According to a study published in the Japanese Medical Association Journal, underlying factors of infertility are psychological factors related to the current stress of modern-day society, an increasing numbers of patients with polycystic ovary syndrome, endometriosis, or uterine myoma, weight abnormalities, such as obesity and underweight, and an age related decrease in reproductive function. Eighty to 90% of these factors contributing to infertility are derived from personal lifestyle and are considered to be preventable.

In Australia, 1 in 6 couples are infertile, 1 in 3 women are over the age of 35 years. 40% are female, 40% are male, 10% are combined, and 10% are unexplained.

WHO (World Health Organisation) has changed their reference ranges when it comes to sperm evaluations as you can see in the table below. Is this because sperm quality is decreasing and these are the ranges now considered to be normal? Could this have to do with our lifestyle?

Table 1. Cut-off Values for Semen Parameters as Published in Consecutive WHO Manuals

Semen parameters

WHO 1980

WHO 1987

WHO 1992

WHO 1999

WHO 20101

Volume (mL)

≥ 2

≥ 2

≥ 2

1.5

Sperm concentration (106/mL)

20-200

≥ 20

≥ 20

≥ 20

15

Total sperm concentration (106)

≥ 40

≥ 40

≥ 40

40

Total motility (% motile)

≥ 60

≥ 50

≥ 50

≥ 50

40

Vitality (% alive)

≥ 50

≥ 75

≥ 75

58

Leukocyte count (106/mL)

<4.7

< 1.0

< 1.0

< 1.0

< 1.0

 
If 80 to 90% of these factors come from personal lifestyle, then surely we have a major influence on our fertility. According to the BEACH (Bettering the Evaluation and Care of Health) program the table below shows how infertility is managed in Australia.

Table 2. Management of infertility/subfertility
Management type Female (rate per 100 problems) (n=532) Male (rate per 100 problems) (n=120)
Medications 4.7 10.0
Folic acid 1.7 0.8
Vitamins 0.8 6.7
Clinical treatments 32.9 34.2
Counselling 17.9 20.0
Advice/education 7.9 7.5
Specialist referral 49.8 26.7
Gynaecologist 22.7 N/A
Fertility clinic 9.4 15.0
IVF clinic 7.9 9.2
Imaging 10.5 1.7
Pelvic ultrasound 10.0 n/a
Scrotum ultrasound n/a 1.7
Pathology ordered 88.4 85.0
Hormone assay 32.1 4.2
Sperm count/semen examination N/A 50.0

 
As you can see in the table above, nearly 90% are being investigated through pathology test and nearly 50% are referred to a specialist, such as a fertility clinic, which means straight on to ART (assisted reproductive technology), which includes IVF, IUS, ICSI, etc. It is astounding that only 1.7% of women were prescribed Folic Acid and less than 1% received vitamins.

If lifestyle has such a major influence on fertility, wouldn’t it be logical to change your lifestyle before taking drastic and expensive steps such as IVF?

Kubo H., Epidemiology of infertility and recurrent pregnancy loss in society with fewer children. JMAJ – Japan Medical Association Journal, 2009 Vol. 52 No. 1 pp. 23-28

Carmen Zhang, Christopher Harrison and Helena Britt, Family Medicine Research Centre, University of Sydney, New South Wales. Infertility, Management in Australian General Practice,

World Health Organisation Reference Values for human semen

Evelin work May 10

Evelin Liddell is a Homeopath and Fertility Specialist with over 15 years experience in the natural health field mainly working with women and children.

Evelin has great success and built an excellent reputation with infertility, hormonal problems, glandular fever and children’s health (asthma, colds, tonsillitis, ear infections, fevers, colic, behavioural problems).

Evelin also has a special interest in nutrition and is currently the only metabolic balance® coach in Queensland, Australia. Bracken Ridge Natural Therapies, www.brnt.com.au

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