what’s your fertility potential? Quiz time.

 

 

image from Clare Metcalf Photography

 

I thought it could be fun (or possibly not so fun but a great way to learn) and help readers explore their fertility potential.  I know before I had my first child, I often wondered if it would be hard for me to conceive – not because I thought I had any obvious issues but because every second person seemed to be presenting with fertility problems.  In my line of work, I mostly see couples having trouble – the ones without any obvious obstacles don't usually come my way, so it's understandable that this attitude began to engrain itself within me.  Fast forward several years and now I can usually sniff out possible fertility problems within a couple of minutes – and so I thought with this knowledge, I'd devise a set of questions to help people learn their own fertility potential.  Obviously it is a rough guide – but it will allow you to gain a greater sense of just how fertile you might be.

Here goes!

 

FEMALE QUESTIONS

How regular is your menstrual cycle?

1.  Every 26 – 30 days    2.  30 – 35 days    3.  35+ days    4. Less than 25 days

Do you experience any PMS? (tender breasts, irritability, emotional upset, pain leading up to the period)

1.  No never    2.  Yes but not every month   3. Every month for a day or two  4.  Yes it lasts for up to a week – it is very bad

Is there any period pain?

1.  No never    2.  Yes but not every month/I don't need to take medication   3. Every month and I need to take pain relief  4.  Yes it lasts for up to a week – it is very bad

How heavy is the period?

1.  Steady flow for at least 3 days (changing tampon or pad every 4 hours)   2.  Heavy initial but tapers off (needing to change pad/tampon more than every 3 hours)  3.  It is quite a light flow (but at least 2 days of bleeding)  4.  I only get one day of bleeding

Do you know when you ovulate?

1.  Yes I can tell very clearly with my cervical mucus   2.  I have a rough idea although I don't fully understand  3.  Yes I have some pain which indicates ovulation  4. No I have no idea or even know if I ovulate

How is your libido

1.  Very healthy – I'm always up for it   2.  Depending on how stressed/tired I am – it's pretty healthy (at least 2 times per week)  3.  Fairly low, I don't 'ask' for it   4.  Low – we confine sex to the 'fertile' days only

How often do you have sex?

1.  Three or more times per week   2. Two times per week  3.  Only in the fertile window   4. Hardly ever

Have you been on the pill or any other form of hormone contraceptive (implanon, IUD, mini pill etc)?

1.  No never   2.  Yes over 1 year ago and I have my period back  3.  Yes, I stopped taking it recently (within 6 months) and have my period back   4.  Yes over 6 months now without a period.

How much alcohol do you consume in a week?

1.  I don't drink   2.  I rarely drink, I'd be lucky to drink 2 glasses a month  3.  1-4 glasses per week   4.  More than 4 drinks per week

How much protein do you eat?

1.  I eat protein at all three meals and snacks where possible   2. Usually only dinner, sometimes lunch time   3. Dinner time only   4.  I am vegetarian

How stressed are you?

1.  I have very minimal stress   2.  I'm slightly stressed   3.  I'm probably stressed more than I realise   4.  I'm extremely stressed

How is your emotional health?

1.  I'm well balanced  2.  I can be slightly emotional  3.  I'm highly emotional   4.  I suffer from anxiety/depression

Are there any issues you know of impacting your fertility?

1.  No, I have no reason to believe so  2.  No but I suspect something might not be right  3. Yes suspected endometrosis/PCOS uncomfirmed  4.  Confirmed by a laparoscopy and diagnosed with PCOS/Endo/Fertility issues

 

MALE QUESTIONS

How is your libido?

1.  Very healthy – I'm always up for it   2.  Depending on how stressed/tired I am – it's pretty healthy (at least 2 times per week)  3.  Fairly low, I don't 'ask' for it   4.  Low – we confine sex to the 'fertile' days only

How often do you have sex?

1.  Three or more times per week   2. Two times per week  3.  Only in the fertile window   4. Hardly ever

Has there been a recent semen analysis?

1.  Yes all clear according to reports    2.  Yes but average result    3. No, but I'm thinking about doing one soon  4. No

How much alcohol do you consume in a week?

1.  I don't drink   2.  I rarely drink, I'd be lucky to drink 2 glasses a month  3.  1-4 glasses per week   4.  more than 4 drinks per week

How much protein do you eat?

1.  I eat protein at all three meals and snacks where possible   2. Usually only dinner, sometimes lunch time   3. Dinner time only   4.  I am vegetarian

How stressed are you?

1.  I have very minimal stress   2.  I'm slightly stressed   3.  I'm probably stressed more than I realise   4.  I'm extremely stressed

How is your emotional health?

1.  I'm well balanced  2.  I can be slightly emotional  3.  I'm highly emotional   4.  I suffer from anxiety/depression

 

How did you score?  Perhaps that's a silly question – you're waiting for me to tell you how you scored.

Mostly 1's and 2's – You are in great health.  Your fertility potential is high, and if you have been having trouble trying to conceive, perhaps it's time to explore naturally why you aren't falling pregnancy – very often in these cases, it's all about the timing, and something you may be miss calculating.  To solve this problem, is simple – lots of regular intimacy is very important to exercise the reproductive organs, increase blood flow to the area to provide plenty of oxygenated goodness to your fertility.  Plus it ensures you are covering all bases – because we very often don't ovulate when we think we are – so by having plenty of regular sex, there is less of a chance that you miss your fertility window.  Perhaps you were almost all 1's and 2's but had a 4 or two in there – the 4's are the numbers you need to look out for – any of these can be the single factor as to why you might have trouble falling pregnant.  Remember, men are 60% of the equation – so their health is just as important (if not more) than their female partners.

Mostly 2's and 3's – Your health is okay but can do with some improvements.  Fertility is average.  Your fertility may be compromised by your general health – since we don't require our reproductive organs to function for us to be alive.  You're body is very clever, it simply 'switches off' the areas it doesn't need when health is average – protecting the vital organs to keep the rest of you functioning.  Are you eating well?  Food provides the foundation not just for your body to work well but for your fertility!  Eating ample protein is vital for reproductive function.  Stress affecting your sleep?  Let's be honest, it affect your entire life.  So if you are scoring in this area, there are some changes that need to be made to boost fertility – this also goes for IVF patients too.  Sort out what makes you stress and implement ways of helping your body cope better – introducing regular exercise, acupuncture, massage and time out are great ways for you to de-stress as we know stress lowers fertility by up to 50%.

Mostly 3's and 4's – Your fertility potential is low.  Any of the 4's alone are reason to be concerned but couple these together and there is definite reason to explore.  Most of the number 4's are pre-cursors for me to explore deeper as to why somebody isn't falling pregnant – very often making simple lifestyle changes will have a massive impact – in some instances this is enough, and in others, more specific treatments are required.  Suffer terrible periods?  It doesn't have to be this way.  PMS, period pain and heavy bleeding aren't normal.  It's your bodies way of telling you something else is up.  Have an extremely light period or very long cycle?  Maybe ovulation is being compromised.  Whatever the case, it's important you find somebody who knows how to look deep enough to find out exactly what is going on.  

Undoubtably this information might raise questions for you – which I am only every too happy to answer.  Should you have an inquiry, don't hesitate to email us at the clinic – you might want some simple guidance in the right direction to explore your fertility.  It can be difficult finding the right person for the job!  Being comfortable and having your fertility explained to you in depth is just so important to help you take charge of your own health rather than relying on somebody else telling you what is wrong.  Of course in some instances, you need a specific diagnosis, but once you have found this you can implement appropriate treatments, dietary changes and lifestyle practice that will increase your fertility ten fold.

image here

 

Totally muffed by conflicting fertility information? It seems you’re not the only one. Patients quiz me every day as to what works and why. In a world of information overload, it’s easy to get yourself in a pickle – I mean who really knows what they are on about? And why is it that I’m saying something different to your GP or Fertility Specialist? And how do you keep sane in this world where Dr Google says one thing, your real life doctor another? Gather round my friends – here’s what I reckon…

Your General Practitioner may be doing a stellar job and you are more than happy with his/her advice. Excellent. I’m not here to argue and tell you to go on a path away from that, but what I am here to say is this – don’t get all cross and crazy at your GP when they aren’t answering your fertility questions because first and foremost, your GP is not a fertility specialist.

Unfortunately modern medicine doesn’t have a whole lot to offer on the fertility front pre IVF, and that’s not their (your GP’s) fault. However, Chinese Medicine does fertility very well with it’s ability to scout out the problem and recognise that a one-size-fits-all approach just won’t do. Let’s look at Clomid for example which I’ve talked extensively about here and here. Clomid is the first (and pretty much only) prescribed drug your GP will suggest to treat almost all fertility troubles (see, the one size fits all). There isn’t too much on offer between this and IVF or Intrauterine Insemination (IUI). And whilst there is a chance these methods will work, there is a larger chance that they won’t.

But, if we add a few other natural fertility tricks to the mix – suddenly the chances of conception increase – with or without Clomid. Suddenly it isn’t a one size fits all approach at all, but rather exploring why Clomid was/is necessary (or not necessary) in the first place. Trust me, it works.

Nothing will work better than pumping up your fertility and getting yourself healthy before embarking on the assisted conception route.

Another reason we don’t necessarily walk the same walk, is because many mainstream health professionals are geared at fixing illness – rather than a preventative approach. You might argue that a mammogram is an excellent form of detecting breast cancer – and I can’t disagree. A mammogram will indeed scan and scout out early breast cancer, a gift to many women – but what it doesn’t do is teach you to be pro-active from your early years, living a life that sets you up for better chances of breast cancer not developing at all.

Sure there is no guarantee, and some things are way out of our control, but there are so many things within our control, we need to learn to take the reigns. This pro-active approach means gaining knowledge and gearing toward wellness rather than fixing it once it’s broken. You see, if it never gets ‘broken’ it never needs ‘fixing.’

When we turn this to fertility, we can use the pill as an excellent example. Almost all women prescribed the pill were done so without little explanation of its long-term effects. You may have been lead to believe that it is in fact preventing your endometriosis from worsening and technically ‘protecting’ your fertility. Bottom line is, it isn’t fixing the problem. In fact, once you stop taking it, the issue is there and often ten times worse. Addressing the issue long before it is a huge problem is my approach. It may take a little time but the long term wellness and preservation of fertility far outweighs short-term fixes.

Sometimes we just need to keep it simple. Simple works.

Sadly, we’re living in a world where the rates of infertility continue to escalate, shifting our mindset and seeing us look past the obvious. We can be forgiven for wanting to jump straight in the deep end – why would we want to waste precious time? However, spending quality time and effort on getting the body fertile is crucial in successful pregnancies. As precious as time is, it is never ever wasted when it comes to sweeping out the cobwebs and gearing toward a more fertile you – that’s actually a huge investment not just for your reproductive self but for your entire being.

My outlook on medication may also differ from your GP’s. Absolutely Clomid might gear you toward ovulation, but it will dry out your fertile mucus making it very difficult for the sperm to get to the end destination. Just as the pill can be some women’s saviour, it can also be a curse when it comes to fertility, you might like to read all about that here. I’ve talked plenty on the pill, and infertility – it can have a terrible affect on hormones, implantation, pregnancy, birth right down to the temperament of the baby.

Fortunately, I have a swag full of tricks that can be applied prior to making your precious bundle to prevent the unwanted. Your GP can’t necessarily offer you this because modern medicine simply isn’t geared this way.

There are however, some wonderful things that modern medicine can offer. Many women would not have the opportunity to have children if it wasn’t for the marvel of IVF. The ability to answer questions (via laparoscopys and testing) can provide a wealth of information to me as a practitioner to support a couple and increase fertility.

So how do I know what I’m doing is worth it? The proof is in the pudding. The methods we use in the clinic and those that I talk about in my first upcoming e-book have been tried and tested over almost 10 years – and we now know what works and why. One thing your GP and I will stand together on is that preservation of youth is the key to fertility – and finding exactly what works for each individual is the key to success.