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Having Problems Conceiving?

By Susan Mosley

As many as 2 out of 10 couples are unable to get pregnant after 1 year of unprotected sex, falling into the classic definition of infertile! Causes include failure to ovulate, tubal damage, endometriosis, and abnormal or deficient sperm. Many cases have a combination of these factors. Here’s a surprising statistic: only 6% more couples become pregnant with standard infertility treatment than those who just ‘keep trying’!

So what can you do? The suggestions below may be helpful, and are certainly less stressful to your body and wallet than bombarding your system with Lupron and Clomid, with the side effects of weight gain, mood swings, bloating, headaches, or risk of multiple pregnancies.

Get the male partner checked first. At least 40% of the infertility in this country is due to problems in the male. It’s much simpler to diagnose and treat male fertility problems, if for no other reason that it’s easy to access the sperm!

Suggestions for the men:

1 out of 10 men is functionally sterile, with poor quality sperm or low counts. More men have become sterile over the last 50 years due to the rapid increase in environmental toxins. Men in agricultural occupations have 10 times the infertility of the general population! Exposure to lead, paints, X-rays, mercury, benzene, boron, silicon chip manufacturing, and dry cleaning solvents are also culprits. Your physician should check your sperm count as well as the shape and activity of the sperm.

Men should avoid:

MSG, found in Accent, flavored potato chips, Doritos, Cheetos, packaged soups, and meat seasonings. Avoid animal fats, sugar, fried foods, and processed foods.

Tobacco: smoking decreases the sperm count by 13-17%, and increases deformed sperm.

Alcohol and anabolic steroids decrease testosterone production and inhibits sexual function.

Tight fitting underwear (go for boxers), hot tubs, saunas, and excessive exercise also decrease sperm production.

Avoid cottonseed oil. It is used as a male contraceptive in many 3rd world countries, since it decreases sperm production.

Laptop computers can raise the temperature of the testicles up to 4 degrees. Keep that laptop away from your groin!

Men should:

Eat a balanced diet, with plenty of organic fresh fruits, vegetables, and particularly the antioxidant foods like kiwi, cantaloupe, broccoli, asparagus, Brussels sprouts, yams, and spinach.

Get daily moderate exercise, with stress relief activities like yoga or meditation mixed in.

Take Vitamin C: 1000 mg per day increases the motility of sperm and prevents DNA damage.

Increase the volume and amount of sperm by abstaining from sex for 3-6 days before your partner’s fertile time.

Helpful Supplements:

L-Arginine, 1000 mg/day (avoid if you have latent herpes, it can cause outbreaks)
Vitamin E, 400-800IU/day, increases fertility 19-29%
Zinc, 75 mg/day-aids in prostate gland function
multi-vitamin/multi-mineral supplement containing Co-Q10, selenium, B6, B12, and folic acid

Acupuncture and certain Chinese herbs have been shown to increase sperm count and motility, as well as decreasing stress.
Now for the ladies:

Women should avoid:

Caffeine: women who drink only 1 cup a day have a 55% higher rate of infertility. That number jumps to 176% if you drink more than 3 cups/day!

Being overweight: excess fat increases insulin levels, causing the ovaries to overproduce male hormones, and to stop releasing eggs.However, being underweight, with low body fat levels and excessive exercising (running more than 10 miles a week) also inhibit ovulation.

Avoid animal fats, white flour, white rice, sugar, fried foods, and alcohol.

Marijuana prevents ovulation, especially if you also drink alcohol.

Stress causes irregular ovulation and fallopian tube spasm.

Avoid chemicals like smoking, hair dyes, harsh cleansers, car exhaust, dry cleaning chemicals, paint fumes, and preservatives in foods.

Dairy consumption can decrease fertility, possibly due to hormone contamination. Try other calcium sources or guaranteed hormone free products.

Pain relievers like Advil, Aleve, and aspirin can cause the follicles to fail to burst and release eggs.

If you are even thinking about becoming pregnant, you should:

Eat a healthy, well-balanced organic diet. The pesticides found in most commercially raised foods alter hormone levels. Get at least 6 servings of fruits and vegetables a day. Support your local farmers!
At least 3 months before trying to become pregnant increase your intake of folic acid: Sources include whole wheat, brown rice, oats, cereals, oranges, spinach, beans, and peas. Folic acid reduces birth defects and enhances fertility.

Get regular, moderate exercise. Try yoga or meditation for stress relief. Join a support group if the infertility is causing more stress in your relationship.

Being around babies actually helps! Some doctors suspect this is because of pheromones released.

Some women use the cough medicine Robitussin to thin their cervical mucus.

Monitor your ovulation with one of the many commercial kits available. The window of fertility is really only 6 days out of the month.

Helpful Supplements:

Chasteberry, 40mg day
Manganese 5 mg a day
Iron, 18 mg
Selenium 70 mcg
Green tea 200 mg
Chromium, 20 mcg dail
Vitamin E, 400-800 IU daily
Vitamin B6, 50 mg, 3 times a day
Vitamin B12
Zinc,75mg daily

Chinese medicine techniques have been used for thousands of years to enhance fertility as well as prevent miscarriage. Preliminary studies suggest that acupuncture helps to regulate the hypothalamus-pituitary-ovarian axis.

As always in Chinese medicine, your particular treatment will depend upon the observed pattern of symptoms. For example, if you have highly irregular periods the goal is to first establish a regular monthly cycle with routine acupuncture, Chinese herbs, and dietary modifications. This will take at least 3 cycles. A regimen for polycystic ovaries would be quite different than that for uterine fibroids with heavy bleeding or for someone with endometriosis. For some cases, you may receive 4 different weekly herbal formulas. During the period we try to stop bleeding if it is too heavy, or to invigorate blood if your cycle is scanty. During the postmenstrual phase, we aim to build blood, promote the development of the follicles and ovulation, and nourish the corpus luteum. Unfortunately, if you have blocked fallopian tubes or other structural problems, we can’t really help. You would be better served by pursuing standard allopathic methods.

Acupuncture also is a helpful adjunct to traditional assisted reproductive technology. According to the medical journal ‘Fertility and Sterility’, acupuncture techniques, when combined with in vitro fertilization, doubles the chances of a successful pregnancy! Of the women who only used IVF, only 26% became pregnant. However, 42% of the IVF patients who also received acupuncture before and after embryo implantation became pregnant.

For more information call:
Susan Mosley, LAC, Dipl. C.H.
Four Seasons Wellness
6245 Vance Road, Suite B
Chattanooga TN 37421

This article was posted by Susan Mosley

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