Guidelines to be observed when you want baby (3) by Prof Oladapo Ashiru OFR
There is a common misconception that egg and sperm quality cannot be improved. In fact it is possible to improve the quality of your egg and sperm; however, it takes 120 days.
This is because it takes approximately 120 days for eggs to mature and sperm to develop. During the generation and maturation of gamete cells – sperm and ovum – that form an embryo, everything that you and your partner ingest, inhale or are exposed to will influence the health of your eggs and sperm for the better or worse, and the ultimate quality of the genetic building blocks you pass onto your child.
This is why it is crucial to follow a good preconception plan for a minimum of four 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. Woman who suffer from recurrent miscarriages often have partners with low sperm counts 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 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 per cent. And if you have two to three cups per day, that risk rises to 100 per cent and continues to increase with an additional cup up to 176 per cent. And did you know that women who drank coffee before and during pregnancy have twice the risk of miscarriage?
Alcohol is harmful to women’s eggs and men’s sperm and as little as one glass can reduce fertility by 50 per cent! This can further lead to damage of the developing embryo and may result in miscarriage. And although it has been known for a long time that drinking while pregnant 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 chances 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 five to 15 months, 50 per cent to 800 per cent, 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 (ART) treatments don’t address root causes of infertility. These root causes include nutritional deficiencies, toxin exposure, 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 Cost 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 the average) 25 per cent per single attempt. Studies show that by following a natural preconception programme prior to attempting IVF the success rate is increased to 47.1 per cent per single attempt. I always advise couples to undertake a preconception programme 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 programme.