Fertility hacks from Dr Andrew Orr
My lovely virtual friend Dr Andrew has kindly shared tips with me on increasing my chances on getting pregnant and I thought they're too great to keep to myself so here you are:
Tips to increase the chances of a successful Pregnancy
1. Reduce stress
The biggest cause of fertility issues and (ivf) cycles not working is stress. Stress increases cortisol and adrenalin and these can affect your hormones. Stress can also lead to production of natural killer cells that reduce implantation and kill off your embryos. Stress can also interfere with blood circulation, which can affect implantation.
2. It takes two people to have a baby
Biology 101 tells us that it takes a man and a woman to have a baby, meaning it takes a sperm and an egg. Unless you are a single woman, or a same sex female couple, using donor sperm, the man needs to be make sure his sperm is healthy and checked out properly too. Over 50% of fertility issues are related to male factors and up to 85% of miscarriage issues can be related to chromosomal and DNA damage to sperm. Sperm quality also changes by as much as 20% in each month so it is just as important for a male to continue on supplements etc to keep his sperm healthy. Men often bury their heads in the sand when it comes to fertility issues and we need them to be more proactive and not just leave it to the woman to do all the work and take all the burden on. There will always be a bit on each side when it comes to fertility, so men need to get their act together and support their partner and support the process more.
3. Seeking the right advice and proper investigations
All too often couples wait too long to seek advice and treatment for fertility issues. Early intervention, investigations and management is the key to any issue we face on a health perspective. The wait and see approach isn’t always the best advice that is given to couples. You also need to see the right healthcare professionals too. GP’s are not equipped to deal with fertility issues, but can give you a referral to a fertility specialist, or reproductive medicine specialist. Obstetricians are also not fully equipped to deal with fertility issues either. They are there to help women once they are pregnant, not before. It is so important to make sure you are seeing the right person for fertility help.
4. Getting a second opinion
If someone asked you how many quotes would you get to renovate your house etc, how many quotes would you get?
Most people will say about 3-5 quotes, yet when it comes to their health, or fertility issues, they are only seeking 1, possibly 2 quotes, which means they place more importance on their houses etc. If something or someone isn’t helping you, then it is so important to get a second opinion. Just because someone is nice, or has all your health history, does not mean they are worth staying with, especially if they aren’t helping you fall pregnant. A second opinion, or even a third, fourth, or fifth, could just be what is needed to get you the right advice and see someone who is more suitable to helping you. Things do get missed and something I see daily, so please never underestimate the power of another opinion.
5. Eat more protein and Essential Fats
Protein and essential fats are the essential building blocks for life. They are also the building blocks for making your hormones and making healthy eggs and sperm. Increased protein also helps prevent ovarian hyper-stimulation and also dampens down inflammatory response caused by over eating starchy carbohydrates.
6. Increase your Electrolytes
Water alone will not stop you from dehydrating. Electrolytes are a very important part of the body chemistry and hormone therapy, certain drugs and medications drastically reduce them. It is important to keep the cells body hydrated at all times and especially during an IVF cycle and during pregnancy. Electrolytes consumption during IVF cycles also helps prevent ovarian hyper-stimulation.
7. Regular climax
Regular climax, self induced, or with a partner, (also before and especially after embryo transfer) assists with implantation and health blood supply to the uterus. An embryo feeds off blood supply from the uterus and regular climax helps optimise this blood flow and with increasing hormones such as oxytocin. Without a healthy blood supply and circulating hormones the embryo will die. Regular sex also helps with men as well, by improving sperm quality. Storing it up does not help sperm quality and actually makes it worse. Lastly regular sex and climax also helps with a healthy relationship and bonding as a couple.
8. Not having enough sex and not at the right time
One of the biggest myths is that all women ovulate around day 14, or in the supposed fertile window between day 10 and day 17. A landmark study published in the British Medical journal showed that more than 70% of women were ovulating before day 10 and after day 17 of their cycle and there was actually only a 10% probability of being fertile in the supposed fertile window (day 10 to day 17). Couples need to be having regular sex, at least every second day, from the time the menses finish right up until the woman is due for her menses again. An egg dies 24 hours after it is release so if there is no sperm there, then the egg cannot be fertilised and the egg dies. That is the facts. And no... sperm do not last up to seven days etc. Most of the three to 5 hundred million sperm that set off are dead after an hour. Less than 20 sperm actually make the journey to the fallopian tubes and even less make the journey to meet the egg.