Allow yourself 120 days before trying to conceive. There is a common misconception that egg and sperm quality cannot be improved. It is possible to improve the quality of your egg and sperm, but this will take about 120 days to accomplish. This is because it takes approximately 120 days for eggs to mature and sperm to develop.
During the period of generation and maturation of gamete cells, everything that you and your partner ingest, inhale or are exposed to will influence the health of your eggs and sperm, as well as the ultimate quality of the genetic building blocks you pass onto your child, for better or worse.
This is why it is crucial to follow a good preconception plan for a minimum of 4 months before conception. A baby is a 50-50 product of his or her parents. Therefore, optimising the quality of eggs and sperm is of paramount importance. Sperm disorders contribute to 40 per cent of infertility cases. Women who suffer from recurrent miscarriages often have partners with low sperm count and visually abnormal sperm. Therefore, both partners should detox, follow a fertility diet, take preconception supplements and avoid reproductive toxins discussed in this article for minimum of 4 months before conception.
Avoid coffee, smoking and alcohol
You may not want to hear this, but drinking coffee decreases fertility. A large study from Connecticut found as little as 1 cup of coffee per day increases the risk of not conceiving by 55 percent. And if you have 2-3 cups per day that risk rises to 100 percent and continues to increase with an additional cup up to 176 percent. And did you know that women who drank coffee before and during pregnancy had twice the risk of miscarriage?
Alcohol is harmful to women’s eggs and men’s sperm. As little as one glass can reduce fertility by 50 percent! This can further lead to damage of the developing embryo, which may result in miscarriage. Although it has been known for a long time that drinking during pregnancy is a no-no, drinking before pregnancy has been largely ignored. This doesn’t stop with coffee and alcohol. Smoking and recreational drugs can also reduce your odds of conception.
A study tested the effects of cigarette smoking on semen quality in men and found that sperm motility (ability to propel forward) decreased in light smokers while heavy smoking produced abnormal sperm shape. Scientists have discovered that quitting smoking may increase sperm count in men who quit smoking for 5-15 months 50 percent to 800 percent, respectively.
Take a good quality preconception and pregnancy supplement Regardless of whether you are eating organic produce and a healthy diet, you are unlikely to be getting all the nutrients your body needs for optimal fertility from your diet. This is why supplementation is important.
Getting pregnant and growing a new human being with your own reserves, requires a surplus of nutrients and energy. In your body’s accounting terms, pregnancy is a luxury, a splurge of energy and nutrients. Some of the key nutrients for fertility are:
Zinc, Selenium, Magnesium, Calcium, B12, B6, Folic acid, Vitamin C, Omega-3 fats
IVF Does Not Address the Root Cause of Infertility
Conventional IVF and other assisted reproductive technology treatments don’t address root causes of infertility. These root causes include nutritional deficiencies, exposure to toxins, stress, food intolerances, allergies and immune deficiencies. These subtle but critical factors interact synergistically to impact the quality of your eggs and sperm, affecting your ability to conceive and the health of your embryo.
Counting the financial costs of IVF
Recent media reports of grandparents funding their children’s IVF treatments in the hope of a grandchild illustrate the financial strain these treatments can pose to couples. While celebrities and wealthy couples can afford it, many struggle with treatments costing thousands of dollars ($5,000 to $150,000 per live birth is typical).
IVF as the final option after preconception care
IVF should be the last option after all natural treatment options have been exhausted. It should never be the first option. The rate of success of IVF is (on average) 25 percent per single attempt. Studies show that by following a natural preconception program prior to attempting IVF the success rate is increased to 47.1 percent per single attempt. I always advise couples to undertake a preconception program as a first step and reserve IVF as a final option. Most infertility can be treated without IVF. However, if IVF is needed the success rate of each attempt is nearly doubled by combining it with a natural preconception program.
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