Infertility is a growing problem and many couples turn to IVF. However, the success rates are generally 30% at best, which means 70% of couples will go through an emotional and physical rollercoaster, and still remain childless.
Complementary Medicine can help couples who are struggling to conceive. The natural approach to fertility is less costly, less invasive and looks at the wellbeing of both partners. Natural fertility methods will look at many aspects of the couples’ ability to conceive including:
- The emotions of both parties
- The diet of both parties, and any dietary obstacles to fertility
- The lifestyles of both parties, and any obstacles to fertility
- The reproductive health of both parties
Couples have complex emotions with regards to repeated failure to conceive. There is often envy and irritability at the success of friends and family members who become pregnant. This is closely followed by guilt for feeling jealous and angry at the joy of others’ happiness at falling pregnant. Anxiety and fear of being unable to ever have children is another strong emotion felt by infertile couples, and that can lead to self-blame, depression and sense of hopelessness. Flower Essences (Bach Flower Essences and Australian Bush Flower Essences) are able to shift emotions. The Bach Flower ‘Holly’ is useful for feelings of anger and jealousy and ‘Pine’ for feelings of guilt. Gorse can help shift the feeling of hopelessness and Larch is useful for fear of failure and low self- esteem. The Australian Bush Flower’ She Oak’ is beneficial for balancing female hormones.
By couples keeping detailed diet diaries, Naturopaths can analyse what is beneficial for a healthy conception and what food habits are reducing conception opportunities. Men may believe that their diet does not have to be as rigorous as those of their female counterparts, but this simply is not true. Smoking, alcohol, caffeine and a diet of low nutrient density can affect sperm quality and quantity significantly. Generally a diet that is rich in wholegrains, organic fruits and vegetables, with free range organic meat and dairy will optimise conception opportunities.
Lifestyle is another important indicator is a couple being able to fall pregnant. Aerobic exercise can help hormone clearance, so maintain a balanced reproductive hormone profile. Regular exercise also reduces the effects of depression, and will help reduce stress levels and may promote restorative sleep. Finding out about a couple’s social life and extended network of family and friends is an important part of a Naturopath’s case taking. Are they both consumed by work, with no time for friends and family? If so, perhaps their failure to conceive is because they have not made the space for a baby in their life? If they are expats, do they have friends who can provide help and support when both partners have family overseas? Are they happy with their lives, their careers, their hobbies, and if not, what can be shifted in these areas to make them more content?
Finally, looking in detail at the male and female reproductive health is critical to ensure conception success. Herbs and nutritional supplements can help with male and female hormone imbalances. Herbs and nutritional supplements can improve sperm morphology (shape) motility (movement) and quantity. Herbs and nutritional supplements can ensure the optimal health of the uterus and the endometrial lining as well as the egg.
Sharon and her husband Michael came to me in desperation after 2 cycles of IUI (Interuterine Insemination) proved unsuccessful. Michael had also been given Tamoxifen to improve his sperm count and was shocked when I mentioned that it was a drug used for breast cancer! Within four months Sharon was pregnant and gave birth to a beautiful baby boy.
Jane came to see me after becoming anxious that her and her husband had not conceived after trying for a baby for over six months. Jane was worried that her “Reflex Sympathy Dystropthy” (a condition she had diagnosed four years ago) was preventing her and her husband conceiving. I undertook the following protocol:
- Flower Essences for her anxiety, stress, perfectionism, anger and to improve libido
- Herbs and Nutritional supplements to sooth her nerves, balance her hormones and reduce her pelvic congestion (there were a lot of clots during her menses) and strengthen her connective tissue (related to her medical condition).
Six weeks later Jane was pregnant, and amazed at how quickly herbs and Flower Essences led to a successful conception.Through natural fertility, couples feel better emotionally, physically and spiritually. This is vital for the stresses and strain the arrival of a new baby can bring, especially for couples with a previous history of infertility.