Fertility is a complicated issue. However, there are ways to optimize your fertility and prevent or reduce the chances of having difficulties conceiving. We will address any known fertility challenges along with nutritional imbalances, lifestyle choices and stress management.
Our Functional Fertility approach will help you through every part of the process, whether conceiving naturally or with assisted reproductive techniques like IVF or IUI.
The health of your baby, and their quality of life, depends in large part on the health of the gametes that create them. Folliculogenesis (time for an egg to mature and be released at ovulation) is about a 90 day process. Some assert that it’s even longer. Spermatogenesis (maturation of sperm for egg fertilization) is about a 72 day process. You’re gathering building materials for your baby long before conception occurs. Every aspect of your life can influence the health of your maturing egg. – diet, hormone balance, exercise, sleep, mental and emotional health. We have the experience to guide you toward a healthy pregnancy and healthy baby.
IVF AND IUI
For some, assisted reproductive techniques can be an effective way to grow a family. It’s typically an option only after natural methods have failed, and it can be quite daunting. In short, IVF (in vitro fertilization) and IUI (intra-uterine insemination) are designed to coerce the body into pregnancy by overriding various steps in the natural process. The assisted reproductive technology industry is expected to exceed $45 billion USD by 2026. Statistics show that it takes 2-4 IVF cycles to become pregnant at an average cost of $15,000 per cycle. Six cycles until success is not uncommon. And, take note, the pregnancy rate is markedly higher than the birth rate. We can increase your odds of a healthy pregnancy with IVF or IUI by as much as 60%, which can save considerable time, money and emotional wear and tear.
Unevenly spaced menstrual cycles, breakthrough bleeding between periods, missed periods, unusually light or heavy periods can all be signs of a hormonal imbalance or some other underlying issues. The most common “treatment” is to take birth control pills, but those only mask the issues, and in some cases, make it worse.
There are three primary hormonal axes in the body: hypothalamic-pituitary-thyroid axis, hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis, and hypothalamic-pituitary-gonadal (ovarian/testicular) axis. An unresolved imbalance in one axis can cascade into an imbalance in all three, so you can see how it’s an interconnected system that your body works hard to keep regulated. Things like excess weight, poor sleep, insulin resistance, autoimmune disease and stress can create enough imbalance in the body to reduce chances of pregnancy.
POOR EGG QUALITY
Egg quality refers to the health of the egg and its ability to be fertilized, resulting in implantation, pregnancy and birth. Poor egg quality is closely correlated with chromosomal abnormalities. Decline in egg quality and quantity is a natural result of aging, especially beyond 35 years old, and while we can’t increase the number of eggs in a woman’s ovaries, we can impact egg health and increase the odds of a healthy pregnancy.
One indicator used in fertility clinics to indicate ovarian reserve (or number of eggs remaining) is anti-Müllerian hormone (AMH). So, one would think that a low AMH level couldn’t increase, if it truly indicated how many eggs you have left, but that’s not the case. The only way to truly verify the number of eggs would be to remove the ovaries and count them, which defeats the purpose. Regardless, there are natural ways to increase AMH levels.
ADVANCED MATERNAL AGE
Yes, aging is inevitable, and if you’re over 35, the word geriatric is probably somewhere in your fertility doctor’s chart. That doesn’t mean you can’t have a healthy baby. It may make it a bit more challenging, but we like a good challenge. We’ve helped plenty of women who were well into their 40s succeed.
LUTEAL PHASE DEFICIENCY
First described in 1949, luteal phase deficiency (LPD) broadly refers to an abnormal luteal phase (post-ovulation) that is 10 days or fewer, while it’s typically 12-14 days in those without LPD. This shortened phase is typically a result of low progesterone levels and thin endometrium. This can often be corrected through natural means, without the need for medical intervention.
This occurs when an egg doesn’t release from your ovary during your menstrual cycle. It typically occurs around cycle day 13-15. It can happen to all women, but chronic anovulation persisting for a year or more is a common cause of infertility. A woman may still experience a regular period, or they may have infrequent or absent periods as seen in polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS).
Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is one of the most common causes of female infertility, affecting as many as 5 million women of reproductive age in the US. The classic PCOS patient experiences few or no periods; struggles with being overweight due to insulin resistance; may have elevated androgens causing facial hair, male pattern hair loss and acne; doesn’t ovulate regularly, if at all; and presents with multiple cysts in the ovaries that create what’s known as the string of pearls effect. There is also what’s known as lean PCOS, where the person doesn’t appear to have the outward physical signs (overweight, excess body hair), but do have irregular or absent periods with infrequent ovulation. Both types of patients can often be helped through natural means.
The case of the right tissue in the wrong place. The cause of endometriosis has created a conundrum over the years, but we do know that when endometrial tissue gets into the pelvic cavity, adhesions form. Symptoms like pelvic pain, especially with your periods or during intercourse, and heavy periods are common. It’s estimated that 30% to 50% of infertile women have endometriosis to some degree. It creates inflammation, and is believed to be autoimmune in nature. The only way to diagnose it currently is through laparoscopic surgery. While there’s no quick way to naturally reduce endometriosis, we can help reduce the inflammation and prevent its return after surgery, which increases your odds of a healthy pregnancy.
The ideal TSH level for fertility is between 1- 2.5 mIU/L. Hyper- and hypothyroidism, and the autoimmune thyroid issues Hashimoto’s and Graves’ disease can negatively impact a woman’s ability to conceive and carry a pregnancy to term. Abnormal TSH levels can interfere with ovulation and may lead to a disruption in the last half of the menstrual cycle, and increase risk of miscarriage or preterm birth. Many women remain undiagnosed, and considering the normal lab range for TSH is usually 0.5 – 4.5 mIU/L, we see a TSH level outside the range of 1-2.5 mIU/L as an opportunity to naturally improve fertility to support a healthy pregnancy.
Inflammation is at the root of many common health problems like endometriosis, PCOS, Hashimoto’s disease, IBS, Epstein-Barre, mold illness, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, and toxin exposure. It’s often the culprit behind unexplained infertility. Chronic inflammation impacts overall health, which in turn impacts fertility, and risk of miscarriage and preterm birth.
Numerous autoimmune diseases can contribute to infertility, including but not limited to lupus, Sjögren’s syndrome, psoriasis, rheumatoid arthritis, endometriosis, Hashimoto’s disease, Type I diabetes, and celiac disease. Because autoimmune conditions can create chronic inflammation, it is often the culprit behind unexplained infertility. There are natural ways to mitigate the root and reduce the impact of autoimmune disease on fertility.
BLOOD SUGAR / OVERWEIGHT / INSULIN RESISTANCE
Being overweight can create a barrier to a conceiving and carrying a pregnancy to term. In general, excess weight corresponds to blood sugar imbalance and insulin resistance, one of the biggest obstacles to in fertility. Not all people with insulin resistance are overweight. Elevated blood sugar levels contribute to inflammation, another barrier to getting and staying pregnant. Current medical practice is to prescribe Metformin, which is only a bandaid. There are much more effective and natural ways to manage blood sugar levels for fertility that will translate into better health for your baby.
STRESS AND ANXIETY
“Just relax and stop trying so hard.” Those words are NOT helpful, right? According to the research, there’s a definite link between stress and infertility and an increased time to conception. Your body is brilliant, and it’s priority is YOUR survival, so the first place it will divert resources from to manage the impact of stress is the reproductive system. If you’re that stressed, adding a baby to the mix doesn’t make sense to your survival instincts. It’s a tricky hurdle to overcome, and we have helped many women mitigate their stress and have happy healthy babies.
MALE FERTILITY ISSUES
It still takes a man’s sperm to make a baby. The sperm contributes 23 chromosomes to the fetus and it also forms the placenta, which houses the growing baby for the duration of the pregnancy. Spermatogenesis (length of time for a sperm to mature enough to fertilize an egg) is about a 72 day process, and everything that can impact the man’s health (diet, sleep, exercise, stress, illness, alcohol, tobacco, emotional health) can impact sperm quality. We can help men prepare for a healthy conception and healthy baby, as well.
Great for you
We have specialized training and years of clinical experience to offer. We understand how to work in tandem with your doctors to improve your odds of conceiving by 50-60% without interfering with western medical protocols.
We blend the best of functional medicine and Chinese medicine to promote fertility and ensure you are gathering the strongest building blocks possible for your pregnancy and your baby. The benefits will extend beyond birth and be passed down throughout generations to come.
We consider ourselves part of your family-building village and are honored to be on the journey with you. While no one can guarantee the outcomes, we are dedicated helping you achieve a healthy pregnancy and a healthy baby.
Make the Wiser choice for you AND your baby!
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2525 Wallingwood Dr.
Bldg 7, Suite 702A
Austin, TX, 78746
Tuesday – Saturday 10a-3:30p