Natural Fertility

Fertility is a complex issue that involves both prospective parents. Conceiving a child is a very special, though often unconscious, event. For others, it may be problematic. With over a decade of clinical experience and research, Claudette is dedicated to offering the best, scientifically researched natural methods and medical testing for overcoming fertility problems as well as offering you a program of preconception health care. Together you can profoundly improve your chances of a healthy, successful conception, pregnancy, birth and baby.
Do both partners have to be involved?

The combined effort by both parents ensures better health of the new baby and fertility issues may come from either the female or the male. Therefore, one of the most important components is that both partners undertake preconception health care: 50% of the genetic material comes from the female and 50% comes from the male. If only one partner is involved, it is still worth doing but will not necessarily be as effective.

Preconception care ensures there is an adequate supply of factors which are essential to the health of the female and male reproductive organs, the general health of both parents, the health of the sperm and egg, foetal development, the ultimate health of the baby, and an absence of things that have been shown in studies to be harmful.

What’s Involved?
  • Review of your test results so far and referral for further medical investigations that are relevant to you
  • Tests may or may not include genitourinary infection checks, miscarriage antibodies, sperm DNA fragmentation and antibodies, chromosomal abnormalities, heavy metal screening, vitamin deficiencies, trace mineral deficiencies, hormone levels
  • A comprehensive Naturopathic treatment plan is devised including diet, lifestyle, herbal medicine, nutritional supplementation, stress management
  • Comprehensive printed material to cover all these aspects
  • Counselling to assist the understanding of issues & stresses of fertility problems
  • Referral to allied health practitioners specializing in fertility as relevant to your needs such as acupuncture, massage, counselling, gynaecologists, obstetricians, osteopathy, physiotherapy, etc
  • Instruction in optimal timing of fertility at mid-cycle through the observation of cervical mucus, basal body temperature & bio-rhythmic lunar cycle
How long does it take to produce and mature sperm and eggs?

Sperm can take up to 90 days to develop and mature, during which time they are vulnerable to damage. Likewise the egg takes approximately 100 days to mature before ovulation.

Poor nutrition, tobacco, drugs, alcohol, environmental pollution, lack of exercise, stress, oral contraceptives, genito-urinary infections, and other infections eg Candida, allergies, child bearing at an older age and stress are all important factors which may be harmful to sperm, eggs, health of the male and female reproductive organs, general health of both parents, and in turn the health of the baby.

Therefore, 3-4 months of healthy living before conception will improve the quality of sperm, egg and pregnancy. However, most couples are keen to conceive as quickly as possible so Claudette will support you at any stage in your fertility journey.

Is Natural Fertility Management compatible with or after IVF?

Natural Fertility treatment is ideal prior to undertaking IVF as it can resolve or reduce some of the underlying causes of the infertility and thereby increase the success rate of IVF. A recent study in the UK showed IVF success rates more than doubled when preceded by a period of preconception health care. IVF often may not be able to address the underlying causes e.g. auto-immunity (e.g. sperm antibodies, thyroid antibodies), hormone imbalances, poor egg or sperm quality and therefore, IVF has a higher than normal rate of miscarriage, birth defects and low birth weight babies.

However, naturopathic treatment is available together with IVF treatment. In fact, nutritional support and stress management are vital for those undergoing assisted conceptions, e.g. IVF. No supplement that has a hormonal effect is given to interfere with the IVF drug regime and no herbal medicines are used during IVF. Emphasis is placed upon boosting your nutritional requirements, improving egg, sperm and embryo quality and reducing stress. Claudette will work in conjunction with your specialist to help integrate your treatment and for you to achieve the best possible outcome.

Is there any research on Natural Fertility?

Foresight – the British Association for the Promotion of Preconception Care was established in the UK in 1978. Their clinics have over thirty years of practical experience with published clinical study results.

Foresight Study 2010

1,568 couples completed the full Foresight programme with 1,122 babies born at a 81.9% success rate. There were 52 pairs of twins and 3 sets of triplets, 4 miscarriages and 220 ongoing pregnancies of which 7 are twin pregnancies. 518 Couples did a part of the programme, but did not complete it. They had 358 babies which was only 63.7% success rate. Of these there were 39 miscarriage, 37 pairs of twins and there are 9 ongoing pregnancies. Overall, the average birth weight including the multiple births was 7lb 7½oz.

Prior to coming to Foresight, the couples had 2,383 failed IUI (success 162) (1 in 15.7 or 6.3%) 3,004 failed IVF (success 407) (1 in 8.4 or 11.4%) and 1,081 failed ICSI (success 211) (1 in 5 or 16.5%). This study also suggests a more than doubled conception success rate for IVF of 47.1% following preconception health care.

Foresight with Surrey University, UK, 1995 1995 Published in the Journal of Nutritional & Environmental Medicine a 2 year study was conducted with 367 couples which was completed in 1992. The women participating in the study ranged in age from 22-45 years, the men from 25-59 years. 59% of the couples had prior adverse reproductive history, including 38% miscarriage and 37% infertility (1-10 years). The remaining 41% of the couples had no previous adverse reproductive history but among these were older couples. Upon completion of the study, 89% of all the couples had successful births of healthy babies, including 81% of those who were previously infertile. In comparison to any similar sized population sample who do not practice preconception health care, approximately 70 miscarriages and 6 malformations usually occur.

* Natural Fertility in Australia uses the same protocols but extends these to include specialised herbal treatments for reproductive and hormonal imbalances.

University of New England

Susan Arentz, BHSc(Hons) ND, Dip Hom; Dip Bot Med and Dr Gemma O’Brien, BSc(Hons), PhD Syd conducted an independent study of 67 patients on the NFM Conception Program at the Jocelyn Centre. Pilot research is being carried out by Susan Arentz, BHSc (Hons), ND, Dip Hom. A high proportion of the couples in this study (those in test group) had serious fertility problems, all were diagnosed infertile, and 25% of them were over 40 yrs. Results showed that 52% of previously infertile couples conceived within the first 2 months following their participation in the program and 50% of these women were in the 40+ age group.

Is Natural Fertility also for those without problems?

Yes. Many couples come to optimize their health and their baby’s health prior to conception but have no difficulty conceiving. They recognise that boosting their health is going to have long term health benefits for their children and themselves. It is becoming more commonplace given the increasingly toxic world we live in and the subsequent rise in fertility problems.

What problems does Natural Fertility treat?
  • Low sperm count
  • Low sperm motility
  • Poor sperm morphology
  • Irregular cycles
  • Hostile mucus
  • Sperm antibodies
  • Endometriosis
  • Ovarian cyst
  • PCOS
  • Fibroids
  • PID/Infections
  • Candida/Thrush
  • Stress
  • Nutritional deficiencies
  • Thyroid imbalances
  • Poor egg quality
  • Hormonal imbalances
  • Miscarriage
  • Miscarriage antibodies
  • Prostatitis
What about older couples wanting to conceive?

Many of Claudette’s clients have been above 40 years of age and have used Natural Fertility to improve their chances of pregnancy and having children. Obviously your age cannot be reduced nor the number of eggs increased but factors that affect hormonal balance as well as the health and quality of eggs and sperm can be addressed to some degree. However, Claudette will discuss your individual circumstances with you to so that you have realistic expectations and so as not to waste precious time, treatment is usually started with IVF.

What if there is “no reason” for my infertility?

This may be due a number of reasons which Claudette investigates to uncover and treat: nutritional deficiencies that are not medically tested, other health issues in either partner which indirectly affects fertility, infections not typically tested for fertility, heavy metal or chemical toxicity, auto-immune antibodies. These are addressed with a combination of natural and medical testing and therapies.

Can I do Natural Fertility if I’m single?

Yes of course. Claudette has worked with patients using both sperm and egg donors

What about Gender selection?

This option is not offered to couples with fertility problems as the aim is for any conception at all, regardless of gender and some of the protocols reduce your chances of conceiving. See article specific to Gender Selection.

What if I already eat a healthy diet?

Unfortunately nowadays a healthy diet may be inadequate as the nutrient content of food is affected by farming methods, modern processing and refinement of foods, lifestyle issues, environmental hazards, such as the use of tobacco, alcohol, being on the oral contraceptive pill and other drugs that rob the body of vital nutrients. This was demonstrated by a CSIRO study that found 67% of Australian women received less than the Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) of zinc in their diets. Zinc is needed for more than 200 enzyme reactions in the body and is essential for reproduction. Stress increases the demand of a variety of nutrients. Older couples may require an increase in nutrients compared to a younger couple as the nutrient stores may be depleted and they have been exposed to lifestyle and environmental factors for a longer period of time. Nutritional needs are also increased by 15-20% in pregnancy.

Is preconception health care a new idea?

No. Many traditional societies practiced preconception health care, such as the Ancient Greeks and Romans whose conceiving couples abstained from alcohol prior to and during pregnancy due to its damaging effects on the foetus. Veterinarians, stockbreeders and farmers all feed special diets to their animals prior to conception attempts.

Why is there renewed interest in this practice now?

Currently, one couple in six is infertile, one woman in five will suffer a miscarriage, one baby in ten is born prematurely, one in thirty is born with a congenital defect. At least one child in every ten suffers from a learning or behavioural problem and one child in five suffers asthma. However, medical research has revealed that all these conditions are frequently preventable with preconception health care.

What is the Success Rate of Natural Fertility?

Measuring the NFM Conception program’s success rates is complex. Clients have a wide variety of reproductive conditions as well as general health concerns, making it difficult and inappropriate to compare them. Some couples come simply to optimize their health and their baby’s health prior to conception but have no difficulty conceiving. Many have very complex hormonal problems or are older couples with decreased fertility and time is inherent. Some couples turn to Natural Fertility as a last resort after numerous failed IVF attempts. Additionally, all treatments are individually tailored and prescribed so there is no one herbal medicine or treatment program.

Benefits of Preconception Health Care
  • Regulates ovulation
  • Balances hormone levels
  • Improves health of ovaries and egg (ova)
  • Reduces heavy bleeding and improves uterine health
  • Helps clear blocked fallopian tubes and improves tubal function
  • Diagnosis and treatment of hidden infections in the reproductive tract
  • Reduces polycystic ovaries and management of insulin resistance
  • Lessens cervical damage from erosion/infection/surgery
  • Enhances quality and quantity of fertile mucous and reduces hostile mucous
  • Reduces miscarriage antibodies and sperm antibodies
  • Improves sperm count, sperm motility, health and quality of sperm (morphology)
  • Balances hormone levels and boost testosterone
  • Reduces sperm antibodies
  • Management of varioceles and improvement in circulation and health of testes
  • Improves health of prostate and quality of seminal fluid
  • Diagnosis and treatment of hidden infections in the reproductive tract
Pregnancy and Birth
  • Normal, healthy, full term pregnancy with reduced complications such as morning sickness, varicose veins, haemorrhoids, constipation, heart burn, stretch marks, poor memory, mood swings, hair loss, skin pigmentation, bleeding gums, fatigue, susceptibility to infection eg thrush
  • Reduced incidence of more severe complications such as hyperemesis, pre-eclampsia, gestational diabetes, miscarriage, toxaemia, preterm birth
  • Short and straight forward labour with reduced risk of post-partum haemorrhage, postnatal depression
  • Successful breast feeding- quantity and nutrient quality of breast milk, mastitis, cracked nipples
  • Enhanced physical and mental health
  • Reduced incidence of congenital defects, even of older parents, learning and behavioural disorders or delays later in childhood
  • Reduced incidence of allergies eg. asthma, eczema, food allergies, poor immune system
  • Reduced excessive crying, colic, nappy rash, thrush, teething problems