This week is National Infertility Awareness.
The emotional toll that infertility can bear on couples, men and women is huge.
Did you know that Infertility affects 1 in 8 couples!
Which means that someone in your family, groups of friends or work colleagues are likely dealing with the heart-breaking and consuming pain of infertility. Feelings of anger, jealously, resentment, guilt and loneliness are all familiar for couples fighting infertility.
Reasons such as Low Ovarian reserve, lack of regular ovulation, damaged tubes, endometriosis and poor quality semen can result in infertility.
Infertility treatment can be extremely exhausting but also very costly. The cost of IVF in the UK is usually around £5,000 per cycle of treatment. The price of a course will vary from one clinic to another and will also vary depending on what treatment you require.
Beside seeing a specialist there are a few natural ways to increase your fertility. In fact, food choices and lifestyle changes can really help boost fertility.
Invest in a Fertility Diet
Choose wholesome foods, such as leafy greens, fresh fruits, lean proteins. and healthy fats like avocado and olive oil. Healthy eating enhances reproductive health and may address ovulatory infertility, which accounts for one-quarter of all fertility complications.
Eating the right kinds of foods encourages consistent egg production. Instead of red meat, swap in tofu, beans, and other legumes in at least one meal a day. Opt for full-fat dairy products such as whole milk and regular yogurt instead of skim varieties.
Eggs, nuts, and fatty fish such as salmon, mackerel, and cod provide omega-3 fatty acids, a compound your body doesn’t produce on its own. Omega-3s encourage egg production and improve blood flow to your reproductive organs.
Stop Alcohol and Smoking
Both Alcohol and tobacco negatively impact your reproductive health. Its not just Binge drinking that increases the likelihood of irregular ovulation but even light drinking several times a week hurts your chances of getting pregnant.
The chemicals contained in cigarettes can literally reduce the number of eggs you have. Unlike sperm, which are continually produced, the female body is born with a set number of eggs. Once they’re gone, they cannot be replaced. Additionally, tobacco smoke can cause irregularities or the failure to release an egg mid-cycle.
Drinking water and avoiding sodas and sugary drinks may further boost your chances of conceiving. Aside from improving blood flow, proper hydration ensures your cervix is easily penetrated by sperm as it improves viscosity to your cervical mucus.
While dehydration is detrimental to egg health, making it less likely one will become fertilized or develop into an embryo.
Invest in your Herbs
The use of fertility herbs to help you get pregnant has been around for centuries, long before IVF and fertility treatments were available. Nowadays, they are sometimes overlooked in favour of “quick fixes” from western medicine but they can play a huge role in improving your health and even helping to reverse infertility.
Managing stress, increasing bedroom activity can help fight infertility and these herbs can help!
Tongkat ali, or longjack (i.e Eurycoma Longifolia) is a natural powerful herb that been used for centuries in Malaysia. It was used by indigenous people for centuries and consumed daily in many forms for its rich history and proven health benefits including infertility.
Tongkat Ali may improve sperm motility and concentration.
One study in 75 male partners of couples with infertility found that taking 200 mg of tongkat ali extract per day significantly improved sperm concentration and motility after 3 months. The treatment helped over 14% of couples become pregnant.
A similar 12-week study in 108 men ages 30–55 found that taking 300 mg of tongkat ali extract daily increased sperm volume and motility by an average of 18% and 44%.
Several research studies have demonstrated the positive effects of saffron consumption in treating erectile dysfunction and increasing male libido.
In one recent study, 20 men suffering from erectile dysfunction were treated with 200 mg saffron daily. (7) Significant improvement was noticed in their sexual prowess over a period of 10 days.
The roots of Ashwagandha, an Indian herb historically used for vitality and longevity in the East, contains several withanolides with various pharmacological activities which can help treat male infertility.
Most inability to conceive attributable to men is caused by low sperm count and poor sperm health. In those cases with poor sperm health, psychological stress and physical stressors (e.g., infections, pollutants, smoking) trigger production of free radicals that damage sperm
A clinical study involving 60 men with stress-induced infertility (from cigarette smoking and psychological stress) explained that Ashwagandha treatment resulted in considerable increases in testosterone, decreases in cortisol levels and free radical activity, and improvements in sperm health. These effects resulted in a pregnancy success rate of 10-15%—a significant improvement in fertility.
For women Mental and psychological health are more closely linked to reproductive health than you might think. The added stress of trying to conceive can cause hormonal shifts that tell your body it’s not the right time to have a baby. Cortisol, a stress hormone, proceeds to disrupt communication between your brain and ovaries, which causes irregular cycles. Ashwagandha and saffron are both known to improve cortisol levels in your brain.
Aim for a healthy weight
Weight is one of the most influential factors when it comes to fertility for men and women. Being either underweight or overweight is linked with increased infertility.
This is because the amount of fat stored in your body influences menstrual function. Having obesity especially is associated with lack of ovulation and menstrual irregularity but also with impaired egg development.
Healthy nutrition is essential for a healthy body and reproductive system and to help you become pregnant. Eating a nutritious diet, investing in a healthy lifestyle can help boost fertility and prepare your body for pregnancy.
It is advisable to consult a GP before taking supplements.
“Courage doesn’t always roar.
Sometimes courage is the little voice at the end of the day that says
I’ll try again tomorrow.”
Mary Anne Radmacher