Monday, January 07, 2013

Unexplained Infertility: Is Normal Really Enough?

Time and time again I see patients who have been told there is nothing wrong with them and they don't know why its not happening. Or sometimes they simply say it must be your eggs without any proof there is any issue. Or just because they are over 35 they are told their eggs are too old. Some issues with the semen analysis are often overlooked if everything is normal. Well, watch my video below to understand that "normal" may not be good enough for you to become pregnant and what to do about it.

Friday, November 09, 2012

Is Fertility Decreasing?

The media is full of stories about fertility these days.  One recent headline I saw was how fertility is decreasing around the world.  Is it really decreasing like they are saying in the media?

If you look at the actual statistics based on what the governments publish around the world overall baby rates appear to be decreasing.  However this decrease is mostly due to a decrease in teen pregnancy rates in some countries and a decrease in the 20-24 year old age bracket.

Let's see what the other age brackets are doing;
25-29 (staying the same)
30-34 (slight increase or staying the same in some countries)
35-39 (increasing in most countries and has been for more than 5 years in many)
40-44 year olds (increasing and in some cases have tripled since the 90's)

So the media looks for the best way they think they can grab your attention with fear based headlines and then spin a story to get you to keep reading.  But the truth of the matter is, and I have said this many times over the years, the media does not always represent the truth.  The truth often does not sell papers if it's not sensational enough.  In other words be careful about what you read or hear in the media.

Even with the ads about IVF clinics, doctors, any health care professionals and this also includes supplements as well, one must not get caught up in the hype.  Because who is writing this info for ads?  A hired ad person is running the ads and their job is not necessarily to tell the truth, but to put an attention grabbing spin on the information presented to them to make you seek out the product or service of the company they have been hired to write the ad for.

So I guess what I am trying to say is that you are constantly bombarded with fear based or even guilt based advertising to get you to take action.  Therefore these days it is a persons own responsibility to assess the information heard in the media that causes concern, with a reputable source who can help discern what is true for YOU, i.e. for your particular situation.

Take a moment to ask yourself this about the choices that you have made regarding your fertility.  Have I been making decisions based on fear (much of which is based on what may not be true) or based on what makes most sense to me with the experience that I have had and the information that I have gathered from sources that I trust.

I see so many patients fearful of missing out that they don't give their bodies time to prepare even though that is exactly what has worked for thousands of couples before them.  And by doing this they are creating the very thing they are trying to avoid.  Preparation over time contributes to improvement over time and many times increases your chances of creating a viable pregnancy.

But I don't have time, I hear you say.  That belief may be based on your AMH, FSH, age, etc but AMH for example and your fertility is based on theory not fact (there hasn't been a 25 year study looking at womens' AMH over time and how many children they had during that time).  What about my age?  I was told I am running out of eggs or they are not good quality.

Honestly at this point most clinics have no good way of knowing whether your eggs are good quality or not.  Ask your doctor whether they can identify whether an egg has chromosomal issues (or sp for that matter) just by looking at it under the microscopes they typically use in their clinic.

And even if they look as though they are poor quality, that quality may be influenced by the medication they are using to increase the eggs rate of growth and/or stop the egg from getting reabsorbed back into the body like most of the eggs you make do each month if they weren't mature enough to be released.

Time and time again these paramters that you base your decisions on are proven to be inconsistent in determining your results. Yet it's the fear based on the beliefs you have decided to take on from other sources that motivates you to act.  Think about it.  Were you always fearful of NOT becoming pregnant?  Probably not.  Many ppl spend time fearing the opposite or not having any fear because they were on the pill.  So somewhere along the line you create the fear based on your experiences and you reinforced beliefs about yourself that other ppl told you, such as I am infertile.  But like I say on my How to Get Off the Emotional Roller Coaster CD, if you are producing eggs and have a uterus and he is producing sp, you are not infertile, just maybe a bit challenged in the fertility department.

Also remember that so many ppl believe that women are born with x number of eggs and run out of them even though this is being shown not to be true by the work of Dr. Jonathon Tilly

So now and in the future, I encourage you to step back from the fear and make your decisions based on what makes most sense to you.  See through the hype of the media or the negative beliefs of others and focus on finding out what you really truly feel congruent about and allow these thoughts and beliefs to guide you to your next step on this often challenging journey.  Do whatever you can to help you create balance in your life and nurture your body and mind to allow yourself hopefully someday soon, to nurture the little life that you long for.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

worried about running out of egg? running out of time?

I read the answers on our health questionaires that are sent in and from those in clinic, one issue always seems to jump out at me. Because of the difficulty and emotional stress that comes hand in hand with fertility, society and the media's way of dealing with fertility issues, the misinformation about AMH levels (see my blog as well as the disempowering attitude of some medical professionals and unfortunately at times, relatives, friends and even strangers, many people that come to see me are either so worried that time is running out (even some of the 20 year olds that I deal with!) or they have decided at some level that they can't have a baby.  

 In this issue I will discuss the "time is running out" issue. When a person takes on this belief and it comes up for them often, it can work directly against the enhancement of their fertility. Some people think I am crazy when I say this. 

How can thoughts effect your fertility? 

Well if you look at the simple example of butterflies in the stomach, it may help you understand.

What causes butterflies in the stomach? Is it something you eat? Of course not. When you experience butterflies in the stomach it is because of the thoughts you are thinking at the time which are based on what you are perceiving is happening right now or what you are imagining will happen in the future. 

Thoughts associated with anxiety, fear, anger, sadness or guilt create physiological reactions in the system. 
These types of thoughts can throw your body into "stress mode". When the body is dealing with consistent overwhelming stress over time, reproduction may go to the back burner and does not become the body's main focus. 

The body's primary issue is to address the stress right now. 

Progesterone can be converted into cortisol to help the body cope with the increased demands of the stress hormone cortisol and in some women this depletes progesterone available for fertility. 
Remember, that the old belief that "time is running out", i.e. "I am running out of eggs" is not necessarily true. Several Harvard studies since 2004 have found that females may be able to regenerate their eggs each month. Just recently stem cells in the ovary have been discovered like the stems cells in the Test**icle that produce the sp.  

 As a matter of fact, as humans each day we regenerate over billions of cells. Old cells die off and are replaced by new cells. You lose and replace 600,000 skin cells per day! In a book called The Mind and The Brain, there is even evidence through new types of imaging that brain cells regenerate which was often thought not to be true. Science used to think that the brain didn't change that much after you were approximately 6 years old. Now recent imaging techniques show that the teen brain totally morphs itself, pruning different areas of the brain and going through a major renovation from 12 yo to the early 20's. (Explains a lot about adolescent behaviour, hey!!) 

 The point is though that science is constantly showing that the world is not flat and that new discoveries are happening all the time. As a matter of fact the Harvard scientists that did the study on mice and now human ovaries said that it was kind of naive of scientists to believe that only one kind of cell in the human body, exclusively to females (because sperm regenerates constantly as well), would be different than the other types of cells in our body that regenerate.  

 It is already common knowledge that the egg starts out as an immature follicle and goes through a maturation process from the time that the ovary picks up a follicle and begins ripening the immature oocyte (egg cell). This oocyte is surrounded by follicular fluid and its development is related to the substances in this fluid including but not limited to nutrients such as antioxidants and minerals, etc and the hormone production of the body. Then it is the oocyte that has gone through the maturation process that is released as an egg at ovulation.  

Now it has not been shown definitively in the human female what happens for sure with the eggs. But what if it is true? What if egs could be regenerated just like the sp**erm? The fact remains that there is this possibility, so the belief that time is running out can be false and improving your health and balancing your hormones can actually improve your chances to conceive. This is what our natural treatment is based on. 

 So the next time you hear yourself saying "Time is running out" to yourself or from one of your well meaning relatives over dinner it is your responsibility to stop those thoughts going through your head and tell yourself that "I am doing everything I possibly can to become pregnant". Take a deep breath and if you are taking steps to optimise your health and your fertility like eating healthily, minimising toxins in your daily life, exercising, having the best supplements for your situation and addressing the often overlooked stress management, know that you are doing everything you can to improve your fertility.  

Another excellent resource about how your thoughts affect your body is the movie, "What the Bleep Do We Know". You can find this at your local movie rental store. And one other resource to consider is . 

This is an excellent resource to keep you focused on the possibilities instead of perceived limitations that may not be true.
Creation story:
Last week, we had some very touching creation stories. One involved a woman who had previously been to one of our FMFB workshops. 

She has come back for number two because after the first workshop she became pregnant in her next IVF cycle. She was 37. At first she was told that it would not happen due to her age and now she cannot believe she is trying for her second. The emotional aspect of dealing was fertility issues should not be overlooked. Reach out and find support to manage your stress better which in turn may help you create the life that you long for.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Is your body too acidic to conceive? pH Balance and Your fertiltiy

Over the years I have thought about writing about how the acid and alkaline balance or pH balance in your system may impact your fertility but there haven't been actual studies on this topic so I was always a bit apprehensive.

But after seeing some of my patients adopt these principles over the years and subsequently become pregnant I thought, "why not?"  The worst thing that can happen is you become healthier and the best thing of course is you become pregnant!

I have to admit there is some logical basis to the concept of regulating your pH balance to support your fertility.  The body does naturally change the cervical mucous pH through the cycle to become more sperm friendly leading up to and at ovulation.

ph Balance is important for overall health.  Keeping the body more alkaline than acidic has been purported to improve health.  One strong finding in a petri dish that hasn't been formally tested yet in humans and published is that cancer cells tended to grow in a more acidic than alkaline environment.

Our Westernised diets of meats, white flour products, sugar, sweeteners, dairy, multiple coffees and black teas (often times with sugar and dairy), pastas, trans fats, and food additives found in most convenience foods contribute to making our body much more acidic than it should be.  Overgrowths of bacteria, yeast, fungus and all sorts of little organisms that can be quite annoying to us (think itchy or tinea, thrush, etc) can thrive in an acidic environment.

Symptoms of excess acidity levels can be
heartburn (this can be low acid in the stomach as well as high acid)
reactions to jewelry, dark marks on the skin when wearing jewelry
chronic muscle pain and/or joint pain
mouth ulcers or other ulcers
skin redness or rashes
strong smelling urine (discuss with health care professional as this can be related to many things)
if a man's semen is too acidic the female may experience a burning or stinging after ejaculation

How to know if you are too acidic.  You can test your urine or saliva's pH balance using ph Balance strips similar to ones you might find at the pool shop.  Or your health food shop may carry a ph Balance
testing kit.

In the morning we are naturally more acidic with our urine measuring approximately 6.8 and by mid afternoon a more alkaline reading of 7.2 can be desireable.

How to decrease your acidity if its too high (the more acidic a substance is the lower the pH)

-decrease red meat to only occasionally but some may need to remove all together.  If you have red meat make sure its grass fed to increase the % of good fats that you are exposed to in the meats.

-lots of water:  Attempt to have atleast 2 litres of filtered water per day.  And check your tap water
as a few of my patients after having the council check their water found that it was more acidic than what it was supposed to be.

- start your morning with a glass of water with lemon or a table spoon of vinegar before brky.  Both are acidic foods but actually help the body become more alkaline.  Vinegar can assist in optimising blood sugar levels.

-Remove all sodas, soft drinks and energy drinks

- Eliminate coffee if very acidic or limit to only one cup of black coffee per day.  Black tea (even with milk its more acidic) can be acidic so should be limited to no more than 2 cups a day.  Green tea
2-3 cups a day and lots of herbals teas

- Veggies and Salads have a great alkalising effect on the system

- Get your Greens.  I love two products for this 1)  Barley Life (superior to other barley products as it grown organically and it removes the undigestied cellulose which is the grainy texture that most
other barley products leave in and therefore you get less Barley and more undigestable material.
2) Leaf Greens which is a beautiful product containing spinach, barley, peas, and beans.

If you are interested you can order these for the WHOLESALE price in either powder or capsules and save $$  Email me at if you are interested in either of those.

Hope that helps!!

Stacey the babymaker Roberts
fb baby maker

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Regular Fish oil or Krill?

Everyone is asking me if they should change over to krill oil due to all the latest advertisements on television and on the radio saying krill is better and you don't have to take as many etc, etc.  

First lets take a step back and remember why fish oil is important in the first place.  
One: it may optimise the health of the egg.  THe outer layer of the egg is made from fat so if we are low in essential fats like omega 3 this could impact the egg and the sp ability to fertilise the egg.  THe outer shell of the egg can become hard when you are deficient in essentials fats.  

Male fertility:  High levels of abnormal forms of sp have been shown to improve with increased essentials fatty acids like in the omega 3.  

We tend to be deficient in omega 3 in our diets and get too much omega 6, our body makes omega 9 so we don't have to supplement omega 9.  

So by taking fish oil the idea is to increase the omega 3 essential fatty acids which consist of dha and epa.  Your fish oil should be good quality, i.e either go thru a process that removes toxins such as mercury as much as possible or uses fish that don't contain those toxins in the first place.  Saying a supplement is mercury tested is not good enough, it must be purified or shown to not have contained the toxins in the first place.

Krills advantage is two fold.  Nonexistent mercury (krill are so small they don't tend to contain the mercury other larger fish do) and high antioxidant content particularly from an antioxidant called as astaxanthin which is great for overall health (can help fight wrinkles supposedly as well) BUT and this is a big BUT...krill oil or atleast the ones I have seen have very very low amounts of the omega 3 which is the important bit that most of us need. Omega 3 has been shown to be correlated with immproved moods, improved joint health, better skin, less dryness of the eyes, improving cholesterol balance, thats just to name a few.

Therefore my conclusion is krill is NOT a replacement for your good quality fish oils that have optimal amounts of omega 3 epa and dha but it certainly can compliment the fish oil and add more antioxidants into your system which has been shown to be correlated with better egg health and sp health.  

For specific recommendations of what fish oils we recommend pls email and let me know what country you are in.

Here is a quick little email from one of our subscribers which is our creation story of the week.
I am 39 years old and I purchased one of your ebooks. (I am thinking it was recurrent miscarriage ebook due to her history)  I followed all the steps in it and am now 26 weeks pregnant after having had 3 miscarriages.  Thank you for everything and keep doing the good work that you do.
I hope that some day if I haven't already gotten one from you, that you send your creation story in.  This doesn't always mean becoming pregnant and having a baby either.  We have women talking about creating a newer fuller life after seeing us to recover from a long bout with fertility issues.  We at Sharkeys aren't just about helping you get pregnant, although obviously that is our hope for you, but we also strive to help you become healthier and therefore live fuller richer lives. So if you know anyone out there that has been tossed around from dealing with fertility issues and just needs to get their life back, feel free to let them know about us and our services.

wish you a wonderful weekend ahead.

all the best

Stacey the babymaker ROberts BSPT, QHerbalist, Naturopath
facebook Baby maker

Sunday, September 02, 2012

AMH Antimullerian Hormone Unreliable

If you have been on my list then you know what I think of AMH levels.  Despite what you hear or have heard they are extremely inaccurate at determining your fertility.  They have nothing to do with your supposed egg count and can improve based on what we have seen in our clinic.

However a new study has just shed more light on to why AMH levels are truly only a representation of the acronym for FEAR, i.e. False Evidence Appearing Real.

It has been shown that two common tests for AMH are actually inaccurate and it is being recommended that AMH is NOT a good test to use in the clinic to determine a patients fertility potential.  Here is the link if you want to see for yourself.

Lately I have seen doctors rushing patients into procedures based solely on low AMH levels saying they are out of time and every month they waste could be detrimental to their fertility. Since the only data that is consistent regarding AMH level being low is that you are less likely to respond to IVF meds and when AMH levels are significantly low you may not respond at all, I have a hard time supporting this recommendation.  Wouldn’t it make sense to help the patient prepare for a procedure to attempt to help them respond better than to start something straight away where they have such a minimal chance of it working?  One of my patients said it best when she said, “sometimes medical sense is very different from common sense”. 

I strongly recommend that if your AMH levels are out of the normal range which by the way is NOT adjusted for what is normal in your age category, then you take your blood tests to someone that can help you interpret them to see if they are optimal based on their fertility population of patients.  We have been looking at optimal levels based on our patients for the last 7 years. And have them work with you to prepare you for a procedure and optimise your chances of becoming pregnant naturally as well.

A recent patient did just that.  Her AMH was 1.3 and at 33 the doctors told her she was on the verge of menopause.  She didn’t feel her body was ready to deal with IVF at this point. After just a few months which is even quick on our program she was pregnant naturally.

I hope you spread the word about the unreliability of AMH to your friends on your forums, and even to your doctor by showing them this study because it is time that FEAR (false evidence appearing real) is not used to encourage people to make decisions that they otherwise wouldn’t make had they had all the relevant information to make that decision. 

Thursday, July 05, 2012

Triple Your Chances to Have a Baby

A study out of  Harvard in the USA showed how good fats in the eating plan appeared to improve IVF live births.  Women who ate the most healthy fats in their eating plan tripled their chances of having a live birth through IVF.  Women who had the most dairy and meat products in their eating plan tended not to have the best results.

Therefore decreasing dairy and meat to 5% of your eating plan and having a good balance of vegetable protein, low glycemic carbohydrates and lots of good fats from avocados, unheated olive oil, rice bran oil, raw nuts and seeds can improve your situation significantly.   Remember to stay away from rancid trans fat in fried foods, hydrogenated and partially hydrogenated foods, margarine, processed foods out of a box.