Infertility

by Dr. Mecherl Lim, MD (MA) Naturopath (ND), Holistic Kinesiology

Absolute infertility is where there are no eggs and no sperm. This is rare, so most couples are really experiencing partial or sub-infertility, or they can’t conceive within their proposed time frame.

A general definition of infertility is when a couple does not conceive after one or two years of regular, unprotected sex.  This assumes the couple are sexually active at the woman’s fertile time, which is typically from day nine (day one is when menstruation starts) to day 21 in a 28 -day cycle. The peak fertility day is usually 14 days before the beginning of menstruation (in a regular 28-day cycle) and at this time there are around three successive days of high female fertility where the vaginal mucus is clear and slippery or stretchy and there’s at least a sensation of lubrication.

The Website Infertility BBT Charts shows the correlation between all indicators of fertility. If it seems too complicated, or if you have an irregular cycle, discuss this with your GP or Naturapath Practitioner.

WHO IS AFFECTED?

About 15 per cent of couples have difficulty conceiving and this figure doubles where the woman is over 35 years of age. In about 40 per cent of cases the infertility problem lies with the man, and in 40 per cent of cases with the woman. In 10 per cent there is a problem in both partners and in 10 per cent there is no known cause.

Some researchers say that in 25 per cent of cases there is a problem in both partners, and the majority of researchers say sperm quantity and quality are declining.

HOW IS IT DIAGNOSED?

Sometimes couples get anxious because they can’t conceive when it’s suitable for them and they need reassurance. A medical diagnosis is needed to establish the cause of infertility, which may involve blood and sperm test, ultrasounds and laparoscopy.

WHAT CAUSES IT?

In women and men

  • Ageing
  • Hormonal imbalances
  • Immune problems
  • Sperm antibodies (the body does not appropriately recognise sperm)

Contributing factors:

  • Poor general health and unhealthy lifestyle
  • Severe stress, including anxiety about conceiving
  • Insufficient restorative sleep

In Men

Low sperm count or problems with the shape or activity of sperm

Blocked spermatic cords

Testicular disease and infections

In Women

  • Endometriosis
  • Blocked fallopian tubes caused by infections, disease or tissue (Many natural therapies have successfully treated women who have been told their fallopian tubes are blocked, which confirms there are degrees of blockage).
  • Ovarian problems such as polycystic ovarian disease.
  • Disorders of the uterus such as polyps
  • Problems with the shape of the cervix or in the texture of the mucus.
  • Early menopause in young women.
  • Obesity.
  • Oral Contraceptive (over the years) I have seen a number of women who do not return to normal ovulation and menstruation and this seems to be linked to long term use of oral contraceptives).

HOW THE DOCTORS TREAT IT

Medical treatments depend on the cause of the problem.

Following a basic check, your doctor may refer you and your partner to a fertility specialist.

  • Hormonal pharmaceuticals may be prescribed.
  • Surgery may be recommended to remove polyps, cyst blocked fallopian tubes or endometriosis.
  • In Vitro fertilisation (IVF) involves a surgical procedure for collecting the egg, together with pharmaceutical hormones. It involve sperm or eggs from donors and the conception rate is about 20 percent. Before undertaking IVF, most centres organise a counselling session and provide written details so you know what to expect from the treatment, the cost involved and, the risks and outcome.  

THE HOLISTIC APPROACH

HERBS FOR WOMEN

A combination of a few herbs such as Dong Qui for abdominal pain, False unicorn for bleeding, Paeonia if Oestrogen is known to be high, Ginger to improve digestion and circulation & Chaste tree is commonly prescribed- use two capsules in the morning & two at night after food. The capsule is named as SHE 18,  if you need more info, send a message to http://www.drmecherherbs.com for more advice. The remedies are discontinued as soon as you know you are pregnant.  

Caution: If you are taking pharmaceuticals there may be interactions and I would not advise self treatment with herbs in this case.

It is also a must to take a combination of Nutrition Supplements such as Multi-Vitamin /minerals, Fish Oil, B complexes and Folate. In a scientific study of 30 women who had been trying to conceive for 6 to 36 months, half were given a placebo and half were given a combination of Herbs & Nutrition Supplements. After 5 months 5 of 15 women taking the complete course were pregnant compared to the ones without.

As we know some women have a deficiency in B vitamins, especially B12, B6 & Vitamin E.

The trials confirm my clinical experience from 1989 when I began working as a Natural Therapist Practitioner. I was surprised at the number of middle age pregnant patients. They, too, were surprised, because most have teenage or older children and have not used any form of contraception for many years. I myself, had a baby boy at the age of 40. I concluded that pregnancies resulted from improved health and the high intake of correct prescribed nutrition.  

Caution: Women, particularly those with vegan or vegetarian diets, may be infertile because of vitamin b12 deficiency, however deficiency symptoms may be masked by high folate diets or folate supplementation.

GOOD ADVICE:

Don’t leave it till it is too late to try to conceive. It will actually be quite difficult for the egg and the sperm to get together. You may have many competing needs such as careers and financial security, but nature may not coincide with these.

Before investing time and money in extreme fertility processes, get your body as healthy as you reasonably can so you will be able to create a healthy baby. However, no amount of healthy living will achieve conception if the sperm are absolutely dead or both fallopian tubes are completely blocked.