Many couples are encouraged to consider assisted reproductive technology (ART) such as IUI or IVF after just a few months of trying to conceive without success. Though these fertility procedures help bring the sperm and egg (closer) together, they are rather costly, often stressful, not to mention not always successful. In fact, the success rate for IVF procedures is only 40% and that’s for those 35 and under.
Various factors affect your ability to conceive and carry a healthy baby to term. A successful embryo transfer doesn’t necessarily translate into a successful pregnancy. Whether you are trying to conceive naturally or attempting the IVF route, there are several important things to consider:
- Are you experiencing miscarriages? There may be underlying conditions or reasons affecting your ability to carry a baby to term. For example, people with a MTHFR gene defect may be prone to recurrent miscarriages. Methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase (MTHFR for short) is an enzyme that is responsible for the conversion of folic acid to its active form folate. If you have a MTHFR gene mutation, your body cannot break down folic acid into folate, and studies show that people with a MTHFR gene mutation are more susceptible to recurrent miscarriages, pre-eclampsia and a baby born with spina bifida. Keep in mind that while recurrent miscarriages are often multi-factorial. Dr Ardyce Yik, a licensed naturopathic physician at IMI and has helped many couples conceive, and often tests her patients for MTHFR mutation when frequent pregnancy loss is unexplained, this ensures proper treatment can be given to those with a MTHFR gene defect. Other reasons for recurrent miscarriages include nutrient deficiencies, poor egg quality, immune responses and thyroid hormone imbalances.
- Dr Yik plays a supportive role in helping each of her patients improve egg quality and uterine lining, promote pelvic circulation and optimise overall health. Dr Yik has helped women doing IVF to successfully conceive (usually these are women who have tried IVF on its own without success). There have even been cases where patients after adopting a certain dietary and lifestyle regimen, fall pregnant before their next scheduled IVF procedure. Age, also plays a part.It is true that fertility decreases as you age but did you know that your biological age may be different from your chronological age? The good news is, you can lower your biological age through lifestyle with the help of naturopathic medicine and under the direction of a trained practitioner.
- Diet: what you consume has a direct impact on your fertility. A study carried out by the Harvard School of Public Health, showed that women who ate the highest amounts of monounsaturated fat had triple the chance of IVF success. These women were 3.4 times more likely to have a child after IVF. In contrast, women who ate mostly saturated fat |(found in butter and red meat) produced fewer good quality eggs for use in fertility treatment. Another study looked at 4000 Danish women and found that women who drink five or more cups of coffee a day actually halve their chance of getting pregnant via IVF. Furthermore, a 2018 study from Human Reproduction concluded that women who consumed a Mediterranean diet had significantly higher success rates of IVF compared to other women. These studies confirm that what we eat can either boost our fertility or curb it. Dr Yik uses dietary guidelines, medicinal herbs and nutraceuticals to help the body be in optimal state to improve the chances of a successful pregnancy.
- Toxins. A detox (for your body, particularly your liver) can be a great way to remove toxins, which have accumulated in your body all these years. A study conducted in Hong Kong, on 150 infertile couples undergoing in-vitro fertilisation (IVF) versus 20 fertile couples, found that the infertile couples had significantly higher blood mercury then the fertile group. Over 1/3 of infertile men had abnormally high mercury and about 1/4 of the infertile females had high mercury levels. High levels of PBCs have also been linked to IVF failure. A detox and liver cleanse (scheduled 3 to 6 months prior to conception) can help to remove toxins, rebalance hormones and improve reproductive health.
There are many effective natural therapies that can help increase the chance of a successful pregnancy. Finding a naturopathic doctor who looks beyond IUI or IVF can help maximise your health and wellness and ultimately help your body prepare for and boost your chances of an optimal pregnancy.
Chinese version 中文版
- 你是否經歷過流產？ 可能有一些潛在條件或原因影響你懷孕的能力。 例如患有MTHFR基因缺陷的人可能容易發生反覆流產。亞甲基四氫葉酸還原酶（簡稱MTHFR）是一種酶，負責將葉酸轉化為活性形式的葉酸。 如果你有MTHFR基因突變，你的身體不能將葉酸分解為活性葉酸，研究指出，具有MTHFR基因突變的人更容易發生反覆流產、妊娠毒血症和嬰兒出生時患有脊柱裂。雖然導致反覆流產的因素很多，易雁嘉醫生 (Dr. Ardyce Yik) 通常會對患者進行MTHFR突變測試，以便對有MTHFR基因缺陷的患者給予適當的治療。反覆流產的其他原因包括營養缺乏、卵细胞質量差、免疫反應和甲狀腺激素失衡。
- 易醫生幫助她的每位患者改善卵子質量和子宮內膜，促進盆腔循環和優化整體健康。她幫助女性做IVF成功受孕（這些女性曾經自己嘗試過IVF但沒有成功）。甚至有些病人在採用某種食療和生活方式後，在預定的IVF手術前成功懷孕。年齡會影響懷孕嗎？ 是的，隨著年齡的增長，生育能力會下降。 但是你知道你的生理年齡可能與你的實際年齡不同嗎？好消息是，你可以通過生活方式（以及在受過訓練的醫生指導下使用自然療法）降低你的生理年齡。 有一些方法可以防止衰老，甚至可以逆轉衰老。
- 你吃的東西會亦會直接影響你的生育能力！ 根據哈佛大學公共衛生學院(Harvard School of Public Health) 進行的一項研究，攝入最多單不飽和脂肪的女性於IVF體外受精成功的機會增加三倍。在體外受精後，這些女性能成功生育孩子的可能性是原來的3.4倍。相比之下，若女性吸收大量在牛油和紅肉中發現的飽和脂肪，生產優質並用於生育治療的卵子會較少。另一項研究調查了4000名丹麥女性，發現每天喝五杯咖啡或以上的女性實際上通過體外受精（IVF）懷孕的機會減少。 此外，2018年人類生殖研究得出的結論是，與其他女性相比，食用地中海飲食的女性IVF成功率顯著提高。這些研究證實，我們吃的東西可以提高生育能力或抑制它。 易醫生使用食療、藥草和營養補充品來幫助身體處於最佳狀態，以提高成功懷孕的機會。
- 可能是毒素嗎？ 排毒（對於你的身體、你的肝臟）可以是一種很好的方法來清除這些年來積聚在你體內的毒素。在香港進行的一項研究，對150名接受體外受精（IVF）的不育夫婦與20對生育夫婦進行對比，不孕夫婦的血汞水平顯著高於可育群體。超過1/3的不育男性有異常高的汞，約1/4的不育女性有高汞含量。 嚴重的原發性膽汁性膽管炎（PBC）也與IVF失敗有關。排毒和肝臟清潔（計劃在懷孕前3至6個月進行）可以幫助排毒，平衡荷爾蒙和改善生殖健康。
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