Conception is a well-orchestrated miracle that can be influenced by a myriad of subtle and more obvious factors often difficult to pinpoint with standard medical tests. When a couple is diagnosed with “Unexplained Infertility” it means doctors can find no physical reason for the problem. Generally speaking, fertility is a corollary of good health. In secondary or “unexplained infertility” general health is often compromised and the “luxury” of being fertile is often put on standby. The effects of poor nutrition, environmental toxicity, sedentary living and stress combined with the fact that many of us are delaying childbearing are important reasons why our fertility is being gradually eroded.
Nutrition is key to the treatment of secondary infertility. Every aspect of reproductive health is dependent on an adequate supply of vitamins, minerals, amino acids, and Fatty acids. There is plenty of evidence that animals given diets deficient in certain nutrients are unable to reproduce – the same is true for humans too.
The effect of our 20th century “environmental burden” or toxicity on human reproductive capacity is something scientists are only just beginning to understand. One of the most dramatic effects is on men. An analysis of 61 studies on sperm counts has shown a considerable decline over the last 50 years and scientific evidence points to the exposure of chemicals and toxins as being causative (1). A targeted Detox program for 2-4 weeks is often necessary at the commencement of a natural fertility treatment.
There is no doubt fertility is compromised by the fact that we are having children later in life. A woman’s fertility peaks in her 20s declines in 30s and declines further by her late 30s and early 40s – the accepted dogma that men retain their fertility well into there fifties and beyond are now being challenged and it is becoming obvious that there are problems with male sperm as they age as well.
As we get older and the body pays more attention to maintaining other systems and our reproductive focus starts to decline. Our eggs and sperm (like any other cell in our body) respond to their environment so it seems logical that if we could encourage the body to return to more youthful levels of hormone balance, nutrients, and blood flow, then the ovaries and sperm would benefit. There are many Herbal and nutritional therapies that can improve these parameters.
In practice, I often see women who have previously been diagnosed as “infertile” fall pregnant when certain symptoms change or appear. Often it is simply a case of their “wellness factor” or energy levels improving or positive changes in their menstrual cycles including the presence of fertile mucus (an essential medium for sperm transport) that soon herald conception.
Whether it is a general issue of poor health or a subtle imbalance in hormones natural fertility support aims to help men and women identify their fertile body signs and take control of their health so as to help orchestrate miracles- naturally ( just add love!).
Rebecca Tanner BSC, ND, Dip Acupuncture
(1) Swan SH, Elkin EP. Declining semen quality: can the past inform the present? BioEssays 21:614-621, 1999.