Fertility is a blessing when you have it and a frustration when you want it. So why are so many couples having trouble with fertility? Why has the fertility industry become a two billion dollar per year business with in vitro treatments costing from $4,000 – $16,000 per treatment? Why is infertility so much more common than it was a generation ago? There are many possible reasons for this spike in infertility. STI’s and PID’s certainly contribute to structural problems in some females. Many couples wait until later in life to begin a family. Age can make it more difficult to conceive and deliver a healthy baby. And finally environmental factors and stress contribute to infertility. These last factors will upset a normal hormone balance in both females and males. Let’s discuss this final factor in more detail.
Stress plays a large factor in many health-related problems. And no, this isn’t always the stress you are thinking of – such as death of a loved one or financial crisis. Diet and environmental exposures also put the body under stress and its systems will act accordingly to survive. Use of the birth control pill and other drugs can also disrupt a normal cycle. This, unfortunately, puts many body systems into their own crisis, including the hormone system. Hormones play a vital role in females as to whether ovulation occurs and for how long. This is the first step in allowing fertilization to occur. The second step is to whether the environment (uterus) will be able to implant and sustain an embryo and eventually a fetus to full term.
By The Numbers • 7.3 million U.S. women, ages 15-44, with impaired ability to have children. • One in six couples is infertile. • Fertility problems strike one in three women over 35. • One in 25 males has a low sperm count and one in 35 is sterile. • For healthy couples in their twenties having regular unprotected sex, the chance of becoming pregnant each month is 25 per cent. Source: cdc.gov, abc.net.au
So how does one know this information? – because the female cycle is constantly changing and certainly one test on one day of the month is going to be different on another day of the month. The answer is the 11 sample monthly female panel. This panel is done at home using saliva samples to chart estrogen, progesterone, LH and FSH. Testosterone and DHEA are also included to give a complete picture of hormone output. Samples are taken every two to three days starting at the onset of menses until the next menses. These values are then charted and compared against the norm to determine if and where ovulation occurred and why it may not be occurring.
Now if structural problems have been ruled out, this test will supply a wealth of information as to how to correct this cycle so that adequate ovulation can occur. This may include dietary evaluation and changes to a poor diet. The beauty of this test is also that if the problem is occurring at the beginning of the cycle, specific nutrients, herbs and glandulars can be dosed where needed, thereby balancing the cycle. Typically, improvement in hormone balance can occur within three consecutive cycles following a specific protocol. This is all done without the use of invasive procedures or harsh pharmaceuticals. The cost of the test panel is usually less than what a single blood test of estrogen and progesterone costs.
Males also have the option for testing, but since male hormones are not cyclical, a single sample is taken for determining three forms of testosterone: DHEA, progesterone and estrogen. Why estrogen for males, you ask? Well, if female hormone levels are high in a male, it will interfere with normal male and testosterone function. Again, this can all be managed via nutrition once the imbalances are known.
Deciding to have a child is a big decision in any relationship. Dealing with problems of fertility can very disappointing, but simply remember that you have many options to help this desire become a reality.
Dr. Dan Czelatdko is Board Certified through the American Board of Clinical Nutritionists. He has practiced chiropractic and clinical nutrition with a focus on hormone balancing for 21 years at Tenold Chiropractic in Eau Claire, WI.