Infertility explained..

 You may be finding that trying for a baby is harder than you could have ever imagined. Whilst some of your friends are becoming pregnant the month after coming off the pill, you keep thinking to yourself “What is wrong with me, why is my body betraying me?”


You are not alone; fertility issues are more common than you may have thought. It has been estimated that 1 in 6 couples will have concerns conceiving, the trend is that soon 1 in 3 couples will have fertility issues (McArthur 2007).


Infertility is said to be an issue if you are under 35 and fail to become pregnant with regular unprotected intercourse over a 12-month period. For women over 35, the threshold is 6 months instead of 12. If you are concerned about not falling pregnant, you don’t have to wait 6 or 12 months. You can seek help before this time but give it a few months before panicking and causing yourself any unnecessary stress. (McArthur 2007).


There is also nothing wrong with getting yourself and your partner baby ready. Many couples visit our clinic for assistance with this even if no health issues or hurdles have presented themselves.


Let’s Break this Down Even Further..


When it comes to infertility, 40% of the issue rests with the male partner, the sperm. Female factor infertility also leads to about 40% of the underlying problem. In 10% of cases the issue involves both partners in a further ten percent of cases the issue is unknown. The good thing about these statistics is that there is often a known cause for the infertility and usually a remedy can be implemented either through Western medical diagnosis and intervention, IVF or even complimentary medicines that can endeavour to improve egg, uterine and sperm quality (McArthur 2007).

Many factors can affect a woman's ability to have a baby:

Lifestyle factors:

Lifestyle factors:

Lifestyle factors:

  • Poor Diet
  • Excess alcohol use
  • Stress, Anxiety or Depression
  • Athletic training
  • Being unhappy with a job or life situation
  • Being overweight or underweight

Internal factors:

Lifestyle factors:

Lifestyle factors:

  • High Natural Killer cell count or both partners sharing the same DQ Alpha gene
  • Blood clotting factors
  • Inflammation
  • Intestinal parasites and poor GI health
  • MTHFR gene
  • Sexually transmitted infections (STIs)
  • Polycyctic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS)
  • Issues that cause hormonal changes, PCOS and primary ovarian insufficiency
  • Endometriosis
  • Uterine Fibroids
  • Blocked Fallopian tubes


Now let’s Not Leave the Fella’s Out

As your male partner produces half of the DNA for your baby, they can also be the cause of issues involving infertility or miscarriage. One in 25 males have low sperm counts or morphology issues with one in 35 being considered sterile.


When it comes to fertility issues its never productive to play the blame game. Couples who work through their fertility issues in a loving and supportive environment can be drawn closer together along their fertility journey.


It can be very challenging for men to accept that their sperm may be an issue. The stereotypical dialogue that men have heard throughout their lives can often lead them to feeling shame or inadequacy if their sperm tests come back low. Having your partners back will lead him to be more open to addressing his health issues. The great thing about the male reproductive system is that men produce fresh batches of sperm on a three-month cycle. So, the ability to create changes in sperm can be profound.

Many lifestyle factors can also be looked with changes being made to enhance sperm quality...

  • Age
  • Smoking
  • Poor Diet
  • Excess alcohol use
  • Stress, Anxiety or Depression
  • Athletic training (Steroid use)
  • Being unhappy with a job or life situation
  • Being overweight or underweight
  • Wearing tight fitting underwear, bike shorts ect.
  • Bicycle riding
  • Hot saunas and spa’s
  • Mobile phones in the pockets of pants
  • Heated car seats
  • High soy intake (full of Phytoestrogens)
  • Sitting for long periods of time (work or in the car)
  • Excessive sex or masturbation (usually as a form of stress relief)

Where Do We Go From Here?

If you have been trying to conceive (TTC) and are not yet pregnant, visit your GP, gynaecologist of fertility specialist and ask for some blood work to be undertaken. To start with you may want to test your hormone levels. These can tell you a lot about your fertility potential. These include:


Day 2-3 of your cycle:

· Follicular stimulating hormone (FSH)

· Estrogen (E2)

· Luteinizing Hormone (LH)


Day 21 of your cycle or 7 days after ovulation

· Progesterone (P4)


You may also ask for a pelvic scan to determine the shape of your uterus, the thickness or your uterine lining and an overview of the ovaries to determine the number of follicles and if ovulation is occurring.

Most other tests will be undertaken if everything else has been ruled out. So, I wouldn’t be concerned with having everything tested all at once. These tests are a great start, if your specialist or complimentary practitioner believes further investigation is required, then that can be delved into if the need arises.


It is also important to request a form to have your partners sperm tested. The sperm equation of all parameters including volume, count, normal forms and progressive motility are all very important when assessing the overall health of the sperm. Once your sperm results are in, it may not make a lot of sense. By performing the sperm equation or plugging the results into the below link, you can assess the overall quality of the sperm and determine if extra assistance may be required.

Online Sperm Calculator: Click Here

Fertility Work-Up @ Samsara Health

 Ok, so many of you reading this will be at different stages along your fertility journey. You may be just starting to TTC, you may have been trying for a year with no pregnancy yet, you may be suffering re-occurring miscarriages or have attempted IVF but are still without that much desired babe in your arms.

Its never too early or too late to seek advise or assistance from a member of our fertility team. Britt one of our Chinese Medicine fertility therapists has just introduced couples’ sessions which endeavour to keep costs low but also more effective by inviting (sometimes reluctant) male partners to come along for sessions too.


If you would like further information on other areas of fertility including BBT charting, fertile mucous tracking and getting timing right to conceive, please feel free to have a peruse of our blogs.

Make Baby Making Fun Again (MBMFA)

References:

McArthur, S. (2007). Infertility. Retrieved on 25/02/2020 from: https://www.abc.net.au/health/library/stories/2007/05/30/1919840.htm

Office on Women’s Health (2019). US Department of Health & Human Services. Retrieved on 25/02/2020 from: https://www.womenshealth.gov/a-z-topics/infertility