It takes 100 days for both a human egg and sperm to fully mature. Let’s use this time wisely by working together to improve the quality of both. If you are ready to start family planning, my Naturopathic Preconception Program is a great place to start. The plan focuses on optimizing the quality of your eggs, removing environmental toxins and balancing hormones. I recommend beginning at least three months prior to trying to conceive. Check out my article on the Top Five Facts Medical Doctors often don’t their patients, but I recognize as key to making healthy babies.
If you are currently having difficulty becoming pregnant, there is strong evidence for using Naturopathic Medicine to improve pregnancy rates. During my internship, my training on the Fertility and Reproductive Health Focus Shift gave me the experience and clinical expertise to help patients grow their family. I worked closely with many patients helping make their family planning dreams comes true. I incorporate acupuncture, personalized nutrition and medicinal herbs to:
- Optimize both egg /sperm quality and quantity
- Increase uterine lining thickness
- Promote implantation of the embryo
- Prevent miscarriage and recurrent pregnancy loss
Coping with infertility is extremely difficult. Women who have been diagnosed with infertility have anxiety and depression scores equivalent to women diagnosed with cancer, chronic pain and HIV.1 Receiving the diagnosis of infertility is isolating and scary. This does not mean you need to suffer alone. It is important that both the physical and psychological effects of infertility are acknowledged and cared for. When going through fertility treatments (IVF/IUI), I work with patients to provide medical and emotional support during this stressful period.
According to Health Canada, men are responsible for 30% of all infertility cases, and contribute to 50% of all cases. Men’s health is often overlooked, but several factors can influence male fertility including:
- Environmental toxins- exposure to pesticides and chemicals
- Poor nutrition
- Alcohol intake
- Certain prescription medications
Emerging evidence has shown a link between parabens, a common ingredient in cosmetics and body products, and lower sperm counts and testosterone in men.2 Naturopathic treatment focuses on reducing exposure to harmful chemicals in your everyday environment, and lifestyle changes with supplements to improve sperm quality. The DNA in sperm is easily damaged by oxidative stress such as high body temperature and smoking. An antioxidant rich diet and certain supplements can reduce oxidative stress and DNA fragility. Men also benefit from acupuncture as it may improve both motility and concentration of sperm.3
Reproductive health is confusing, intricate, and exciting all at the same time. I recognize these challenges and work hard to ensure a safe space for mental, emotional and physical healing.
Here are some resources and support groups located in Toronto. I am a proud member of Fertility Matters Canada, a Not-For-Profit that believes in helping Canadians build families.
1. Domar AD, Zuttermeister PC, Friedman R. The psychological impact of infertility: a comparison with patients with other medical conditions. Journal of psychosomatic obstetrics and gynaecology. 1993 Jan 1;14:45-.
2. Tavares RS, Martins FC, Oliveira PJ, Ramalho-Santos J, Peixoto FP. Parabens in male infertility—Is there a mitochondrial connection?. Reproductive Toxicology. 2009 Jan 31;27(1):1-7
3. Siterman S, Eltes F, Schechter L, Maimon Y, Lederman H, Bartoov B. Success of acupuncture treatment in patients with initially low sperm output is associated with a decrease in scrotal skin temperature. Asian journal of andrology. 2009 Mar;11(2):200.