Are you finding it difficult to start or grow your family? Low fertility and infertility are relatively common, with around 15% of couples experiencing fertility issues.
However, this doesn’t necessarily mean you can’t fall pregnant naturally or with assisted reproductive technology.
By understanding why you’re experiencing low fertility, you can take steps to boost your chances of a natural pregnancy or support interventions such as IVF treatment.
Infertility in females
The process of falling pregnant involves several complex processes. Your hypothalamus, pituitary gland, thyroid gland and ovaries work together to trigger ovulation. If any of these steps or glands aren’t working correctly, it can lead to fertility issues.
Common causes of low fertility in women include:
- Age – women aged 40+ have a lower chance of a viable pregnancy. There is also a higher risk of miscarriage and genetic conditions occurring in pregnancies of this age group.
- Anovulation – hormonal imbalances, chronic stress, low body weight and dieting can all lead to anovulation, or lack of ovulation. It’s important to know that periods are not a guarantee that ovulation has taken place.
- PCOS – Polycystic ovarian syndrome involves follicles that don’t ripen – the process needed to release an egg. This can impair ovulation and cause cysts on the ovaries.
- Endometriosis – this condition can damage the ovaries and fallopian tubes, as well as affecting the passage of the egg and sperm
- Uterine conditions – fibroids and polyps in the uterus can prevent the implantation of a fertilised egg.
- Fallopian tube damage – as fertilisation takes place as the egg travels down the tube, scarring or blockages in one or both tubes can prevent fertilisation.
- Autoimmune conditions – infertility and pregnancy loss are more common in women with autoimmune conditions such as lupus. Some researchers even suggest that autoimmunity may be behind idiopathic infertility.
Infertility in males
Until recently, male fertility has been overlooked by mainstream medicine. But around 30% of fertility issues originate with the male partner, and another 30% involves both partners. So if you’re struggling to fall pregnant, it’s critical to assess the man’s fertility.
Common causes of low fertility in men include:
- Sperm issues – the number, the shape and the motility of sperm all influence fertility. There are many influences on sperm quality and quantity, including smoking, alcohol, nutrition, stress, medication use and infections.
- Functional conditions – these can include impotence, retrograde or premature ejaculation, or injury/infection of the testicles.
- Hormonal conditions – like women, a man’s ability to reproduce relies on a combination of glands and the hormone they produce. If there is any issue such as a thyroid condition, low testosterone or adrenal dysfunction, it can impair fertility.
- Obstructions – there are a series of tubes that sperm pass through for 2-10 days after production. The larger tube, the vas deferens, empties the sperm into the ejaculatory duct. If there are blockages or an absence of any of these tubes, it can lead to infertility. In fact, around 1 in 3 men with infertility have an obstruction.
- Autoimmune conditions – conditions such as Coeliac disease can also contribute to male infertility. It’s important to identify and manage autoimmunity if you want to improve your fertility.
Acupuncture and fertility issues
According to Traditional Chinese Medicine, infertility occurs when there is a disruption in Qi quality and Blood circulation. This can lead to TCM patterns of deficiency, stagnation or heat.
Deficiency blocks the sexual and reproductive function for both men and women. Stagnation disables the flow of energy and blood, restricting circulation to the reproductive tissues. Heat is connected to inflammation which may impact fertility.
The goal of acupuncture and TCM is to correct these balances within the body and encourage natural conception.
Are you looking to support your fertility concerns using natural approaches? The team at Burnett House are here to help you.
Jamie offers acupuncture to help with symptoms such as pain, fatigue and stress that may be contributing to your hormone balance and fertility concerns. Trish can offer herbs, supplements, diet and lifestyle advice to support a good balance of hormones.
To book an appointment with Jamie or Trish at our Bundaberg clinic, call us on (07) 41522372