Infertility and the link with nutrition and lifestyle

Infertility is defined as the 'inability of a couple to achieve a pregnancy or to carry a pregnancy to term after one year of unprotected intercourse. Reasons for infertility vary:

- 20% ovulatory failure including PCOS
- 15% tubal damage
- 5% endometriosis
- 26% Male problems including dyspermia - an abnormal sperm count
- 30% Unexplained - no medical reason can be found

Why might nutritional therapy help infertility?

Eating and absorbing sufficient vitamins and minerals is fundamental to maximising fertility. Nutrients such as zinc (sperm production), vitamin B6 (female hormone balance) and essential fatty acids such as omega-3 fats are essential for reproductive health but are often deficient in a typical diet.

As well as obtaining the right levels of nutrients, many other factors may impact upon fertility. Stress has a big impact, consumption of caffeine, alcohol and smoking may all contribute and other factors include food intolerances, parasitic/fungal infections, genito-urinary infections, radiation, heavy metal toxicity and exposure to chemical toxins from a variety of sources. A high Body Mass Index (BMI) may also reduce the  chances of successfully conceiving.

What kind of success rates does a nutritional approach have?

The charity Foresight, who specialises in a nutritional approach to preconceptual, has a success rate of 78.4% with their clients, many of whom have tried IVF without success. Transform Your Health follows a similiar approach to Foresight and may recommend dietary and lifestyle changes together with supplements and tests if considered necessary. In order to maximise the chances of successful conception recommendations need to be followed for a 3-4 month period as this is the timeframe required for sperm cells to develop and immature eggs to mature ready for ovulation.

It is recommended that, wherever possible,  both partners attend the consultation and participate in the 3-4 month programme in order to maximise the fertility of both male and female.

Can nutritional therapy be used alongside conventional fertility treatments such as IVF?

Yes - nutritional therapy can be used alongside IVF and other fertility treatments and may increase the chances of these treatments being successful.

What can I do to find out more?

Phone on 07977 067967 for a free 15 minute consultation about how nutritional therapy may help in your specific circumstances.

Foresight provide lots of useful material on their website if you are interested in reading more about nutrition and infertility. 

Cntact your local GUM clinic and ask for an appointment for a check-up. Many genito-urinary infections are symptom free but may still impact upon fertility. Foresight recommend checking for the following:

Gonorrehoea, herpes, strep. Millerii, B. Strep, Anaerobic bacteria, E.Coli, Chlamydia, Staph Aureus, Gardeneralla, Ureaplasma, Haem. Influenza, Klebsiella, Enteroccuccus, Haem. Strep, Candida and the following if available: toxoplasmosis, cytomegalovirus, rubella immunity.

Ensure you are aware of your own ferility signs (women). Ovulation kits are one option (although not suitable for women with PCOS). An alternative is charting your body temperature and checking your vaginal mucous to find out your most fertile days. A good book to take you through this process is 'Taking charge of your fertility' by Toni Weschler.