This is the time of year when many of us take a good hard look at our lifestyles and resolve to improve our diet, up our exercise and generally nurture our bodies. In fact it is almost impossible to read a newspaper or magazine without being instructed on the latest diet, detox or fitness regime. There is no doubt that a new year inspires us to tackle health problems and an inability to conceive will often be included in such a list.
There is no cure-all that will guarantee a solution to your fertility problems. However, there is plenty of evidence that supports the theory that you are more likely to fall pregnant if your body and mind are in the best possible shape.
The team at Herts & Essex Fertility Centre has put together their top ten tips for preparing you and your partner, both mentally and physically, for your journey towards parenthood. Whether or not they result in you conceiving without the help of a fertility treatment, they will certainly help your general health and wellbeing.
Make sure you include a wide variety of foods in your diet but in particular eat plenty of cereals, (wholegrain where possible), green vegetables, lean meat, eggs, up to two portions of oily fish per week and drink plenty of milk. The Herts & Essex Fertility works with Dr Marilyn Glenville who has spent the last 30 years studying and practising nutritional medicine. Her research has shown that working with women and men on their nutrition improves the quality of their eggs and sperm. We will discuss your diet in your initial consultation with us.
If you are overweight or underweight you may have trouble conceiving. This is in addition to potential complications during the pregnancy and effects on the health of your baby. Eating sensibly over the long term will help you to achieve an acceptable weight.
Try to take some regular exercise. A regular walk will help your physical fitness and give you some quality thinking time away from the stresses at work and in the home. It is also a good way to relax to overcome the tensions that infertility inevitably causes.
And while alcohol might help you to relax, it is advised that it should be avoided as it can affect both male and female fertility. Excessive intake can even lead to miscarriage or an early menopause.
The same is true of caffeine, so do your best to cut down on coffee and try some of the delicious herbal teas that are now readily available in supermarkets.
Smoking can cause infertility and should be stopped.
A study published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine in 2013 showed that a sedentary lifestyle contributes to poor sperm quality. Healthy young men who watch TV for more than 20 hours a week have almost half the sperm count of men who watch very little TV. Conversely, men who do 15 or more hours of moderate to vigorous exercise every week have sperm counts that are 73% higher than those who exercise little. So turn off the TV and get yourself to the gym!
Share your eggs and sperm
At Herts & Essex Fertility Centre we run an egg sharing programme that allows a woman who needs IVF to share some of her eggs with another woman who is unable to conceive using her own eggs. The egg donor will receive one free cycle of IVF. A similar service is offered to sperm donors.
Alternatively you can donate your eggs altruistically as a means of helping a woman who cannot conceive naturally. We offer £750 expenses to our egg donors.
This is the top tip from all our clinicians. There is no doubt that a woman’s age will impact her chances of becoming pregnant so the sooner that you start investigations into your fertility problem the better chance you have of success. Recent research at the University of Aberdeen has shown that fertility starts to decline rapidly from the age of 37 so really do act now.
The Herts & Essex Fertility Centre offers a One-Stop Fertility Assessment for women (£550) and men (£150), and also a Female Mini Fertility Profile for £195. Please give us a call to talk through your options.