If you’re already having problems conceiving, the process of dealing with a fertility clinic can make a stressful situation even worse. Clinics use in-vitro fertilization, an expensive and potentially dangerous procedure using fertility drugs, egg cell extraction, test tube fertilization, and re-implantation into the uterus.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, approximately 30% of women undergoing in-vitro fertilization experience at least a mild case of ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome (OHSS). OHSS can result in swollen, painful ovaries, however more severe forms can result in heartburn, gas, nausea, vomiting, and loss of appetite.
Approximately one to two percent of these cases can become critical, requiring hospitalization. In the egg retrieval process, a method called transvaginal ultrasound aspiration has some risk of bleeding, infection, and damage to surrounding structures such as the bowel and bladder. Furthermore, there are risks associated with laparoscopy, which include difficulty breathing, chest infections, allergic reactions to medications, and nerve damage.
The CDC reports that this process only yields a success rate of 14 to 34% while costing many thousands of dollars per attempt.
Fertility clinics only treat the end result of an underlying problem, not the problem itself. I will be direct, medicine is a business and please hang on to your wallet because successful conception maybe a lot easier than you might imagine.
Women: Check your Thyroid
Before you “write off” that your thyroid was already checked….understand that test usually misses the mark. Low thyroid function can cause difficulty with ovulation, possibly indicated by heavy and/or irregular bleeding. This results in eggs not releasing regularly, if at all. Low thyroid function can also cause an elevation of the hormone prolactin, which may cause a complete absence of menstruation altogether (amenorrhea). As part of your endocrine system, the thyroid works in concert with the adrenal glands. When either the thyroid or adrenal glands are imbalanced, success in pregnancy becomes next to impossible.
Adrenal dysfunction, which is typically caused by excessive stress, can result in a progesterone deficiency. Producing too much cortisol and adrenaline along with too little progesterone creates an imbalance. In order to become and remain pregnant, progesterone is needed to nourish the uterine lining in preparation for a fertilized egg.
The adrenal glands cannot make cortisol without progesterone, therefore the progesterone is “borrowed” to make cortisol instead under conditions of chronic stress. The thyroid can also be adversely affected by chronic stress or heavy metal toxins, which influence the endocrine glands and reproductive organs.Your doctor may miss the thyroid as a cause of your difficulties because standard thyroid testing is not all that accurate. To learn about your thyroid health, have your doctor look for elevated serum prolactin levels and thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH). Note: TSH does not provide adequate information 40% of the time, so to compliment this, also take the Broda Barnes test.
Broda Barnes (Basal Temperature) Test
In the last century, a physician named Broda Barnes discovered a very simple method to test your thyroid and metabolism. It works by checking your resting body temperature when you first wake up, before getting out of bed.
To take this test, place a thermometer in your armpit for 10 minutes and record the temperature for three days in a row. If it averages between 97.8 and 98.2 degrees Fahrenheit you’re considered normal, anything less may suggest a sluggish thyroid.
Some people can be healthy with a lower basal temperature, however, when accompanied by other symptoms of low thyroid function, such as dry skin, constipation, or low energy, it suggests an abnormality.
Last, but certainly not least, test your iodine level. The best way to find out whether you’re low on iodine is to take an iodine loading test. Physicians who test for iodine deficiency report that on average, 96% of their patients are iodine deficient.
Iodine Loading Test
This test is very simple. An individual will take 50 milligrams (not micrograms) of iodine, usually in tablet form called Iodoral. Starting with the first visit to the bathroom the next morning, all urine is collected for 24 hours. If the laboratory results reveal iodine excretion above 90%, that indicates sufficiency. If your body doesn’t need the iodine, it passes right through. Daily dosages of 12.5 to 75mg of Lugol’s solution can be taken until iodine excretion exceeds 90%.
I suggest you skip the iodine loading test, because if you are experiencing fertility problems chances are really high you are low. Besides, how you would like a 20 to 30 IQ boost in your prospective offspring? 12.5 milligrams to 15 milligrams per day will boost your chances of not just successful conception, it will also boost the baby’s IQ substantially.
An over active thyroid may also prevent pregnancies and even a marginal elevation of thyroid hormone can cause a miscarriage. Hyperthyroidism often accompanies certain signs and symptoms such as fast pulse rate, racing heart, anxiety or nervousness, tremors, and inability to gain weight.Test for increased blood levels of thyroxine (T4) as well as abnormally low levels of TSH (thyroid stimulating hormone). Ironically, the most frequent cause of hyperthyroidism in matters like fertility is from an over-dosage of thyroxine for the treatment of hypothyroidism. In both cases of hypo- or hyperthyroidism, iodine therapy can resolve the problem. See the recommended iodine dosage above to address the problem.
The presence of heavy metal toxins can also disrupt hormone production, creating insufficient or excess thyroid hormones. See an integrative physician for testing.
Synthetic hormones, along with natural estrogens from animal origin, such as conjugated equine estrogen extracted from pregnant mares, create imbalances in humans. The reason for this is their potency and the length of time they are expressed in the body.
If the body cannot metabolize or rid itself of the hormones effectively, their effects will linger far beyond the original goal. This can affect fertility by offsetting healthy hormone balances or interfering with the phases of the reproductive cycle.
For example, many women have used hormonal contraceptives from adolescence well into adulthood. They may have the inability to conceive because their bodies are still affected by residual effects of these hormonal toxins, which may be provoking nutritional deficiencies, thyroid dysfunction, and interference with iodine absorption.
Women have problems removing these estrogens because they are molecularly configured in a way that is foreign to the body, creating problems with normal hormone metabolism. Hormonal toxins are not only limited to contraceptives, they also include herbicides, fungicides, phthalates, parabens, bisphenol-a (BPA), and other hormone-like toxins. All of these are endocrine disruptors.
Removing Toxic Hormones from the Body
It’s not easy to avoid these compounds – they’re found in all kinds of packaged foods, plastic containers, creams, lotions, and various personal hygiene products.
The body attempts to remove foreign estrogens from your body by way of the liver, attaching a substance called a glucuronide to the estrogen compounds.
They are then carried from the liver into the bile, which travels down to the gut. However, intestinal bacteria produces an enzyme called B-glucuronidase, which removes the binding (conjugate) of glucurinide from estrogen. In turn, the estrogen is free to reabsorb back into the body. The body finds itself with estrogen overload all over again.
If there is a history of hormone-based contraceptives, this increases the probability of high levels of toxic hormones. One test to consider is called the 2/16 Ratio – Urinary 2/16a Estrogen Metabolites. This test measures the ratio of beneficial estrogens to unfavorable estrogens.
Calcium D-Glucarate, which prevents the enzyme B-glucuronidase from removing glucuranide bindings from estrogen, allows it to be fully excreted and not re-circulated in the body. Supplement as long as necessary to improve this ratio.
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DIM is a plant nutrient found in cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, cabbage, brussel sprouts, and cauliflower. DIM supports the activity of specific enzymes that improve estrogen metabolism. DIM increases the level of the beneficial, anti-carcinogenic estrogen called 2-hydroxyestrogen, while reducing the level of unhealthy estrogen called 16-hydroxyestrogen.
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Infertility & Progesterone Deficiency
Another potentially helpful substance for women is Natural Progesterone cream, which is synthesized from plants and acts just like bio-identical human progesterone. Because infertility can arise from a progesterone deficiency, progesterone cream can be used for raising levels to those needed for conception. As its name suggests, progesterone literally means pro-gestation. However, it is best to consult with a physician to determine if a progesterone deficiency is a possible reason for the infertility.
That said, it is not absolutely necessary, since the use of progesterone cream, even without a progesterone deficiency, can still improve the odds of pregnancy. One reason is that it can oppose harmful estrogens and increase the viability of the embryo and/or fetus. In fact, natural progesterone cream can even help increase the intelligence or IQ of your future child. Progesterone drops off very quickly after the age of 35 and supplementation can be important in conception.
Note: if progesterone is taken, it should not be stopped within the first trimester, as a sudden drop in progesterone levels can present risks to the pregnancy. Do so only on the advice of physician.
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Endocrine disruptors affect all glands relating to the release of hormones that influence almost every cell, organ, and function in our bodies. This is especially true for development, tissue function, and metabolism, as well as sexual function and reproductive processes.
Bisphenol-A (BPA) is a chemical used in plastics and cans that wreaks havoc on hormones. When researchers injected female mice with BPA in amounts similar to what humans are regularly exposed to, approximately 60% of the mice had four or more deliveries over 12 weeks. That might not sound so bad if it weren’t for the fact that 95% of mice without any exposure to BPA had four or more deliveries.
Additionally, as time passed, the mice exposed to BPA were less likely to get pregnant and produced litters that were, on average, 25% smaller than the BPA-free mice. Furthermore, 76% of unexposed mice had six or more litters overall, with only 35% of the BPA exposed mice performed the same, according to the study in Environmental Health Perspectives.
What about Human Exposure?
A study out of Japan found higher levels of BPA in women with polycystic ovarian syndrome. This condition causes poor insulin regulation, endocrine dysfunction, and is a cause of infertility.
Avoiding BPA is a wise practice for anyone, as it has been linked to obesity, cancer, heart disease, diabetes, asthma, and so much more.
BPA Interferes with Sperm Motility
When researchers analyzed sperm and urine samples from 218 Chinese factory workers for five years, they found that men with detectable levels of BPA in their urine had more than 3x the risk of lowered sperm concentration and lower sperm vitality, more than 4x the risk of lower sperm count, and more than 2x the risk of lower sperm motility. 
Men: Take that Cell Phone out of your pocket!
According to Cleveland Clinic researchers, men using a hands-free device with a cellular phone may have fertility issues if they keep their phone near their testes. Carrying phones around in a pants pocket or clipped to a belt at the waist can increase exposure to damaging radiofrequency electromagnetic waves.
When researchers collected semen samples from 32 men and divided each sample into two parts; one half placed 2.5 centimeters away from an 850 MHz frequency (a typical frequency used in most mobile phones) cell phone in talk mode for one hour. The exposed semen was found to have lower sperm motility and viability.
According to Dr. Ashok Agarwal, head of the andrology laboratory and the director of the Center for Reproductive Medicine at the Glickman Urologoical and Kidney Institute at the Cleveland Clinic, “The emission may be smaller than when in talk mode, but could it still be harmful if it reaches the testes,” he says.
. Fertility and Sterility Volume 95, Issue 2 , Pages 625-630.e4, February 2011