Infertility is defined as the inability to conceive for at least a year, despite frequent intercourse. In various forms, infertility affects millions of US couples, with 10-18 per cent of couples having difficulty conceiving or successfully delivering a baby. The Mayo Clinic estimates that one third of the time, infertility is due to male issues; one third of the time, it is due to female issues, and the final third of the time, it is due to either issues with both or unknown factors. Interestingly, with more time, many fertility issues seem to resolve. The article goes on to state that after 2 years of trying, 95 percent of couples trying to get pregnant successfully conceive. What has changed? And, what factors caused the problem in the first place, if it can be resolved with time?
When infertility becomes a factor, couples may visit their doctor in search of a solution. It is not uncommon for doctors to prescribe fertility medications, such as Clomid. While such oral drugs have milder side effects than injectable drugs, it is still important to know the associated risks. The severity of side effects will depend on the drug, the dosage, and your body’s reaction. However, here are some of the most common side effects associated with fertility drugs:
• Hot flashes
• Breast pain and tenderness
• Mood Swings
• Trouble sleeping
• Abnormal menstrual bleeding/spotting
More severe side effects can include vision changes, ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome (OHSS)—this can include ovarian torsion, allergic reactions, and ectopic pregnancy.
Here is a general list of the top factors that can affect fertility in both men and women:
1. Ovulation disorder
2. Low sperm count
3. Poor sperm health
4. Blocked fallopian tubes
6. Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS)
7. Poor egg health
8. Anti-sperm antibodies
9. Vas Deferens blockage
10. Combination infertility
11. Unexplained infertility
As the list above reminds us, males have a part to play in the infertility equation, as well. As we have mentioned before, male sperm count has decreased 60% in the last 40 years. Although scientists are not certain, some have speculated that environmental toxins (particularly in the last few decades) could have some sort of connection.
Recent studies seem to confirm that environmental variables influence fertility. In 2015, a study from Egyptian scientists found that genetically modified corn and soybeans significantly disrupted organ functions in rats—especially the liver and kidneys, though the heart, spleen, and blood cells were also affected. On the fertility side, scientists noted that by day 91 of the GMO diet, many of the rats were completely sterile. In January of this year, another study posted on JAMA Internal Medicine found that in 325 women who were undergoing assisted reproductive technology treatment for infertility, those who ate higher pesticide fruits and vegetables had a lower probability of live birth, while those who ate lower pesticide fruits and vegetables had a higher probability of live birth.
While GMOs and pesticide exposure might seem like obvious connections, small things can impact fertility, as well. For women, tampons can be problematic, as 85 per cent of tampons have glyphosate. This means the cotton is genetically modified with glyphosate so that it does not die when sprayed with Roundup. Roundup exposure has been linked to infertility, along with a host of other health problems. Consumers also need to consider the cotton bleaching process; the chemical used in this process, dioxin, is a known estrogen disruptor. For men, serotonin levels can also be a factor. The Archives of Andrology found that men with normal serotonin levels had better sperm motility. When serotonin levels were increased above normal, motility was decreased.
There are so many factors affecting fertility that it is not surprising the best categorization is sometimes “unknown.” However, this is where natural medicine can be most helpful. Life Choice helped a couple who was experiencing an infertility struggle. They visited medical doctors, fertility clinics, and nothing worked. The couple made an appointment to discuss the matter with me, doctorate of natural medicine for some nutritional guidelines and if I could suggest a protocol for each of them that may correct their fertility issues. We discussed their lifestyles, diet, sleeping patterns, family history, and based on their findings, recommendations were made to be discussed with their medical doctor. The protocol the couple was given included Arginine for both, Fiery Male for the husband, and Balanced Female along with Progest Liposome Cream for the wife. After 4 months on the recommended protocol and lifestyle changes, our office received a phone call. The news given was, “We are pregnant, and not with just one but with twins.” A pregnancy health protocol was given for the mother-to-be, and the pregnancy went full term, resulting in two healthy children, a boy and a girl, who were delivered naturally and without any complications.
As with most health conditions, allopathic medicine focuses on symptom management, while natural medicine targets the core issue. While infertility can be heartbreaking, natural products can offer a happy ending, without side effects.