The definition of infertility is ‘the inability to conceive in the past twelve months when no contraception has been used’.
There can be quite a number of reasons why a couple are unable to conceive, the most common being tubal obstruction or pelvic adhesions.
Hormonal imbalances are also high on the list and also male infertility or the presence of anti-sperm antibodies.
In other cases no reason for the apparent infertility can be found and in these cases in particular it is important to look to the overall health of both parents. For any couple the conception of a healthy child is dependent on having two healthy parents and research shows that many dietary, lifestyle and environmental factors can adversely affect reproductive health.
The formation of sperm may take up to 116 days and healthy active sperm require an adequate ZINC status and Vitamin E level.
Adequate levels of Vitamin C and Selenium are also important.
These will not be acquired by a person on a diet high in ‘junk’ foods, sugar, white flour, coffee, alcohol etc. or by a person who is smoking cigarettes.
For sperm to be effective it must be present in sufficient volume, be active, be relatively normal in size and shape and not clumping together.
The quality of sperm is measured by the ‘teratozoospermic index’ (TZI) and is a measure of the number of defects per abnormal sperm. The higher the number, the more defects there are. For example, a TZI of 1.6 or less carries an expected pregnancy rate in the general population of approximately 60%. A TZI of 1.8 has an expected pregnancy rate of 50%, but by 1.9% the rate has dropped to only 11%.
The expected time required by a man to see a difference in this index once he starts
on nutritional and herbal treatments would be about 4 months, however if he has
a lot of detoxifying to do or weight to lose, then the time frame can well be longer
For a man to improve his chances of becoming a Dad he should always firstly address his diet and life style. Eat lots or fresh organic foods and absolutely no junk foods, refined foods, food with added sugars (soft drinks etc) and no alcohol.
Stop smoking if this is applicable!
Also take Colloidal minerals daily to further increase mineral levels in the
body especially Zinc and Selenium.
See page on ‘Minerals – why we need to supplement’.
Taking extra vitamin B12 has been shown in studies to increase sperm number and motility, as has Co enzyme Q10.
B12 is best taken in conjunction with B Complex. See page on ‘B12’.
Vitamin C is essential for normal sperm mobility and to avoid ‘clumping’ of the
sperm. It is particularly necessary if a male is exposed to toxins or cigarette smoke. Vitamin C may also reduce the number of defective or damaged sperm.
Sperm also need to be protected against free radicals and although minerals such as Zinc, selenium and copper plus vitamins such as vitamin A, C and E all have the ability to reduce free radical damage at times there may be call to add further anti-oxidants. Green tea, grape seed and all blue and red berries come into this category.
Herbs such as Panax Ginseng, Withania, Tribulus, Maca, Damiana and Astragalus are adaptogens or tonics and can also be useful, but are not aphrodisiacs as some people think.
See page on ‘Impotence’.
Ova, require 100 days prior to ovulation to mature. During this preconception time both sperm and ova are susceptible to damage and require adequate nutrition to ensure healthy development. Diet is extremely important. Lots of fresh foods and NO junk, added sugars, white flour etc.
Polycystic Ovary Disease can be a common problem, at times not diagnosed until infertility becomes an issue.
See page on PCOD.
As always MINERALS are extremely important.
Zinc is often lowered by the use of contraceptives, I.U.Ds and Iron supplements.
Most women know that extra Folic acid is required for healthy fetal development,
but Zinc deficiency can result in impaired asorption of Folic acid.
Iodine, lack of this element can cause sub clinical Hypothyriodism which can interfere with ovulation and impair fertility.
Also all B Vitamin deficiencies have been associated with fertility problems, miscarriage, low birth weight etc.
One of the most common reasons for being deficient in B vitamins would be the use of cigarettes and excessive use of coffee and alcohol.
Coffee and smoking in particular are known to decrease chances of becoming pregnant.
All deficiencies need to be corrected well before becoming pregnant not just Folic
acid. So, extra minerals, Folic acid, B vitamins, fresh organic foods and absolutely no junk foods, coffee or alcohol.
In some cases as well as following the guidelines above extra detoxification may be indicated.
Toxic metals such as lead, mercury, cadmium and arsenic can create problems with sperm and ova production and mineral deficiencies can at times be attributed to excess heavy metals.
Detoxification of all kinds can be improved by increasing mineral levels, especially Zinc and Selenium, and then in addition using herbal liver tonics for 1-3 months.
If heavy metals are suspected then further investigation will be needed and chelating products used.
Click here for more information on Detoxification.
At times there may be also a need to balance hormone levels. In this case herbs that contain phytoestrogens such as Dong Quai, Paeonia, Chaste tree (Vitex Agnus castus), Wild Yam etc can all help greatly as they work by tonifying and balancing the reproductive organs.
‘Contact us’ to order herbal extracts.
These things are far best taken care of prior to conception as due to the
speed of development of the foetus, many important processes occur very early in
the pregnancy that are dependent on the existing nutritional and toxicological
status of the parents.
See notes on ‘Pregnancy- Healthy’