FERTILITY HEALTH / INFERTILITY
Fertitlity health / Infertility is assumed when couples have been unable to achieve pregnancy after one year of unprotected intercourse.
With more and more women choosing to delay pregnancy until they are financially stable and on solid ground from a career perspective, it is assumed that advanced-age maternity is the only reason for infertility. Nothing could be further from the truth.
Infertility is in reality 40% of the time due to a female factor, 40% of the time due to a male factor, and the remainder of 20% includes a combination of factors and unexplained infertility. Therefore, when trying to conceive, both partners must be evaluated. This is efficient and saves time in the conception timeline, especially if the mother is approaching what is considered an advanced maternity age.
A male’s sperm count, motility, morphology and DNA fragmentation can easy to assessed from the comfort of your home, even ahead of approaching potential invasive diagnostic tests to evaluate a woman’s possible gynecological problems.
Many factors could contribute and are frequently overlooked when trying to conceive naturally, which could erroneously lead couples to believe they are infertile:
- Mistiming intercourse outside of a woman’s fertile days or frequency of intercourse
- Lack of knowledge and understanding of a woman’s natural menstrual cycles and the changes that occur
- Misfocus on tracking the basal body temperature, ignoring or not emphasizing the changes in the cervical fluid throughout the cycle
- Inappropriately timed serum and other tests
- Some women are affected by the very medication intended to stimulate ovulation. Clomid (clomiphene citrate) is supposed to stimulate egg development in the ovaries. However, it can dry up the cervical fluid that is important in sperm transport through the cervix; it also blocks estrogen and progesterone receptors in the uterus affecting the uterine lining, making it less optimal for embryo implantation in some women.
- Women may experience alterations in their cycles, some of which may potentially disguise a miscarriage, especially since spontaneous miscarriages happen early in a woman’s cycle.
- Men may have been on testosterone replacement therapy, which directly affects and negatively impacts sperm production
Serum and specialty Functional Medicine tests can dig deeper into the possible reasons for inability of a couple to achieve natural conception if all the above factors have been explored and corrected.
Body habitus, insulin resistance, hormonal imbalance, sexually transmitted infections, gut infections, yeast overgrowth, chronic stress, endocrine disruptor exposure, chronic inflammation, gut dysbiosis, toxin accumulations, increased oxidative stress, nutritional status, lifestyle, dietary choices, exercise, all these can contribute to infertility and should be assessed and treated to optimize a couple’s ability for natural conception.
Maternal obesity was noted to be associated with gestational diabetes, pregnancy-induced hypertension, Large or small for gestational-age babies, prematurity, increased rates of c-section and postpartum hemorrhage, and congenital birth defects.
Medical studies have shown that children of obese mothers are at increased risk for obesity during childhood and adulthood, eevated blood pressure as early as age 5-6, and increased risk for developing diabetes.
Studies performed on couples who had two or more failed IVF attempts showed that women who consumed 3 alcoholic drinks per week had a 30% chance of conceiving within 3 years, and even women who drank just 1 or 2 glasses of wine a week showed a reduction in their 3-year success rate to 66%. Researchers suggest the same patterns would be seen in couples trying to conceive naturally.
Studies have also shown that five or more cups of coffee a day reduce the clinical pregnancy rate by 50% and the live birth rate by 40%, which is comparable to the negative effect of smoking.
Smoking is associated with increased risks of spontaneous abortion and ectopic pregnancy. Known obstetrical complications include low birth weight, preterm labor/delivery, placental abnormalities, children at greater risk for SIDS, asthma, colic and childhood obesity.
Stress and adrenal dysfunction inhibit the female reproductive function, directly inhibiting LH and ovarian production of estrogen and progesterone.
Hormonal imbalance will affect proliferation of the ovarian follicles and maturation of the dominant follicle, impacting ovulation, adequate estrogen and progesterone levels for maintenance of a healthy uterine lining and implantation, with inability to sustain pregnancy.
Exposure to various toxins and endocrine disruptors which have an estrogen-mimicking function, disrupt the hormonal balance much needed for fertility.
Dietary inadequacy, lack of adequate vitamins and minerals crucial in the formation and function of the steroid hormones, as well as untreated gynecological and gut infections alter the microbiome health hindering ability to conceive.
Even if couples are considering IUI or IVF interventions, prospective parents should still be concerned with their health and work on optimizing their health to the best of their ability. This is because the egg and sperm development and maturation take about 4 months and the quality of these at conception affects the health of the baby.
Optimal prenatal care should start 3-6 months prior to conception, to give prospective parents ample time for improvement. Preconception care offers the very preventative aspect of Functional Medicine that ensures development of healthy adults.
Make your health and your family’s health a priority. Call now to request your FREE 15-minute discovery call or schedule a comprehensive consultation. I can work with your schedule to meet your health needs.