Updated: Nov 14
Firstly, it IS a 2 way thing. Women are often the one's who get tarred with the 'infertility' brush, but in fact male infertility accounts for 40-50% of problems with conceiving.
Infertility generally means inability to conceive after one year of trying naturally. The most common reasons are:
Ovulatory failure eg. PCOS where the body is not ovulating and producing eggs - 20%
Fallopian tube damage eg. blocked Fallopian tube - 15%
Endometriosis - 5%
Male infertility eg. low sperm count or poor sperm morphology - 26%
Unexplained - 30%
Now, all of these reasons can be helped nutritionally. Yes, even unexplained infertility! Unexplained infertility can very often be the result of general poor health, diet and lifestyle. By digging a little deeper to understand other contributing factors, it is usually very easy to rectify:
Lifestyle factors including smoking, lack of exercise, poor sleep, high alcohol and caffeine intake
Stress, both emotional and physical
An unhealthy body means that the egg and sperm cannot mature properly and will not be fit to reproduce. It can also be viewed as an survival technique of the body, indicating that the body is not in a state that will support pregnancy.
So what are the main culprits?
..and MEN take note! These culprits affect sperm as much as they do the egg.
1. Poor Nutrition
Not eating your fruit and veg? Getting less than your recommended 2-3 fruits and 7-8 vegetables a day means the body may be nutrient deficient and cannot produce a healthy sperm or egg. If you're not eating enough fruit and vegetables, it is also likely you are then eating processed foods high in sugar, sweeteners, additives and saturated fat, which also does not produce healthy sperm of eggs. This point is huge!
Further to increase in fruit and vegetable intake is the need to eat oily fish - salmon, mackerel, anchovies, herring, sardines - for those great Omega 3's. Reduction in meat and animal dairy is also advised.
Last point on diet is the need for VARIETY! Yes, eating 30 different types of fruit and veg per week provides a wide spectrum of nutrients but also higher level of antioxidants which will minimise any damage to the reproductive cells.
Did you know that 1 glass a week of alcohol can decrease your chance of fertility by 50%?
Just one cup a day of caffeine decreases fertility and can cause abnormal sperm growth.
It can decrease sperm count in men and is linked with infertility in women. It simply puts unnecessary toxins in the body, providing a greater burden.
5. Drug use
It can increase chances of miscarriage and affect sperm structure and function, especially marijuana.
6. Heavy metal exposure
Often a result from working with chemicals or living near industrial factories. But on a smaller scale, harsh chemicals included in regular household cleaners, soaps, shampoos and make-up have been linked with infertility (common offenders include parabens, mineral oils and petroleums). Like your food choices, opt for organic, natural solutions.
Want to know what you can do to improve your chances of fertility? Book your free consultation with us today.
Registered Nutritional Therapist
Kelly is a Registered Nutritional Therapist who focuses on positive physical and mental wellbeing, achieved through diet, lifestyle, sleep and exercise. Having struggled for years with IBS and hormonal imbalance, and increasingly frustrated with the lack of support and helpful advice from her GP, Kelly began her own journey of healing the body from the inside out. After seeing huge improvements she quit her job to study nutrition and focus on harnessing the healing powers of food to help other people in similar situations.