About 12% of couples have difficulty conceiving or giving birth to a healthy child. That’s one out of every eight couples who are unable to initiate a pregnancy after a year of trying to conceive.
- It’s not only a woman’s problem. About 7% of men under 45 have seen a fertility doctor. Of those, 14% had sperm/semen problems.
- A hormone imbalance called PCOS is the most common cause of infertility among women.
- Roughly a third of couples in which the woman is older than 35 years of age have fertility problems. Unexplained infertility is a common diagnosis for couples who have been trying to conceive for at least one year, but for whom all test results are normal.
- Partners aged 29-33 have only a 20-25% chance of getting pregnant in any month, assuming both partners have healthy reproductive systems.
While it may be tempting to review only reproductive health when tackling infertility, it’s important to aim for improved health across the entire mind and body. As in all health issues, becoming pregnant isn’t a simple equation that can be solved by treating symptoms. It’s key to review each couple’s overall health to eliminate any underlying fertility obstacles. For instance, by reducing day-to-day stress, many couples successfully conceive.
Stress: A Fertility Killer
While stress is rarely the sole cause of infertility, it can exacerbate existing imbalances. Stress can:
- Shorten the luteal phase, the time between ovulation and menstruation, and thereby the time during which a woman is fertile
- Worsen PCOS symptoms
- Decrease the number of eggs in reserve
- Aggravate autoimmune issues
Overall, stress reduces the likelihood of conceiving in any given cycle.
Oftentimes, several unrelated health issues combine to limit fertility. As an example, gluten sensitivity can limit the absorption of nutrients required for reproduction. By reviewing and improving their overall health, couples can boost their fertility. Our collaborative care providers can help.
Collaborative Care for Infertility
Holistic care is Heart Spring Health’s way of approaching all dis-ease, including infertility. Our practitioners utilize multiple healing modalities. While treating the whole person—mind, body, and spirit—our providers may use craniosacral therapy, dietary recommendations, lifestyle adjustments, acupuncture, homeopathy, and other natural remedies to help couples conceive.
Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) techniques, including acupuncture, can help by clearing reproductive systems, boosting blood flow to the ovaries, and improving overall health. Hunyuan herbalism is a powerful TCM tool for treating infertility. Heart Spring Health’s licensed acupuncturist Stephanie Swanson is the only certified practitioner of Hunyuan Herbalism in Oregon. She identifies and treats infertility’s root causes.
Massage can help relieve stress, one of the top fertility barriers. One of our Portland naturopaths, Dr. Jessica Stefanski, practices Maya Abdominal Therapy, a specialized massage technique that realigns pelvic and abdominal organs to increase fertility.
Dietary Adjustments can eliminate substances that limit fertility by altering hormone and sperm production. For example, pesticide exposure lowers sperm count and semen quality. By avoiding pesticide-laden foods, couples can increase their chances of conceiving. Heart Spring Health’s nutrition experts can outline dietary changes to boost fertility.
Fertility is not a one-size-fits-all endeavor. No one healing expert can “solve” the problem of infertility, which often stems from a combination of several different issues. That’s why it’s so important to have a team of healthcare professionals on your side. At Heart Spring Health, we collaborate within our Portland natural medicine clinic and with other healthcare providers to remove fertility obstacles.
[Photo by Josephine Carino via Freeimages.com]