Infertility is often defined as not being able to get pregnant after trying for one year. Of the approximately
62 million women of reproductive age in 2002, about 1.2 million, or 2%, had an infertility-related medical appointment
within the previous year, and 10% had an infertility-related medical visit at some point in the past. Additionally,
7% of married couples in which the woman was of reproductive age (2.1 million couples) reported that they had not used
contraception for 12 months and the woman had not become pregnant (2002 National Survey of Family Growth).
Thus, for many people who want to start a family, the dream of having a child is not easily realized. Assisted
Reproductive Technology (ART) has been used in the United States since 1981 to help women become pregnant, most
commonly through the transfer of fertilized human eggs into a womanís uterus. However, deciding whether to undergo this
expensive and time-consuming treatment can be difficult.
At the Natureís Intentions Naturopathic Clinic, we offer various natural approaches for improving fertility,
hence helping you fulfill your dream of having a child. There are many avenues we can explore together, beginning with
a better understanding of your hormonal cycles and a close examination of your individual concerns.
Treatment methods include:
- Constitutional Homeopathy
- Acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine
- Gentle Detoxification
- Reiki Treatments
- Lifestyle counselling
Naturopathic medicine can help in cases of hormonal imbalances, irregular cycles, endometriosis, lack of
ovulation due polycystic ovaries and decrease occurrence of miscarriages. It can also improve the success rates of in
vitro fertilization (IVF) and intra uterine insemination (IUI).
In comparison to prices for IVF and IUI, the naturopathic route is much more affordable, and cheaper, and it
not only improves your chances of getting pregnant, but also improves your overall health and well being.
People are often misled to believe that they are infertile. Let us first examine why this is so in
the first place:
- Infertility is assumed if pregnancy has not occurred after one year of having unprotected sex. The standard
wisdom is that assumption that it is a fertility problem when in fact there may not be any problem what so ever.
- Irregular cycles are assumed to be potentially problematic. The medical model is so entrenched in the
concept of having a 28 day cycle with ovulation at Day 14, that anything outside of that is seen as problematic. If
a couple is just taught how to identify approaching ovulation to time intercourse appropriately, then it is irrelevant
whether it occurs on DAY 14, 19 OR DAY 25. If your cycle lengths vary dramatically you might want to see a naturopath
to rule out hormonal or other possible conditions.
- The most obvious solutions are often over looked. Doctors are trained to identify disease and illness,
often diagnosing and treating with the use of high- tech procedures. For example, the relationship between the
frequency of intercourse and pregnancy. A couple may have sex twice a week for a year and wonder why they have not
A doctor would generally proceed with a fertility workup (using invasive and painful testing) on the assumption that
the couple is infertile, without even considering whether the couple is having intercourse at the right time in the
womanís cycle. Its quite possible to be missing the fertile phase of each cycle even with having intercourse twice a
week, especially if the woman only has a day or so of fertile cervical fluid, or the manís sperm count is marginal.
THIS IS NOT A FERTILITY BUT EDUCATION PROBLEM.
Before any of the high tech tests or treatments are employed, the man should have a semen analysis and the
woman should ideally have a monthly saliva hormone check to understand when she is most fertile and to determine any
possible impediments to pregnancy achievement.
- The focus is often basal body temperature rather than cervical fluid. The most important fertility sign
for timing intercourse effectively is cervical mucus. Physicians often encourage timing intercourse for either a
drop or rise in temperature; this is not only misleading but can actually impede pregnancy achievement. By the time
the temperature shifts, the egg is typically already dead and gone. However its measurement is still very important
to determine if she is ovulating at all, or whether the second phase is long enough for the egg to implant in the
uterus or whether she has achieved pregnancy at that particular time.
- Timing of the fertility tests. Usually the postcoital test is performed on the 14TH day of the womanís
cycle, regardless of when she ovulates. The purpose of the test is to determine if the womanís cervical fluid is
conducive to sperm viability, and whether her partnerís own sperm will survive in it.
Unless the woman does ovulate close to that day, the test is usually invalid, and leads many couples to believe they
have a fertility problem when they do not. Invasive tests such as endometrial biopsies and hysterosalpingograms
should not be performed unless ovulatory and cervical problems have been ruled out, using simple charting methods
and non invasive saliva testing at the appropriate times of the month.
- Women are often needlessly prescribed the ovulatory drug Clomid. Women are often put on Clomid when a
couple is presumed to be infertile, whether she is ovulating or not. Recent studies suggest that this drug may
increase the risk of ovarian cancer or tumours, if taken for a year or more. This drug stimulates egg development
in the ovaries and has 2 paradoxical side effects: dry up the cervical fluid that is vital for sperm transport
through the cervix and abnormally shorten the second phase of the cycle.
Sometimes the only way to remedy this is through intrauterine insemination. This is not to suggest that Clomid
does not have a role in fertility, certainly women do get pregnant but at what cost? Women should ask their doctors
why they think a prescription would be beneficial in their particular case, especially if they know that they are
- Ovulation predictor kits can be misleading. Many women are led to believe that they have a fertility
problem if the kits do not show the expected color surge indicating ovulation is about to occur, when in fact
there may not be any fertility issues.
- Women are led to believe they are not getting pregnant when they are actually having miscarriages. There
is a huge difference in terms of the fertility of a woman who has never achieved pregnancy and one who gets pregnant
and then miscarries.
Miscarriages are often difficult to diagnose since they often happen so early in the womanís cycle, they may be
mistaken for her menstrual cycle. Ideally a woman should know when exactly the pregnancy has occurred through charting
and understanding her hormone profile before she bled. Many women may then avoid being tested invasively needlessly
to rule out an infertility problem that does not exist.