Deciding to start a family and finding that it isn’t as easy as expected can come as a big shock. Approximately 10-15% of couples are impacted by infertility, and of these up to 30% will be diagnosed with “unexplained infertility”, meaning that the usual tests don’t identify a specific barrier to achieving pregnancy.
The good news is that there is a lot that can be done to enhance natural fertility and a recent article in Reproductive Biology and Endocrinology sums these up well. We have more detailed nutritional and lifestyle tips in a separate brochure, but in summary the key factors are: • Good nutrition enhances both male and female fertility • Suitable multivitamins enhance fertility • Obesity reduces both male and female fertility as does being underweight, so work towards a health body weight • Exercise benefits both male and female fertility but again excessive exercise in women creates changes which reduce fertility • Seek help with stress • Avoid exposure to both cigarettes and air pollution • Avoid pesticides and heavy metals • Too much caffeine and alcohol also negatively impacts on fertility rates but there is no clear guide on what “too much” means (so perhaps just cut them out).
These findings simply show that when the body is healthy it works well and fertility is enhanced. The other issue to consider when discussing fertility is always age, and while fertility declines for men with age, the chance of getting pregnant naturally for women under age of thirty is far higher than for women aged 36 and over.
For thousands of years Chinese medicine has also linked the health of parents at the time of conception to the health of the baby. New research from the University of Adelaide has drawn the same conclusion. Following the recommendations in this article doesn’t just enhance fertility; it appears to improve the potential health of the baby as well.
A supervised detox is a great way to support these self-help initiatives and will often kick start weight loss and naturally regulate hormones as well. Acupuncture and Chinese medicine are also helpful through their role in reducing the effects of stress on the body, enhancing the production of healthy sperm and regulating hormonal cycles. Acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine can also treat some of the many other conditions that are also known to reduce fertility such as endometriosis and polycystic ovary syndrome. So the message is simple, when planning a family first work on your own health and wellbeing, and don’t delay too long because age matters. Ian, Stephen and Ruth are all able to help with lifestyle, health and and pregnancy planning.