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Fertility – The Preconception Period

Just as we plan for a wedding, so to should we plan for one of the most important decisions of our life – having a baby. Whilst good health is important throughout one’s pregnancy it is essential that we consider the time before pregnancy. A woman is born with all of her eggs but it is the maturation process that occurs 3-4 months before she ovulates that significantly influences the health of the foetus and eventual child. There are countless studies indicating that nutritional deficiencies, illness, toxin exposure and other factors can all influence the health of the egg up to a minimum of 100 days prior to ovulation.

It is important to remember that fertility is something for the couple to work on together. The male’s role is just as important. Sperm take on average 72-76 days to develop, mature, be stored and finally ejaculated. As such, a man’s health 2-3 months prior to conception can significantly influence pregnancy outcomes. Similarly to females, a male should prepare during this preconception period to ensure the best information is passed on through their sperm.

Supporting your health

An easy way to think about it is to treat your body as though were already pregnant at least 3-4 months before you actually fall pregnant. Important key areas include:

  • Be conscious of what you put into your mouth and what is in your environment. Any toxin exposure can and will influence your gametes (eggs and sperm). Sperm are even more vulnerable than eggs to toxic exposure and nutritional deficiency.
  • Avoid recreational, environmental and medication derived toxins
  • Countless studies link alcohol, caffeine and smoking with birth defects, miscarriage and reduced fertility
  • Clean up your diet and reach your healthy weight range
  • Remove bad habits and focus on wellbeing and optimal health
  • Adequate hydration
  • Regular exercise
  • Reduce stress levels

A healthy body is a fertile body

Improve your nutritional status and receive an individualised dietary plan and supplement regime. Establishing good nutrition before you conceive helps you and your baby achieve greater health throughout the pregnancy and beyond.

Male specific

Protect the testicles (sperm production sites) from excessive heat

  • Wear loose cotton boxer shorts
  • Avoid spas and saunas
  • Avoid wetsuits (surfing)
  • Avoid tight bike shorts and bike riding

Remember, the gift of preconception care is that it allows you to start being the parent you want to be even before the little one arrives.

Male Infertility

Male infertility is diagnosed after testing has been performed on both partners and reproductive problems have been identified in the male partner. In most cases, there are no obvious signs of an infertility problem.

Sperm exists in a fluid called semen, which is an excretory substance from the body. As such, anything that the body is exposed to will potentially be released through this eliminatory fluid. Unlike eggs (which are safely protected within the mother’s body), sperm are generated during preconception and are more exposed to physiological or environmental hazards. This is exaggerated as they are held outside the body.

Some known causes of male infertility include:

  • Sperm production and quality concerns (count, morphology, motility, pH)
  • Blockage (obstruction) of sperm transport
  • Sperm antibodies
  • Sperm DNA fragmentation
  • Sexual problems
  • Hormonal abnormalities
  • Chromosomal abnormalities
  • Retrograde ejaculation

These factors are highly influenced by the general health of the male. As such, other important considerations include:

  • Urinary tract disorders
  • Immune and auto-immune disorders
  • Infections
  • Environmental and lifestyle factors
  • Nutritional deficiencies
  • Other factors

There are a number of causative factors and most irregularities are well addressed with complementary medicine. We consider our treatment as an essential component to reaching your fertility goals and work closely with Urologists, Andrologists and other medical specialists.

Our male infertility support considers each male respectfully and acknowledges all influencing considerations when determining the best treatment protocol. Thorough investigation and assessment are paramount to helping you conceive your child. We prefer to identify and specifically treat your presentation to help you reach your fertility aspirations.

© Leah Hechtman 2017

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