £8,000 on IVF, my last chance was to see Gerad. I had read about his success with unexplained infertility. I had had acupuncture before but never Classical Five Element. After the first appointment I felt lighter – as though I had less weight on my shoulders. As a psychotherapist, Gerad really talks through your past with you before he treats you. I saw him every two weeks at first and then monthly. Six months into the treatments, Gerad suggested that I go freelance or take a break as I was often travelling long-haul for work. At first I felt slightly put out. I didn’t feel stressed or overworked, but a few months later I left one of his sessions with the overwhelming feeling that I needed a break. I took a five-week sabbatical and did a holistic massage course. It felt liberating. At the end of those five weeks I conceived Adam. Acupuncture helped me to conceive. But Gerad and his team are also trained to listen. I have stopped travelling now and gone freelance. Thanks to Gerad I am calmer and much happier.
'The medical world does endless tests to make sure that your body is working but Gerad looked at all of me,' says Penelope
PENELOPE TURNBULL, 40, an interior designer from London, had been trying for a baby with her husband Andy for a year, but hospital tests found nothing wrong. Penelope was prescribed the fertility drug Clomid to boost her egg production and was advised that IVF would be the next step if the drug failed. She decided to try acupuncture instead and went to the Kite Clinic. Within seven months she was pregnant. Their daughter Amelia is now two.
I was 37 and started to panic about not conceiving. I had read about Gerad so I went to see him in September 2006. The first thing that struck me at my initial consultation was that Gerad looked at the whole picture. The medical world does endless tests to make sure that your body is working but Gerad looked at all of me. I had a busy job and a hectic social life and I was drinking a lot.
Looking back, motherhood was something else to ‘achieve’ and to fit in with my busy schedule. Gerad said that my body couldn’t get pregnant as I was not giving it a chance. I came out feeling really positive.
My periods were always irregular – I came off the pill in 2004 and since then there had been from 25 to 41 days between cycles. After my first session, Gerad passed me on to a member of his team, Bruce, who I saw every week for the first month, then every two weeks and then every month. Within two sessions my periods became regular as clockwork.
In April 2007 Andy turned 40 and we had a party. I was ovulating that week and got an emergency appointment at the clinic. That Friday we celebrated Andy’s birthday and Amelia was conceived. There is no doubt in my mind that the acupuncture helped. I tell people that Mimi was created with a huge amount of love, a bit of hope and a sprinkling of acupuncture.
VICTORIA ANTONIOU, 34, a full-time mother from Hertfordshire, was having trouble conceiving a second child. She began seeing Gerad in February 2009. She is now five months pregnant and her son Christian is four.
I had conceived Christian within three months of trying and gave birth to him in 2005. But when we started trying for a second baby, in 2007, nothing happened. After a year we began to think that this was a little odd, so in January last year we went to our GP who organised some fertility tests. We were advised to have IVF. My friend Katie Woolf [see page 50] had successfully conceived after being treated by Gerad so I saw him the following month.
I had had acupuncture before but never Five Element. Gerad did a lengthy consultation – it was like an interview about my life. He was very easy to talk to. He would burn moxa [the mugwort herb] directly over the acupuncture points, and then insert the needle very quickly in and out. I was never left with needles in me. This process apparently warms up the acupuncture point before the needle insertion. I felt very warm in the pit of my stomach. I never imagined I would enjoy having needles put into me but it was a great experience. I started to have treatments every two weeks.
In August 2009 we began our first IVF treatment at a private clinic in London and I increased my visits to Gerad to weekly sessions to help my chances of conceiving.
In September 2009, just seven months after first seeing Gerad, I conceived my much longed-for second baby. I strongly believe that Classical Five Element Acupuncture has played a huge part. It has totally relaxed my body. I have had bad morning sickness and after visiting Gerad it lessened. I’ve also been anxious about miscarriage, as we have waited so long for this baby, and again my sessions with Gerad have helped to keep me calm. DINA GREEN
'Acupuncture with Gerad had helped my mental state and given me the strength to try IVF again,' says Dina
DINA GREEN, 33, lives in London with her husband Jeremy and their four-month-old daughter Dorothy. After having three children from his first marriage, Jeremy had a vasectomy but had the operation reversed to start a family with Dina. Doctors advised them to have IVF because the operation would have affected Jeremy’s sperm count and quality. They began the process in March 2006 but doctors discovered a problem with Dina’s eggs. After acupuncture with Gerad, and on the first IVF attempt, she conceived Dorothy last year.
I was only 28 so the doctors had been hopeful that IVF would be successful. Seven eggs were fertilised but overnight they disintegrated. The next day was the most devastating day of my life. They thought I might have had chemotherapy (I hadn’t) as my eggs were so poor, and told me that I would never be able to conceive. We left the hospital in total shock.
For six months I cried every morning. I started to look into egg donors and adoption in Africa, Russia and China. Then a friend who had seen Gerad to help her stop smoking suggested I see him. He gave me acupuncture and recommended that I see IVF and fertility specialist Dr Taranissi, who he felt would be able to get results. Dr Taranissi could find nothing wrong with the quality of my eggs.
I’d never had acupuncture before but my first thoughts were what a fabulous feeling it was to talk to someone about all that I had been through. I felt like a million dollars when I walked out. I went every three weeks; however, it took me another three years to find the strength to visit Dr Taranissi for IVF. But in March 2009 I did. I conceived on my first try.
Acupuncture with Gerad had helped my mental state and given me the strength to try IVF again. On 27 October Dorothy Rose was born, and after six years of trying we are a family.