First things first – most couples who have been trying to get pregnant tend to think that it is a female factor issue, however in almost 50% of cases there is a male factor issue. Even though the male partner may have no issues with ejaculation or drive, the sperm may have DNA fragmentation, or there may be a subclinical infection or a silent auto-immune issue that could be damaging the sperm. Getting a semen analysis (SA) early on could save time and distress later. Once you’ve ruled out male factor, ask your mother and sisters about their fertility. How old were they when they had menopause? Did they have fibroids or cysts? Endometriosis or immune system issues? This information will help you, as women inherit their fertility potential through the female line. However, don’t assume that because your mother or aunts had six children with ease, you will be able to do the same. She probably started when she was 20, while chances are you are starting later.
Consider getting some help. A good IVF clinic, in cases where a woman has normal ovarian reserve (the capacity to provide egg cells capable of fertilization), the pregnancy rate per cycle should be 40 to 50 per cent. Also, check for infections anywhere in the body for both you and your partner. Major infections will prevent pregnancy, and less significant infections, such as recurrent cystitis or thrush, can also make conception less likely. Also, auto-immune related infections can confuse the body and the brain, making it harder for women to get pregnant.
Clean up your stress, as well as your environment. If your body feels stressed it may decide that now is not the optimal time to conceive. Also, exposure to environmental toxins from various sources has been shown to have a negative impact on both male and female fertility. Make sure you lessen your exposure to plastics (cut down on bottled water) and do a quick sweep of your home to see if there are some major toxic-spewing items.
Take your vitamins! Besides taking a prenatal to prevent neural tube defects, a growing body of research also shows that folic acid may improve ovulation and decrease the risk of miscarriage, as well as positively effect sperm count, And for men taking a multi may be really helpful – the antioxidants (found in most multivitamins), when taken during infertility treatment, can improve a man’s chances of fathering a child.
Women who are overweight (or underweight) will ovulate less regularly, and men in the same situation will produce fewer and less healthy sperm. Also, women who start pregnancy overweight are also more likely to miscarry and to experience serious medical conditions during pregnancy, including gestational diabetes or pre-eclampsia.
When it comes to fats, avoid trans fats. Not only are they bad for your heart but they have also been linked to higher risks of infertility, endometriosis & miscarriage. Fatty fish like salmon are ok, and their omega 3’s are an important building block of sperm. On the other hand, men who favour processed red meats have fewer normal sperm and lower sperm counts.
Consult with a Doctor of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine, who specializes in fertility. Assisted fertility techniques such as IVF cannot improve egg and sperm quality, which is vital for fertilization and a healthy pregnancy. Acupuncture often restores bodily functions, regulates immunity, improves blood flow & regulates hormones (and makes people feel better right away). Many Chinese herbs possess antioxidants and other valuable macronutrients, and can potentially reduce chromosomal abnormalities of sperm or eggs by correcting damaging internal bodily functions and clearing unhealthy patterns in the body. Never try to medicate yourself; always see a qualified TCM practitioner.
Leave the house. Getting outside and looking at nature have now been proven to improve both health and mood, and being social can help release oxytocin and immediately dissolve stress, not to mention all while improving one’s fertility.