Lead Affecting Your Fertility

A Hong Kong Reproductive Medical Center found that the chance of infertility is 5 times greater than those with low lead blood levels. The normal sperm count per ejaculation is 180 million when blood lead levels are less than 15 micrograms per liter. The number drops to 80 million when lead exceeds 40 micrograms. High lead levels can also pose a risk factor for miscarriage. Most common lead sources include soil, water (copper plumbing soldered with lead), household dust, pottery, toys, and cosmetics. Be informed!

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The Role of Diet and Exercise in Ovarian Cysts

Researchers at Pennington Biomedical Research Center in a study called PULSE are testing whether walking on a treadmill and eating better work for PCOS, a disorder that causes cysts to form on woman’s ovaries. Some couples cannot afford fertility treatments, which is what is offered to couples affected by PCOS. PCOS affects 1 in 12 women of reproductive age. The study is monitoring 3 groups: one that walks on a treadmill regularly, another that eats a healthier diet, and another that takes a diabetes drug regularly given to women with PCOS. The study is halfway finished- stay tuned for results.

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Men Beware of Steroids

It is not common for men these days to be taking steroids for increasing muscle mass and increasing athletic performance. Unfortunately, this can have some consequences down the road, including infertility. Men who tend to take steroids may also be over-exercising and experimenting with extreme diets, which all adds up. Please be informed and know all of the risks and consequences of anything you put in your body.

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3 Tips for Living Your Fertility Journey with Confidence

Rosanne Austin has 3 awesome tips as she helps women living with fertility issues find clarity, confidence, and fulfillment, so they can love their lives, no matter what:


  • Be Clear About Who You Are

How can we be sure of ourselves when we feel overwhelmed by information, advice, and guidance coming from all directions. Make a list of all your values. Is it truth, compassion, financial responsibility? Leading from your values empowers you to make the best decisions for you. Others may not approve, but that is ok. Your journey = your values.

  • Choose Your Support System Wisely

As much as our family and friends may love us, our struggle with fertility is something they may or may not ever understand. They may say or do things that cause us pain. Forgive them, and open your heart to the possibility that the support you desire may come from a different source.

  • Decide to Love Your Life No Matter What

What if you knew you were going to love your life no matter what? Making this decision can change your life. It is the gift of acceptance and boundless hope that only we can give ourselves, so that we can stop comparing ourselves to others and reduce the crushing pressure on ourselves. You are more than your fertility. It can help to empower you to explore how it can work for you.

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Exploring Mental Blocks to Fertility

Many patients come frustrated with the diagnosis of unexplained infertility- when everything seems great on paper, but it is just not happening. Unfortunately for some, our unconscious minds may be hoping for the opposite of what we consciously want. For example, we may consciously want to get a promotion and earn lots of money, but unconsciously we may fear the responsibility that promotion brings. Sometimes unconscious fears of becoming a parent, of child birth, or a multitude of other fears can be in conflict with what we consciously want most in the world. For example, I had a woman admit to me that even though she and her husband want to have a baby, she had an incident in her past where she dropped a baby while babysitting, and just didn’t know if she would be a good mother. The good news is that we have the ability to make our unconscious, conscious, and becoming aware is the first step. We have the capacity to work through these conflicts by listening to our intuition and our bodies. Sometimes what cannot be communicated verbally, is communicated through our bodies. Our bodies do not necessarily work against us, but the communication between our emotional and physical selves is confused and needs to be given some attention in order to work better.

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What Men Need To Know

Semen analysis with a urologist or fertility center is a critical step in the work-up for infertility. Semen needs to be collected at least 3 months following any stressful events or illnesses, as a fever can impair sperm production for up to 3 months. Drugs, even pharmaceutical ones, and environmental exposures can interfere with viable sperm production: alcohol, marijuana, cigarettes, heroin, cocaine, antibiotics, antacids, antidepressants, gout and blood pressure medications, heavy metals. Anything that can increase the temperature of sperm should be avoided, such as tight pants, cell phones, laptops. Protein is essential for making sperm, so increasing protein in your diet may help, especially Brazil nuts, walnuts, and almonds which also are rich in selenium, zinc, and copper. Sleep is when you produce your hormones, so getting enough and high quality sleep is a must.


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Processed Meats May Affect Male Fertility

In a study done on 141 men involved in IVF treatment at Massachusetts General Hospital, those who ate a lot of processed meats, such as bacon, sausage, and canned meats, had less success compared to men who ate more unprocessed meats such as poultry. Those who ate the least amount of processed meat, had a 28% higher fertilization rate than those who at the most processed meat. There was no association found between success and total meat consumption. The study does not prove a direct link of processed meat to fertility, but outcome can be explained that those who ate chicken over processed meat may have an overall healthier diet and lifestyle than processed meat-eaters, leading to improved fertility outcomes. I also find this to be the case in practice- that couples overall who avoid all things processed (not just processed meat), such as processed dairy, convenience foods, protein powders, meal replacements, processed cereals, soy products, baked goods, have an easier time at getting pregnant.

The study was led by Dr. Wei Xia, of the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health in Boston, and published Aug 5, 2015, in Fertility & Sterility.

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The Emotional Self of Infertility

This article says it perfectly: “Any woman engaged in the process of infertility can tell you what supplements she is taking, what foods she is eating, the exercise she is and isn’t doing, the things she can lift and the things she can’t lift etc. . . etc. . . but can she tell you how she is looking after herself emotionally in this? Emotional self-care is acknowledged but rarely prioritized in one’s plan.” Here are a few tips:
1) Take a break to listen to your body. Trying for a baby can get all consuming- taking over your life. Try taking your life back before trying again.
2) Talking and acknowledging your feelings is critical for emotional self-care. Sometimes just saying out loud how you feel to someone who you are comfortable with and non-judgemental can somehow reduce the intensity of the feeling.
3) Make a connection. Infertility can become very isolating. Connecting with others either virtually or in person can help with this feeling. Online forums or support groups can provide support and an anonymous sense of community.
4) Relaxation Techniques. Take the opportunity to re-focus on the body or engage in an activity that rejuvenates is so important for our emotional wellbeing.

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Are there careers that are more linked to infertility?

Environmentally related problems could contribute to infertility. Some examples include welding, bakery, working in brick kilns, radiology, flying. In addition, stressful careers can affect hormones, which impact fertility. Or those who have to sit for long periods of time may lead to pelvic stagnation or decrease in pelvic circulation. In my practice, I see many hospital workers, teachers, and those who do shift work.

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The Real Costs of the Infertility Industry

The trend for IVF and other segments of the assisted reproduction industry continues to grow at a fast pace. Some analysts say the infertility industry will be worth US$14 billion in 2020. There are now more than 4,000 clinics world-wide, performing 1.5 million treatments annually. According to the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology, an estimated 350,000 such babies are born each year. A federal report released in 2014, estimates the average cost to be more than $12,000 for each cycle of IVF. Many couples need several cycles in order to produce a child, and some never do. According to the BBC, costs for surrogacy vary from $45,000 for a surrogate in Mexico to $100,000 for a surrogate in the US.

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