Making a baby seems quite simple. Sperm meets egg, cells divide creating a mini human, wait nine months and voila…baby is born! For many couples, this is a natural process that takes place without any roadblocks. However, sometimes it doesn’t work out that easily and I’ve seen firsthand how frustrating that can be.
About one in five couples in Canada are affected by fertility challenges. There are a number of factors that can contribute to difficulties in conceiving. Some conditions that can affect fertility include physical blockages in the ovaries, fallopian tubes, or uterus, uterine fibroids or polyps, thyroid conditions, endometriosis, problems with sperm count, motility, or morphology, a menstrual cycle that is out of balance (may be indicated by irregular timing, spotting between periods, PMS symptoms, amenorrhea, difficulties with ovulation, polycystic ovaries, painful periods, heavy periods), stress, and dietary habits. Wow, those seem like a lot of roadblocks, but now let’s talk about different ways to enhance fertility naturally.
As Naturopathic Doctors we use various modalities including Chinese medicine and acupuncture, nutrition, botanical medicine and homoeopathy in order to rebalance the hormonal system, treat the conditions that give rise to suboptimal fertility and to maximize a couple’s ability to conceive.
Improve the health of both partners prior to conception
Many people think of infertility as a woman’s problem, but it takes two to tango. In fact, studies indicate that the cause of infertility is equally divided between the female and the male, so both partners need to be evaluated and treated.
Chart and understand your cycle
Using natural family planning, you can learn your body’s fertility signs, identify underlying problems, and time intercourse for optimum results.
Balance your hormones
The endocrine system is very complex, and it is important to have proper functioning of thyroid, adrenal and reproductive hormones.
Optimize your digestion
This may not be the first thing you think of for fertility, but digestion plays a central role in your overall health status. Your body’s ability to absorb nutrients, balance blood sugars and eliminate wastes determines the state of your internal environment.
Enhance your nutritional status
Ensuring proper intake of nutrients helps to produce healthy eggs and sperm, as well as provide the nourishment for the developing fetus. Choosing organic, nutrient dense, whole foods will provide your body with a good foundation, and supplements can be used as recommended by your Naturopathic Doctor.
Cleanse and detoxify your body
This should only be done prior to conception and can help prepare both the man and the woman. Most of us carry around accumulated toxins which can interfere with fertility and overall health. Detoxification decreases this burden and makes for a healthier environment for your baby since after all; your body will be its home for 9 months!
Manage your stress
Infertility can be one of the most stressful experiences in a couple’s life. Expressing your feelings, taking control and seeking support from qualified professionals can be lifesavers for you and for your marriage. There are quite a few infertility support groups that run weekly meetings.
Increase success rates of conventional infertility treatments
The Naturopathic approach is commonly combined with assisted reproductive technology (ART) procedures, including intrauterine insemination (IUI), in vitro fertilization (IVF), and intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI), to enhance success rates. Numerous studies have shown that the use of acupuncture as adjunctive therapy to ART significantly improves reproductive outcomes
Whether you are planning on trying to conceive in the near future, preserving your fertility as you hear your biological clock ticking, or are actively treating your infertility, there are many treatment options available to help you along your journey.
Dr. Lesley D’Souza, ND began her studies at the University of Toronto, obtaining a Bachelors of Science in Human Biology with a minor in psychology. She then received her Doctorate of Naturopathic Medicine at The Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine in Toronto, Ontario which is an accredited four-year, intensive post-graduate naturopathic medical program. As part of her studies, Dr. Lesley completed a twelve-month internship at the Robert Schad Naturopathic Clinic, the largest naturopathic clinic in North America. http://www.drlesleynd.com