Sunday, November 16, 2008

TEsts for Unexplained and or Male Fertility issues

These simple and easy tests can rule out one issue that may be impacting your fertility.

In the last few weeks I have seen a few men that presented with low count, and issues with motility and morphology. I am always amazed at how many times when these issues come up, there are NO tests done to try to determine what may be causing the issue. I am equally surprised when I hear over and over again that there is an issue with the quantity or quality of the Se**men and sp**erm but medical professionals every thing is fine or perfect when areas are even outside the range that is suggested as Normal on the analysis.

Also in past tips I have talked about how inaccurate some analysis' are when done at a general lab versus a lab at a fertility clinic.
But today I want to discuss an area that the scientific literature supports as an issue for male fertility but again, I hardly see it tested.

The issue is hemachromatosis. This means that ferritin levels (which are the iron stores in our system) are too high. The result of this can be iron deposits in various organ systems in the body, including the reproductive organs. It is also an issue for cardiovascular health as well.

Most menstruating women will not have this issue because of the blood loss each month (however I have seen cases where menstruating women have excessive ferritin levels too so always have iron studies done).

There can be a familial tendency to excessive iron stores in the system so if there is anyone in the family that has had this it is worth getting it tested. The "normal" ranges may vary from lab to lab, but the latest research is showing that levels above 150-200 can be dangerous.

As discussed, this issue, i.e. excessive ferritin may be correlated with male fertility issues, so it is worth having it tested. There are some symptoms associated with this issues besides issues with the sp**erm. They are constantly flushed and reddish face, and aching in the joints of the fingers. If male or female and experiencing these symptoms then hemachromatosis could be an issue for you.

However I have see elevated levels of ferritin when these symptoms are not present. Sometimes this is the case for individuals who have an underlying thyroid issue that has been overlooked.

IN a few other tips, I discussed a test called lipoprotein (a) that can be associated with cardiovascular health as well as less than optimal levels of thyroid hormone, and in a few cases of patients with the hemachromatosis the Lp (a) (lipoprotein a) has been elevated as well. In my opinion these are two important tests to check out if you are dealing with male fertility issues because if elevated they can not only be an explanation for male fertility problems, but they can be addressed and potentially prevent cardiovascular issues such as heart attack or stroke by possibly decreasing these levels and therefore decreasing the risk.

There are a few ways the hemachromatosis can be addressed. One is thru diet:
!) eliminate refined sugars as well as other high glycemic carbohydrates
2) increase healthy fibre in your diet
3) support bowel function with a multistrain probiotic or other bowel support that you can discuss with you naturopath or herbalist.
4) eliminate red meat

1) Avoid any iron supplementation (check supplements, especially any that are supposed to help with energy to make sure there is no iron)
2) take an optimal amount of zinc to help release excess iron in the system. (consult your herbalist or naturopath as to how much zinc is the optimal amount for you)

Giving blood

Giving blood at regular intervals can be ordered by your physician can help decrease the excess levels of ferritin in your system.

Excess iron in the system can create more free radical damage in the body and decrease cellular health, therefore it is important to have an antioxidant rich diet and supplementation program to assist with this issue and optimise your gut health when trying to address this issue.

And remember get your lipoprotein (a) (Lp (a) ) levels checked as well. If you could improve the issue with the **sp**erm and possibly improve your long term health by possibly decreasing heart attack and stroke risk, don't you think it's worth a look?

I hope you have a great week.

All the best

Monday, August 11, 2008

Are Clomid and IUI effective with Unexplained Infertility

The following is an excerpt from an associated press report:

A third of the 580 couples in the study were simply counseled on the need to have regular sex and received no treatment. Another group got clomifene citrate, which stimulates the ovaries to release eggs. It is sold as Clomid, Serophene, and Milophene, among other names.

For the third group, doctors performed artificial insemination, injecting sperm into the womb using a syringe.

Women who were pregnant after six months were then monitored until they gave birth.

In the no treatment group, 32 couples had babies. That compares to 26 babies for the women who took fertility pills and 43 for those who had artificial insemination. Experts said the slight differences were not statistically significant.

"It's not in the realm that you would expect it to be if these interventions were really performing," said Allan Pacey, of the University of Sheffield and secretary of the British Fertility Society. He was not linked to the study.

Still, Pacey said that artificial insemination was still useful in certain situations, such as when donor sperm is used.

Fertility drugs like clomifene have long been shown to work in women who have difficulties ovulating. Side effects include nausea, headaches, and hot flashes. It also increases the chance of having twins.

Stacey's comment
There have been other studies supporting this outcome over the years, especially about Clomid but I keep hearing from patients who are ovulating that the reason the doctor has put them on Clomid is because if the produce 2 eggs they have double the chance of becoming pregnant. Unfortunately this comment by some doctors doesn't seem to be true if there is no ovulation disorder.

WE look at Unexplained Fertility Issues this way, if it's unexplained and there is no baby yet, then the cause has not been found. We oftentimes see couples with male factor infertility be diagnosed as unexplained. This is especially true if the count is above 20million but the sperm quality is low. We also see men and women experiencing insulin resistance being diagnosed as unexplained. Other issues we have seen not addressed in couples diagnosed with unexplained infertility are underlying thyroid issues which can be related to progesterone deficiency,coeliac disease or gluten intolerance, stress i.e. emotional and/or physiological. I realise this last one is difficult to diagnose but more and more is being written about stress and infertility. Prolonged stress can effect progesterone production so it should not be overlooked.

If your situation is "unexplained" you may want to consider our Natural Fertility Solutions ebook, Go from Unexplained to pregnant! this is available at in the books section.

Remember I am not against the use of medications, just the overuse of them. Herbs can work very well together with Clomid and/or to prepare for IUI, or IVF. Meds and herbs, in my opinion, should not be started at the same time because it's important to be able to monitor the changes of one before introducing something new. We do offer a free ebook about
HERBS and IVF (the only comprehensive ebook on the topic)
so if you are interested in how they can be used together, send us an email at or