I’m often asked, in my professional capacity as a Dr of TCM why we are faced with rising infertility rates. For the majority of couples I see – it is directly related to lifestyle and diet, including environmental factors.
Commonly, patients don’t like the idea that they hold bad habits that need to be changed. Sometimes it’s easier to believe there is a deeper problem than to play it simple. We are so are used to looking harder, and sometimes making the situation far more complicated than it is. I can’t help but feel we have totally lost sight of what’s really going on. This isn’t our fault – some elements of science has scared the wind out of us – right down to our very thoughts – which in turn can also have a negative impact on our fertility.
For many couples – there is a simple answer. More sex, less stress. Could it be that easy? I certainly believe it. Think about your parents and grandparents. Sure they worked. In fact they most likely enjoyed their work – it was more than likely simple and fufilling. They went to work, they came home (and again, more than likely your Dad/Grandpa went to work whilst your Mum/Grandma stayed home and enjoyed her busy role maintaining a house and children – a massive task in itself), they shared a meal with the family, read the paper, watched a bit of TV and then probably got cosy under the covers . I’m certain they had more sex. More sex and less stress.
When we start trying for a baby, sometimes something odd shifts in our mindset which see’s about us limiting sexual activity to only several days in the month – the days we believe we are fertile. This can be a dangerous baby making trap! I was horrified whilst reading the Herald Sun on Sunday where it shared briefly about fertility trackers and iphone app’s. They said “they are a new generation of iBabies – children born with the help of an application telling a couple the best time to conceive.” It set of a really loud alarm in my head. Understanding your menstrual is absolutely essential for everyday health, but trusting an iphone application to pin point your fertile time can set you up for a disasterous outcome. Don’t get me wrong – some app’s can be very useful – but nothing can tell you exactly when the event of ovulation is occuring unless they request very specific details. What’s more – baby making shouldn’t be that stressful. Consulting your phone before you get under the sheets is, well – madness. The best fertility signs are your own body signs. Relying on an app which assumes that every woman’s cycle is roughly the same and that every luteal and follicular phase is the same is dangerous. It might mean that women who are using such devices are totally missing the boat all together every month. 12 months on and these women may find themselves on the assisted conception route because they have been actively trying long enough to qualify.
Unfortunately squeezing some intimate time between the covers proves a difficult task for many of us. I was fortunate enough to spend some time with natural fertility expert, Andrew Orr recently. Andrew maintains that we should be having sex no less than once a day (outside of the period time). This man has made a lot of babies – 10,000 and counting! He knows what he is on about. In his opinion, having sex daily ensures several things. Firstly – you won’t miss the boat! Secondly you are exercising the reproductive organs by invigorating and increasing blood flow – all keeping a level of tone in the uterus and in turn nourishing your reproductive organs. Adding more sex to your routine might be a simple solution to regulating your hormones as well as lessening stress – since exercise is the best way to move cortisol (the stress hormone) out of the body. In addition to all these lovely things – having more intimate and loving intercourse can certainly do wonderful things for a healthy relationship.
Evidently it may not be this simple for all couples. I appreciate that some specific treatment may be necessary to support fertility further – but all couples can indeed benefit from adding more intimate time to their relationship. It is important to not lose sight of the foundations that make a family work – happy and healthy parents.