What does natural fertility management involve?
“Genes load the gun, lifestyle pulls the trigger” – Dr. Francis Collins (Director National Institutes of Health)
Natural fertility management (NFM) aims to help increase conception chances, lessen miscarriage risks and aid infant health. In combination with your standard medical care, NFM will better your health, and the health of future generations, through individually tailored nutritional and lifestyle interventions, and appropriate herbal medicines.
NFM preconception care should ideally start 3-4 months prior to conception attempts for both parents. After all, a child’s DNA is 50/50 from each parent. This is the time it takes for maturation of eggs and sperm. During this time both eggs and sperm are extremely vulnerable to damage.
Preconception care is the ultimate in preventative medicine. It is the ultimate gift that a parent can give to their child.
Factors affecting egg and sperm quality include nutritional deficiencies, stress, toxins, infections, some health conditions (e.g. thyroid issues, PCOS, autoimmunity), lack of exercise, obesity, alcohol, smoking and caffeine. Naturopathic treatment and counselling is effective in removing challenges to optimal egg and sperm health.
Epigenetics is an emerging area of science that perfectly fits with naturopathy. Epigenetic means ‘above genetics’ and involves the switching on/off of genes in response to positive lifestyle and health changes. This means heritable advantages for future generations, due to the turning off negative health implications.
Why aren’t we falling pregnant?
It is common for even otherwise healthy individuals to have trouble conceiving. Fertility is increasing understood to be multi-factorial. Subfertility is frequently due to a combination of several underlying problems rather than a single diagnosed pathology or obstruction.
A naturopath has an important diagnostic role that combines attention to nutritional, environmental and genetic factors. Referral for further medical testing, and other diagnostic reproductive approaches to reproductive health, is also necessary to bring to light otherwise undiagnosed issues.
Naturopathy will allow you to achieve your best health possible. Even a small 5-10% weight reduction may greatly improve a woman’s chances of conception.
Or it may simply be a matter of inaccurate conception timing, which the NFM method appropriately overcomes. Nature has given women undeniable and amazing signs of fertility. The NFM method empowers women to identity these signs, and subsequently their fertile window to optimise conception attempts. Once mastered, the NFM techniques are also wonderful contraception tools.
What about natural fertility and IVF?
Assisted reproductive technology, such as IVF and ICSI, has allowed otherwise childless couples to fulfil their dream of a family. It is one of the most exciting and dynamic areas of medical research today. A vast proportion of infertility is still largely unknown.
Natural fertility is well-matched in combination with IVF/ICSI to improve the couple’s chances of a healthy conception by identifying and treating underlying causative factors and minimising risks involved. The Foresight Association survey in the UK clearly demonstrated a significant improvement in IVF success rates, which doubled after thorough preconception preparation (for both parents).
Naturopathy will benefit a couple at any stage of their IVF journey.
During a cycle:
• Improved egg quality and numbers
• Decreased risk of hyperstimulation – due to liver detoxification support
• Enhanced recovery from treatment – naturopathic treatment will guarantee robust health to minimise side effects form treatments and improve recovery rate from procedures
Post embryo transfer:
• Optimal implantation – by uterine support
• Improved stress management – to boost capacity to carry
• Increased success of conception – through hormonal balance and support, and immune system modulation
• Improved embryonic growth and development – through first trimester support
• Improved pregnancy birth rates – by reducing risk factors associated with miscarriage
A word on egg and sperm donation
Do not underestimate the powerful effects of epigenetics. The exciting part of natural fertility treatment for couples undergoing egg or sperm donation is that you can positively impact the health of your child, in utero and throughout their life, through the switching on/off genes.
Wherever you are in your fertility journey there is something that the integrative and wholistic approach of naturopathy can do for you. It is never too late to make a difference!