I want to share with readers some of the presentation we made at the recently concluded 22nd world fertility congress of the International Federation of Fertility Societies in New Delhi, India.
I will also be sharing some of the submissions from the 6th Conference of the Association of Fertility and Reproductive Health in Nigeria, held in Port Harcourt last week.
I do this so you can understand the role of preventive medicine when it comes to fertility challenges.
The first presentation was on sexually transmitted diseases. Through elaborate studies by Prof. Olu Osoba from the 1970s and 1980s; and our recent management of infertility cases from the 1990s till date, it has become clear that STD is one of the major causes of infertility.
You should also know that the main culprits are gonorrhea and chlamydia infections in both males and females.
It is now well established that, next to infection, the environment plays a major role as one of the causes of infertility. This was eloquently presented at a plenary session, titled “Environmental Toxicant and Reproductive Health – A Global Problem Needing a Global Solution” by Linda Gludice, a professor of Obstetrics at the University of California, San Francisco.
She gave the detailed mechanisms on how these reproductive toxicants, which include pesticides, petrochemicals, plastics products and other groups, may affect fertility. More worrisome is how the consequences of exposure to these toxicants can manifest in subsequent generations.
She provided evidence indicating that a grandmother’s lifestyle or exposures can have serious consequences on the reproductive ability of her granddaughters yet unborn.
Her presentation was followed by that of Dr. Atinuke Adeyi from Martlife Detox Clinic in Lagos, Nigeria. She also gave a list of similar reproductive toxicants and how they can be eliminated in the body. The plenary presentation was the result of a joint study between Martlife Detox Clinic and Medical art Centre.
They looked at 111 patients attending Medical Art Centre for infertility treatment from 2014 to 2016. These are those who had opted to undergo a supervised modern Mayr type of detoxification at the Mart-Life Detox Clinic before further assisted reproductive technology treatment. The supervised Mayr type of detoxification consists of five major components:
Sixty-seven patients had a history of repeated IVF failures (60.4%), 89 had BMI ≥27mg/Kg (80 per cent) and nine were poor responders (8.1%).
Twelve patients had never attempted IVF before the programme (11%). Improvement in their fertility outcomes and other laboratory parameters were assessed in subsequent cycles after detoxification.
The results show that more than 80 per cent of patients achieved significant weight reduction and improvement in BMI. Uniform increase in oocyte yield was noted across board but this was particularly significant in previous poor responders (three-fold increase).
Most participants found this aspect of the result very interesting as it may indicate that whatever had been removed by the Mayr-type detoxification programme might have been compromising egg production in the body.
Thirty eight per cent of the patients tested positive for beta HCG following detoxification while 51.6 per cent of the subset of patients who had a history of repeated IVF failure tested positive for beta HCG after detox. Approximately 50 per cent either have ongoing pregnancies or have carried babies to term.
The increase in oocyte yield was found to have a direct relationship with fertilisation and pregnancy rate following the detoxification programme. This was also observed in previous poor responders. The data suggest that supervised modern Mayr type of detoxification may positively impact fertility indices in infertile couples who undergo ART.
The participants at both conferences agreed with authors that there is the need for further studies on larger populations to further establish pattern of response. This was the first time that a study on Mayr will be presented at an international meeting and it was highly commended.
The implication of the study is that the work of Prof. Gludice shed greater weight on our earlier warning that our environment is a clear and present danger to our reproductive ability.
The WHO department of the Reproductive Health and Research confirms this danger and expresses the need for public education. We have noticed such trend in the reproductive capacity of those working or living in the oil-producing areas.
It is recommended that people who work in areas that have high levels of industrial pollutants may need to check the level of such toxins in their body regularly, especially if they are planning to have babies.
One should also recognise that toxins, apart from their deleterious effects on reproductive health, may also be carcinogenic.
Finally, our government should make our environmental protection agencies monitor and ensure low-level emission into our environment even from old automobiles with bad mufflers, diesel emissions, oil fossils, aviation fuel, plastics, fish containing heavy metals and industrial wastes, to mention a few of such toxin we have found to create havoc in our environment.