Natural Fertility Treatments Gaining in Popularity, Expert Weighs in on Alternatives to IVF and other Expensive Treatments

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According to the World Health Organization, roughly one in six couples will struggle with infertility and about 70 percent of them are advised to pursue a course of fertility drugs or invasive procedures such as in vitro-fertilization. Many experts find this percentage to be unnecessarily high and advocate the use of natural methods before resorting to expensive treatment options.

Infertility can increase stress among couples and, unfortunately, often times leads them to prematurely opt for fertility drugs or IVF.

“Many couples struggling to achieve pregnancy may be able to conceive naturally by following some simple guidelines before heading down the difficult path of prescription medications and/or procedures such as IVF or IUI,” said Dr. Amos Grunebaum, a double board certified OB/GYN based in New York City at one of the country’s top University Medical Centers. “Infertility can increase stress among couples and, unfortunately, often times leads them to prematurely opt for fertility drugs or IVF. In many cases, fertility can be improved and pregnancy can be achieved naturally by following some simple steps.”

Dr. Grunebaum has helped formulate a number of products for Fairhaven Health, a company that provides non-prescription fertility products to help couples conceive naturally. Over the years, Fairhaven Health has collected literally thousands of reviews from customers who struggled with infertility and were able to conceive naturally without resorting to costly and invasive procedures. “While prescription medications and treatments such as IVF are certainly necessary at times, far too many couples are being led down this path prematurely,” says Ethan Lynette, a Partner with Fairhaven Health. “Fortunately, we’re seeing medical professionals becoming more receptive to natural treatment options, particularly when hearing success stories from their own patients.”

Heidi and Jose are one such couple who went through years of stressful infertility testing and negative diagnoses before finally achieving pregnancy with non-prescription fertility supplements. Their experience (see video) is just one of thousands of similar stories from couples who have found success using natural methods.

Dr. Grunebaum has long been an advocate of fertility education with trying-to-conceive couples and suggests following a few simple steps to help improve conception odds:

  •     Pinpoint Your Fertile Window – In order for conception to take place, you must ovulate and at least one vital sperm needs to fertilize the egg within 12-24 hours of the egg being released from the ovary. Because sperm can only live for 5-6 days in the female reproductive tract and only a small number of sperm will even survive the long journey, it is recommended that couples plan to have intercourse several times in the days leading up to ovulation as well as on the day of ovulation. To do this optimally requires that you have a good idea of when you will ovulate each cycle. Ovulation Predictor Kits are a popular method for predicting ovulation. OPKs detect the presence of luteinizing hormone (LH) in your urine. Approximately 12-36 hours before ovulation occurs, the amount of LH in your body “surges”. By testing with OPKs, you can identify this LH surge, which allows you to know that ovulation is just around the corner and that you are in your fertile window. Other popular methods include Basal Body Temperature Charting or the use of electronic Fertility Monitors.
  •     Restore Your Hormonal Balance – If you have irregular periods, your path to parenthood might end up being a long, tiresome journey. For women with chronic irregularity, it is likely that there is an underlying hormonal imbalance that is impacting the frequency of ovulation and/or menstruation. The herb commonly known as Chasteberry (Vitex agnus-castus), included in the fertility-enhancing supplement FertilAid for Women, is frequently used to help women restore hormonal balance and cycle regularity. The active compounds found in Chasteberry help to promote fertility by decreasing prolactin levels in the body.
  •     Check His Swimmers – Did you know that up to 40 percent of males suffer from low sperm count? I’m amazed at how often couples assume the infertility issue is caused by the female partner when nearly half the time it is due to the male. The good news is that sperm health can be greatly enhanced with supplementation of key vitamins, minerals and antioxidants as well as by implementing some healthy lifestyle changes. FertilAid for Men is one such supplement that was clinically shown to improve sperm count and motility. Men can now even test for sperm count in the privacy of their own homes so there is no excuse to not get checked out.
  •     Transform Your Diet – Leave those junk foods on the shelf, and try to incorporate more whole grains, vegetables, colorful fruits (for the antioxidant compounds found in these foods) and lean sources of protein in your diet.
  •     Shed Those Extra Pounds – Your optimal BMI (body mass index) is between 18.5 and 25. A BMI above 25 decreases your chances getting pregnant and increases pregnancy complications. It is best to lose the unwanted pounds before actively trying to conceive, as weight loss causes toxins (that had been stored in your fat cells) to be released into your body. To ensure the healthiest pregnancy possible, you will want to achieve your optimal weight before becoming pregnant.
  •     Quit it – Quit using tobacco and drink alcohol only in moderation.
  •     Exercise But Don’t Overdo It – A healthy lifestyle definitely includes regular exercise, so if you are more couch potato than marathon runner, stepping up your exercise habits will go a long way in improving your overall health and enhancing your fertility.
  •     Chill out – According to many fertility experts, chronic stress can certainly be a fertility buster, as it causes the body to be in “fight or flight” mode constantly, which suppresses reproductive hormones. There are a number of fertility yoga programs available and many have found success with acupuncture or acupressure treatments.

About Dr. Amos Grunebaum
Dr. Amos Grunebaum is double board certified in obstetrics/gynecology and maternal-fetal medicine (high-risk pregnancy). He is recognized as one of New York's foremost Ob/GYNs as evidenced by his regular inclusion in Castle Connolly's "Top Doctors: New York." Dr. Grunebaum is the former director of WebMD's Fertility Center and is one of the Internet's leading authorities on fertility and pregnancy. Dr. Amos' book "Sexually Speaking" which he co-authored with Dr. Ruth Westheimer was published in early 2012. Over his 30+ years as ObGyn in New York, Dr. Grunebaum has delivered more than 3,000 babies and has supervised more than 10,000 deliveries.

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Ethan Lynette
Fairhaven Health
(360) 671-0859
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