Diet: The couple should ensure that their diet includes foods that are organic and as fresh as possible, has good-quality protein sources (preferably plant-based) and good fats. ‘Also, we believe dairy and gluten products have an adverse impact on a couple’s chances of having a child, as these foods not only have allergens but have a high amount of chemicals that can be quite harmful.’
Water: Don’t drink unfiltered tap water. ‘It is highly possible that tap water is polluted with industrial waste and chemicals, which can have an adverse impact.’
Detox: Minimise your exposure to toxic chemicals. Exposure to toxins may dramatically affect adult fertility. In a toxic body everything goes wrong. Inner toxicity – a collection of toxins due to bad eating habits, poor elimination, candida-yeast overgrowth – has a negative influence on hormonal balance. ‘In order to normalise the functioning of the gastro-intestinal tract, the organs such as the liver and kidneys and restore the healthy intestinal flora in the small and large intestines, which is crucial to conception, it is vital that the couple gets rid of toxins in a gentle, safe and effective, natural manner.’ She recommends colonic irrigation to cleanse the body of toxins.
De-stress: Stress and the brain play an important role in fertility. It is proven that extreme stress sends signals to the female body that it should not be pregnant.
‘This explains why women under extreme stress often stop menstruating,’ says the doctor. What’s more, the doctor adds, experiencing problems conceiving can cause a lot of stress and that stress can prevent a woman from ovulating.
Patience: Finally, give yourself 120 days before trying to conceive. ‘There is a common misconception that egg and sperm quality cannot be improved. In fact, it is possible to improve the quality of your egg and sperm, however, it takes 120 days,’ she explains. This is because it takes approximately 120 days for eggs to mature and sperm to develop.
What it all means: An infertility glossary
Polycystic ovarian syndrome or PCOS Multiple small cysts in the ovaries that are mostly benign, due to several reasons including ‘sedentary lifestyle, a diet of excessive processed food, genetics or environmental causes such as pollution,’ says Dr Eset.
Endometriosis: When the lining of the uterus (the endometrium) grows outside the uterus, it is unable to exit the body during the menstrual cycle, thus getting trapped. This results in ovarian cysts called endometriomas or blocked fallopian tubes, and can lead to fertility problems.
In-vitro fertilization (IVF), intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) and intrauterine insemination (IUI): These are the most popular techniques in assisted conception, says Dr Diana. IVF is a process ‘when a woman’s egg and a man’s sperm are fertilized in the embryology lab to create an embryo’.
It involves hormonally controlling the ovulatory process, removing ova (eggs) from the woman’s ovaries and letting a man’s sperm fertilise them in a fluid medium. ‘The embryo is then grown in the lab for 3 to 5 days before being transferred back into the woman to implant and become a normal pregnancy.’
The ICSI procedure is almost identical to IVF, the only difference being ‘the sperm is injected into the egg, which increases fertilization rates.’ In the case of IUI, the sperm is injected into the woman’s uterus.