It’s not uncommon for individuals and couples to feel overwhelmed and confused about the best path forward when facing fertility issues. Especially if, after trying for a while, having some tests done via your doctor or healthcare provider, you’re now being advised that in vitro fertilisation (IVF) or another form of assisted reproduction is your best option.
As functional medicine practitioners and certified specialists in the field of fertility nutrition, we wholeheartedly believe that IVF is not always the only option for many couples facing struggles conceiving or following a miscarriage. We believe there are many areas of clinical investigation that could delve deeper and lead to the discovery of potential and very much treatable underlying blocking factors. As specialists, we take a whole-body approach and use science-backed testing, dietary and lifestyle interventions, together with personalised supplementary protocols and treatment of any underlying conditions or infections to improve outcomes.
In this blog, we’ll explore the various options available to you and explain how nutrition can play a crucial role in enhancing your chances of achieving a successful pregnancy.
Fertility Challenges: A Complex Journey
The quest to conceive can be a complex and multifaceted journey. Falling pregnant – and staying pregnant – is not as easy as we may have been led to believe. A whole host of variables are at play inside the body, and optimum reproductive health is required to lead to pregnancy for both men as well as women. If you find yourself on this spectrum, there is hope for you through nutritional therapy.
Understanding the Impact of Nutrition on Fertility
When it comes to baby-making, the quality of the egg and sperm is fundamental. It takes 3 to 4 months for an egg to mature, and sperm are produced in cycles of 2 to 3 months. Therefore, your diet and lifestyle in the months preceding conception can significantly influence your chances of conception and having a healthy pregnancy. Nutrition plays a critical role in the delicate balance of hormones, genetics, the immune system, and various other factors necessary for successful conception and pregnancy. If you are also experiencing hormonal issues as a result of conditions such as PCOS or endometriosis then careful consideration of your nutrient intake along with lifestyle factors can be hugely beneficial.
Addressing the Limitations of Conventional Medical Approaches
You might have already sought help from your doctor or fertility clinic, only to be told that nutrition won’t make a difference or that everything appears fine based on standard tests. However, conventional medical approaches can have limitations, and we find the diagnosis of ‘unexplained’ pretty poor! There is nothing unexplained about infertility. There is a root cause yet to be discovered, and in our experience, IVF is suggested way too early and before a thorough enough investigation has taken place. What’s also true is that some very simple testing can uncover something that is quite easily remedied and would prevent the need for going down the path of IVF.
Some other things to be aware of:
- Time and Resources: General practitioners are often too busy and underfunded to provide comprehensive fertility assessments.
- Long Waiting Lists: Fertility clinics may have long waiting lists and strict criteria for investigation, leaving many struggling couples without answers.
- Profit-Driven Approaches: Private fertility clinics might prioritise IVF over holistic evaluations, as it can financially benefit them.
- Lack of knowledge: medics are not educated on nutrition and lifestyle approaches to fertility, so they simply do not have the knowledge or awareness of this area.
The Power of Nutrition in Fertility
Nutritional therapy goes beyond merely “eating your greens.” It takes a whole-body and whole-life approach to address individual biology and circumstances. Instead of masking symptoms, nutritional therapy aims to identify and address the root causes of fertility issues as well as optimising your nutritional status not only to get pregnant and stay pregnant but also to ensure mum and baby stay as well as possible throughout pregnancy and beyond.
The Sooner, the Better
It’s never too early to seek support from a functional medicine practitioner or fertility nutritionist. Some individuals delay seeking help due to reservations such as not feeling the need for assistance yet, financial concerns, or focusing solely on saving for IVF. However, early intervention can be incredibly helpful and improve your chances of success in the long run. As an example, the growing baby accesses the folate stores which have been laid down during the 12 weeks prior to conception – not the folate which is in your diet once you are already pregnant.
Nutritional therapy is not a magic bullet, but it can significantly enhance your experience during your fertility journey and empower you to make informed decisions about your health and conception options.
Embrace the Journey with Nutrition
Regardless of where you are on your fertility journey, nutritional therapy can provide guidance, support, and personalised strategies to maximize your chances of fulfilling your dream of parenthood. Whether you’re just beginning your journey or have been struggling for some time, we strongly encourage you to explore the possibilities nutrition can offer you.
If you’re currently facing fertility challenges, we’d love to hear from you. Each member of our team is certified and experienced, and the beauty of working with a member of the Fertility Nutrition Centre is that you will benefit from our collective experience and insight as we discuss cases together as a team to ensure we are providing all clients with the most suitable care and intervention.
Remember, with the right support and approach, you can embark on this path with hope and confidence.