Many couples struggle with conception. They want desperately to have a baby and are very aware of the variety of treatments that are available. Equally, they are aware of the time investment, financial cost and too frequent disappointment which takes a toll on them emotionally and financially.
Dr. Mary Lake Polan, chair and professor of the department of obstetrics and gynecology at Stanford University School of Medicine, says one of the most important issues for couples who have decided to start a family is that of optimal fertility health. "Over 15 percent of couples in the US have difficulty conceiving a child," she says. "In about one-third of cases, the male is infertile; in one-third, the female has infertility issues. The balance is due to both male and female infertility and unknown issues."
Conception problems are both multifaceted and often correctable and the most common reason for not being able to conceive may be hormonal or nutritional deficiencies. "Nutritional and lifestyle changes can play a major role in fertility health," says Dr. Polan. "Smoking, caffeine, drug use, alcohol consumption, inadequate or ill diet and stress may all impact fertility. Reproductive organs are highly susceptible to free radical or oxidative damage from environmental toxicants and natural aging. We've known for years that good nutrition is a prerequisite for getting pregnant."
The traditional methods used to address conception issues and infertility problems include IVF (in vitro fertilization), fertility drugs and hormone injections. While they have had a measure of success, these methods are no longer the only treatments or options available to increase the chances of conception.
There are many benefits to using organic supplements for conception, according to Alana Sugar, a nutritional consultant for Whole Foods Market in Alexandria, Va. Some of the effects of a hormone and antibiotic packed diet can be reversed with organic supplements. The presence of drug resistant bacteria in humans is encouraged by the overuse of antibiotics in raising meat animals. By including an organic supplement in the daily diet, a wide variety of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and fibers which are important for both mother and baby are made available. Processed and packaged food can be balanced to some degree and the effects of preservatives, chemicals and artificial sweeteners and colors can be counter-effected by organic supplements as well.
Dr. Lynn Westphal of the Stanford University School of Medicine agrees that nutritional supplementation may provide an alternative or complement to conventional fertility treatments. "It is well established in the literature that a healthy lifestyle is important in optimizing one's reproductive health. Vitamins, minerals and specific cofactors play a major role in fertility function," she says. "Good nutrition is a prerequisite for fertility and childbearing and is particularly important for those deciding to become pregnant at a more advanced age."
"The role of nutritional supplementation in fertility health is an extremely important area of research", says Dr. Westphal. "We are just beginning to scratch the surface."