Roughly one in six couples in Canada has difficulty conceiving. According to estimates, up to 16% of heterosexual couples (where the woman is aged 18 to 44) are experiencing infertility – nearly double since the last time infertility was measured in the nation in 1992. Fertility declines with age, and with women choosing to have children later in life, it is not surprising that the incidence of infertility may be higher. Yet, infertility in younger women has also increased dramatically.
Researchers didn’t set out to discover why the numbers are increasing; however, possible explanations range from the growing number of women who are pushing back pregnancy to later in life, to rising rates of obesity and heavy drinking among women, to declining sperm counts in men – though experts aren’t convinced about that final factor.
Throughout my 10 years of practice, I’ve seen a significant rise in the incidents of people seeking naturopathic care for infertility and the use of reproductive technologies. Although it is concerning how many young women are now in need of these services, it is encouraging to see reproductive endocrinologists referring patients for acupuncture and supporting naturopathic options. Studies have shown that acupuncture in conjunction with in-vitro fertilization can increase the incident of conception 26-40% more than in-vitro alone. Aside from increasing the conception rate, acupuncture is also commonly used to reduce the incident of miscarriage.
From a naturopathic perspective, optimizing fertility requires optimizing health in both partners. The goal is to bring them to a balanced state of health through nutrition, acupuncture, herbal medicine, and lifestyle optimization in order to minimize stress.
An unhealthy diet can lead to several hormonal imbalances, as well as weight gain and increasing inflammation – all factors that impact conception rate. Herbs in infertility care can help to reduce stress, support hormonal imbalances, and help increase sperm production and egg quality.
If you feel naturopathic medicine would be beneficial to your fertility treatment, feel free to contact our Oakville clinic to book an appointment. We can discuss the treatment options mentioned above and cater them to your current needs and situation.