15 Feb Influencing Successful Conception and ART
Are you planning or thinking of conceiving in the near future
The preconception period presents a unique window in time for diagnosis, treatment and prevention (Simon et al 2019, Fertility and Sterility).
The importance of egg quality is essential for successful conception, particularly for women over 35 years old.
First some updated statistics from the ANZARD report (ANZARD was established as a collaborative venture between the National Perinatal Epidemiology and Statistics Unit (NPESU), the Fertility Society of Australia (FSA) and the fertility clinics across Australia and New Zealand.)
- I in 6 couples experience infertility
- 1 in 5 couples have difficulty conceiving
- 1 in 3 couples have a female partner over 35 years old
- 5% of babies in Australia / New Zealand born using ART
The possibility of conception per cycle falls sharply from:
- 25% @ 25 years
- 42% @ 35 years and
- 65% at age 42 years old
Around 10% of the general population are post-menopausal by the age of 45.
These statistics are very stark but luckily chronological age doesn’t always correspond with biological age.
It is possible to influence egg and sperm quality within 100 days and 3-4 months of Naturopathic treatment is recommended as chromosomal abnormalities don’t happen gradually with women between 30-40 years old but happen a couple of months prior to the egg ovulating.
Eggs contain 50% of genetic material of the final embryo. Abnormalities can happen before conception in both the egg and the sperm.
Eggs provide all the energy for the embryo to develop and repair.
Eggs age as the individual person does.
Eggs are recruited around 100 days prior to ovulation and are exposed to the environment within a woman’s body.
Oocytes are the richest cell in the body for quality mitochondria (the engine house of the cell), the egg relies on mitochondria for competent fertilisation and early embryonic development.
Mitochondrial efficacy is inherited from the mother, mitochondrial DNA in oocytes is significantly less in women >35.
The nutrient Coenzyme Q 10 protects and supports the mitochondria. None of the mitochondria is inherited from the sperm.
Delivering a healthy baby is the most important battle for prospective parents, that should be won before gestation begins.
What to consider when trying for a baby
The goal of treatment is to:
- Improve egg quality by influencing ovarian and endometrial environment
- Optimising mitochondrial function and supporting methylation.
There is a growing body of scientific evidence which impacts fertility in areas that Naturopaths have been treating for years such as
- Environmental exposure
- Metabolic disorders
- stress reduction
- Nutritional supplementation
The Starting point is to
- Quit smoking
- Quit/minimize alcohol and caffeine
- Nutritional support – based on the individual’s health, clinical history and pathology.
- Adequate sleep
- Reduce environmental exposures
There is irrefutable evidence against environmental toxins, starting in the womb, then puberty and adulthood. Even very low amounts make an impact.
These toxins have multigenerational effects (Fertility and Sterility, 2019).
- Containers – bottles, cans, food, and plastic wrapping (This is the most widely studied toxin and has been found in high levels in breast milk)
120 hours exposure, lowers Testosterone, Androstenedione, and DHEA.
Infertile women have been found to have higher plasma concentrations then fertile women.
BPA causes chromosomal abnormalities in eggs; it is also linked to reduced oestradiol levels under FSH stimulation and decrease the number of oocytes retrieved.
Other negative effects include:
- Reduced egg quality and maturity
- Problems with fertilisation, embryo development, implantation and pregnancy rates
- Poor egg quality
Contained in 100’s of products such as toys, food packaging, body lotion, soaps, shampoos, perfumes, nail polishes and detergents. Phthalates lower SHBG which detrimentally affects endometrial tissue, and results in poor egg quality
Pesticides and Herbicides
- Cycle development
- Impaired folliculogenesis
- Follicular atresia (breakdown of ovarian follicles)
- Implantation defects
- Foetal birth defects
- Poor egg quality
- These toxins are just as important for sperm health
Adequate Vitamin D Levels
Even the level of Vitamin D is important. A systematic review from 2018 found that low vitamin D levels was resulting in poorer egg quality with women undergoing IVF. The probability of live birth for deficient women is significantly lower.
We have a clinic range of specialised supplements that can support the quality of eggs, and testing equipment that can assess your susceptibility to deal with specific toxins.
I would urge you to get sufficiently tested before considering conception so that these deficiencies can be corrected and supported with therapeutic doses of supplementation, and diet and lifestyle.