Understanding Fertility

Am I alone in seeking fertility treatment?

For a variety of reasons, many couples experience problems conceiving.  In fact, somewhere in the range of ten percent of the population need help.  Modern technology and a trend toward starting families later in life have led many more couples to seek medical assistance in recent years.

Do I need help conceiving?

If you are a woman under the age of thirty five, current recommendations suggest you look for help conceiving after 12 months without success. If you are a woman over thirty five years old, that time-frame shrinks to 6 months and within 3 months if you are over 40.

However, I am happy to see anyone at any time in their fertility journey to clear up any questions or concerns that you may have, no matter how long you have been trying or even before starting, if you are interested in your fertility potential or have any inquiries.

Lifestyle

What lifestyle factors might be preventing pregnancy? There are many lifestyle issues which may be impairing your reproductive function. These are well within your control. Recommendations include:

  • Age is the most important factor.
  • Stop Smoking.
  • Limit coffee to 1-2 cups per day.
  • Alcohol: Drink 2 or less drinks per week (and when pregnant, abstain completely).
  • Maintain normal weight (Body-Mass-Index [BMI] of 19-25).  If you are overweight, even a small loss of weight (5-10%) can improve probability of becoming pregnant.  Obesity during pregnancy (BMI>30) can lead to serious consequences for mother and child.
  • Exercise regularly and moderately.
  • Maintain good nutritional habits, especially a diet rich in fresh fruits and vegetables (organically grown foods).
  • Seek emotional and /or psychological support, consider meditation, hypnosis, or Your FertilityTM (our mind-body program) to reduce stress.
  • Take a prenatal vitamin containing at least 0.4mg folic acid.
  • Avoid excessive heat (avoid waterbeds, saunas, hot tubs, etc.)
  • Stop smoking.
  • Limit coffee to 1-2 cups per day.
  • Alcohol: Drink no more than 4 drinks per week. Alcohol is a male reproductive tract toxin, which is associated with a decrease in the percentage of normal sperm.
  • Avoid marijuana, cocaine or other recreational drugs. Marijuana stays in the testes for over 2 weeks, so even using it once every two weeks will have a negative effect.
  • Maintain normal body weight, Obesity in men has been linked to deterioration of semen quality.
  • Exercise regularly and moderately.
  • Maintain good nutritional habits, especially a diet rich in fresh fruits and vegetables (organically grown foods).
  • Seek emotional and /or psychological support, consider mind-body techniques to reduce stress.
  • Vitamins and Nutritional Supplements for men
  • It is believed that taking certain vitamins (C, E, B12, etc.) may help improve your sperm quality. The mechanism of action is believed to be as follows: the breakdown of oxygen as it passes through the cells in our body results in substances known as free radicals. Infertile men have a higher concentration of free radicals in their semen as compared to fertile men. Free radicals attack and destroy the membrane that surrounds sperm. Anti-oxidants fight against these bad effects. Therefore, vitamins are natural anti-oxidants!
  • Vitamin C (500 mg/day): It helps to protect sperm against free radical damage. It also guards against oxidative damage. Many studies show that supplemental Vitamin C also improves the quality of sperm in smokers and reduces sperm agglutination (a condition when sperm stick together which reduces fertility).
  • Vitamin E (400 IU/day): Vitamin E has an important function as an antioxidant. Therefore, Vitamin E supplements can decrease and mop up enough free radicals to prevent the damage to sperm cells.
  • Selenium (200 mcg/day): A double-blind study has shown that selenium supplements can significantly increase sperm motility.
  • Multi-vitamin containing zinc (20 mg): Zinc plays an important role for the male reproductive system. A lack of zinc can affect normal sperm production. For men with low testosterone, zinc supplements may raise testosterone levels and increase sperm production.
  • Folic Acid (1 mg): Important in the development of normal sperm and also acts as an antioxidant.