The Art of Health

Infertility & Reproduction

There's a lot more to making babies than meets the eye. Everyone knows how sexual union produces a new life, but a long time before things heat up in the bedroom, the right conditions have to be met in each partner - physically as well as emotionally.

Many couples have a difficult time conceiving. This places a very real strain on the relationship, and sometimes the couple needs outside help, be it medical or otherwise, in order to make sense of the situation, and hopefully produce the desired outcome.

The medical definition for infertility is "the inability to conceive after one year of trying." Infertility is not sterility since many couples do conceive after one year. The rate of infertility has been steadily increasing in the past 50 years, particularly in the western world and many people attribute this fact to chemical overload and pollution.

Infertility is a complex issue, and may stem from a great number of causes, including medical conditions. It is possible to find the cause of infertility in about 80 percent of couples who have this trouble. Obviously, the mood and atmosphere has to be right with each partner, and timing is important so the sperm has the greatest chance of fertilizing an egg.

Natural family planning can help here, by teaching couples the signs that take place in a woman's body at ovulation. The appropriate action may be taken at this time, in order to conceive or not conceive. This method is also called the rhythm method and, once understood, empowers a woman to make her own choices. Books are available on natural family planning in public libraries and there is a nationwide association which teaches and encourages couples in the method. There is also a simple pocket microscope available which in practice proves to be 98 percent accurate at displaying ovulation. Click here for more information on the OvaTel Ovulation Microscope.

Women account for 50 to 60 percent of the couples who are unable to conceive. The major causes for female infertility are menstrual disorders, tubal obstructions, endometriosis, and other reproductive disorders and health issues. A lot of dysfunction can be caused by overuse of the contraceptive pill.

Caffeine may be responsible for promoting infertility. Even one caffeinated soft drink a day has been associated with a temporary 50 percent reduction in conception. Alcohol intake is also implicated and both these stimulants as well as cigarettes should be avoided or eliminated altogether especially considering the known effects on the developing baby.

Low dietary intake of folic acid contributes to infertility, and once pregnant it is important that this nutrient is supplied in sufficient amounts because deficiency is associated with several birth defects.

The B-vitamins, especially B12, B2 and B6 have effect on a woman's fertility, and these may need to be supplemented. Vitamin C can also be helpful, as it aids the uptake of iron.

Protein intake may be low, in which case there will be fewer ova (eggs) available for fertilisation. Following the insulin zone diet is helpful.

Levels of zinc in the female (and male) have an effect on the ability to conceive; so too does adequate intake of essential fatty acids. By supplementing with these nutrients, a better chance of conceiving may result, and the medical disorders mentioned above may also become less severe. Use a high-potency women's multi-vitamin/mineral supplement as found on the shelves of health food stores or pharmacies.

Looking at female infertility from a herbal perspective, we find there are many herbs which can be used to restore vitality and tone to the female reproductive organs. Many of these herbs are long reputed to aid in conception.

Here are a few: Black Cohosh which strengthens and normalises uterine muscle. Blue Cohosh regulates and balances hormone levels. Chaste Tree normalises and balances hormone levels, restores after effects of the contraceptive pill. Squaw Vine relieves menstrual pain and prepares the system for childbirth.

These herbs are available (and best used) in specific combinations and the homeobotanical range has a remedy HbF, which has had success in overcoming infertility for many women.

The Bowen Therapeutic Technique of gentle tissue manipulation has also met with success at restoring the female and male reproductive systems. This has a helpful role to play also.

Men are responsible for 40 - 50% of the couples who are unable to conceive. The major causes of infertility in males are low sperm counts, decreased sperm motility and impotency.

The high amounts of oestrogens and oestrogen-like chemicals in our environment are now being blamed for the falling male sperm count. These synthetic hormones, and the chemicals which behave like them, are the result of pesticides released in the environment; as well as traces of the pill passing through women's bodies and entering the sewers, to eventually re-circulate in the water supply.

Dietary inadequacies will affect male infertility. Drugs, and stimulants such as caffeine, alcohol and cigarettes must be avoided and often it is advisable to go on a detoxification programme which reduces the strain on liver, kidneys and colon and cleanses these organs. A healthy body will produce healthy sperm!

The B-vitamins, iron, vitamin C mentioned above are also important for the male as well as the female. Zinc is especially important to the reproductive health of the male. The prostate gland contains higher levels of zinc than any other organ.

Of importance to both sides is an appropriate diet and here we find that the Insulin Zone system is the best diet for overall wellness as it enhances energy levels and supports a healthy immune system. Click here for further details on the Insulin Zone diet.