Infertility is frustrating when a woman is actively trying to conceive or carry a baby to full term. However, it is quite common, affecting nearly 1 out of every 6 couples. There are numerous medical cures that women and men can try, but it is important to be aware of several natural solutions that may help or replace medical solutions altogether. The primary root behind most natural cures is the ability to figure out and solve the main cause behind the infertility by addressing the entire body, instead of just trying to fix the reproductive system. There are also many conditions (such as gluten intolerance) or behaviors (such as drinking or smoking) that, in combination with other factors, may lead to infertility or early miscarriage.
IVF and ART
In vitro fertilization (IVF) and other assisted reproductive technology (ART) both have their invasive, expensive ($5,000 to $150,000 per live birth is typical), and risky components. Even if a woman is otherwise healthy, IVF and ART may present serious health risks to both the baby and the mother. Neither IVF nor ART address the primary causes behind the infertility (such as stress, allergies, infections, or toxin exposures).
IVF and ART can be extremely dangerous, leading to health complications to the mother (such as cancer) and deformities in the baby (such as brain problems, genital deformities, and developmental delays). Dr. Sutcliffe from the Institute of Child Health and Dr. Ludwig from the Centre for Reproductive Medicine both stated that children who are conceived out of IVF or ART have to be monitored all the way up until adulthood and that mothers should be tested regularly for cancers after delivery.
IFV and ART should be considered only after you, as a couple, have tried to treat the root causes of your infertility. There are a number of very simple, yet crucial, changes that you can start making right now to increase your chances of getting pregnant and carrying your baby safely to delivery.
Take a Pregnancy or Preconception Supplement
A woman needs a huge surplus of energy and nutrients in order to get pregnant and safely develop a new baby. Even if you eat a super healthy diet, chock full of superfoods and nutrients, the chances are very good that you do not have all of the nutrients that can aid in your fertility. The following nutrients are key to healthy fertility:
- B6 & B12
- Folic acid
- Vitamin C
Quit Consuming Alcohol, Tobacco, and Caffeine
You already know that alcohol is harmful to an unborn fetus, but it can also hurt a woman’s chance of ever conceiving in the first place. As little as one glass of wine can reduce a couple’s chance of conceiving. Men and women who drink heavily before, or during, conception will also increase the baby’s chance of miscarriage or developmental problems.
Caffeine isn’t much better. Did you know that only 1 cup of coffee can decrease a woman’s chance of conceiving by over 50 percent? If you double the coffee, you also double the chance of not conceiving and are twice as much likely to have a miscarriage as women who don’t drink caffeine.
Drugs and tobacco products (even e-cigs) should be avoided as well. Many studies have been done to confirm that tobacco products and many recreational drugs can reduce the quality of a man’s semen and a woman’s ability to get, and stay, pregnant.
Sexually Transmitted Diseases and Infections
While most people probably believe that they are free from sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) and sexually transmitted infections (STIs), they very well could have some that are asymptomatic, or without any obvious symptoms. Chlamydia is one such infection that can cause severe problems in both a man’s sperm quality as well as a woman’s reproductive system. The best suggestion is to get tested for any STDs and STIs regularly.
There is a huge link between food allergens and sperm quality or miscarriages. Couples who are planning to conceive or who are having complications should ask their healthcare providers to check them for any possible allergens and then come up with a plan of action.
Avoid Foods with Animal Estrogens and Dangerous Fats
Avoid or minimize the amount of animal-derived estrogens that you consume. A lot of dairy products contain high levels of estrogen. Women may have a better chance of conceiving if they limit their dairy intake and take supplements for the nutrients, instead.
Also avoid dangerous trans fats by limiting or avoiding foods like candy, chocolate, chips, fried foods and biscuits or fast food.
Adopt a Fertility Diet
In order for a baby to develop correctly during the first 8-12 weeks of pregnancy, the mother needs to consume a diet that provides her with the right nutrients and energy to grow that little human. A healthy fertility diet should be fresh and organic with high protein and good fat food sources like the following items:
- Fresh fruits and vegetables
- Whole grains, nuts, and seeds
- Organic and fresh meat like fish
- Coconut butter or oil instead of butter
If you and your partner are both equally dedicated to conceiving, then you should both avoid environmental toxins, such as chemicals, whenever possible. The poisonous chemicals that we use in our everyday lives run a great risk of ending up polluting our food, air, and water, and can lead to devastating effects, such as preventing conception or causing developmental delays or miscarriage to the unborn baby.
Unfiltered tap water is usually polluted by pesticides, herbicides, cleaning products, industrial waste and other by products. Tap water that contains these chemicals is more likely to contain heavy metals and other repro toxins. Plus, did you know that unfiltered tap water may also contain the waste from people who take prescription or recreational drugs? Medicines or drugs that end up in the water systems don’t always get filtered out of our waste to drinking water systems.
Using a water filtration system that puts water through a dual filtration process is much more likely to filter out any particles and heavy metals. A similar filtration system is also recommended in our shower and hand sink water faucets as the same chemicals may be absorbed or inhaled, which can lead to complications with getting or staying pregnant.
Stress is one of the most likely root causes behind a couple’s inability to conceive. To tell a couple that has been trying to make a baby for months already to not stress out about it sounds counterintuitive. However, taking a few steps to reduce stress can help improve the chance of conceiving as well as help the relationship get through this often stressful time. Exercise together. Get outside and walk or jog together to get those healthy juices pumping and calm your bodies before jumping back into bed together. Try giving each other massages just prior to sex or during nonsexual encounters as well.
Mayo Clinic Guide to a Healthy Pregnancy. (2011). [Book]. Mayo Clinic.
Roizen, M. F. and Oz, M. C. (2009). You Having a Baby [Book]. Simon and Schuster. New York, N.Y.