The most efficient way to conceive a baby is to identify the most common causes of infertility and to minimize or remove them from your life. In some cases, the solutions are simple and painless. Other times, the problem has infiltrated every aspect of our existence, making limiting its influence difficult at best.
Modern life has many advantages over that of our ancestors. Antibiotics, computers and access to fresh foods year round have made life easier for many people. Unfortunately, nothing is without a cost. We have been contaminating our bodies with many different substances. These harmful substances are some of the leading causes of infertility.
Two Toxins That We Often Choose To Be Exposed To
Coffee is generally perceived as harmless, however the results of the studies are inconclusive. Women’s fertility will not be affected adversely if the consumption is limited to under 300 mg of caffeine per day, equivalent to two or three cups of coffee. Another study showed that the risk of infertility did go up with each cup of coffee consumed, starting right away with the first cup.
Studies on men’s fertility were equally confounding. One study showed lowered sperm count, reduced motility and abnormalities were more of a problem depending on how many of cups were consumed per day. Another found that coffee increased sperm motility. Should coffee be on the list of causes of infertility?
Even though social alcohol consumption is considered safe, studies show that moderate use (defined by 5 or fewer alcoholic drinks per week) have a negative effect on women’s fertility. For men, moderate alcohol consumption has been determined to have no effect on their sperm, however, binge drinking (5 or more drinks per day) can cause low sperm count, abnormalities and low sex drive.
Two Common Environmental Toxins
Mercury is released into the environment when coal or hazardous wastes are burned. This often ends up in the ocean, where seafood ingests it. Seafood from polluted waters is the most common source of mercury found in humans. It is also used in “silver” or amalgam dental fillings. Other sources of mercury are old fashioned thermometers and some light bulbs. At any point, if mercury is accidentally spilled or released into the air, the fumes can be inhaled.
Mercury is one of the leading causes of infertility today in both men and women. It rarely is a large amount at once, but instead is a gradual accumulation over years of dental fillings, the environmental pollution and contamination in food. Women’s reactions tend to involve hormonal imbalances that prevent conception. Men react to mercury poisoning with poor sperm motility.
Electromagnetic (EM) radiation is a relatively new concern. Many devices release this, making it extremely difficult to avoid. Computers, cell phones, refrigerators, microwaves and vacuum cleaners are only a few of the machines around us that give off this energy.
Carrying a cell phone in the front pocket of a man’s pants has been shown to lower cell count, decrease motility and viability and to increase the number of abnormal sperm cells. Women’s fertility may also be affected by EM radiation. One studies suggested that EM radiation can prevent fertilized eggs from developing. However, current research is not conclusive about whether devices giving off EM radiation should be considered causes of infertility in women.
What Can You Do To Avoid Exposure?
It is clear that there is only so much a couple can do in order to avoid these contaminants and causes of infertility while trying to conceive. Here are a few tips to help minimize your exposure:
1. Some of the chemicals in brewed coffee are from the filters, rather than from the coffee beans. Switching to a French press pot, cold press system or using cloth or gold reusable filters eliminate those chemicals. Choosing organically or sustainably grown coffee will also reduce the chemical intake. Some people choose to eliminate coffee altogether. Green tea is a delicious alternative with a moderate amount of caffeine and a healthy dose of antioxidants.
2. Choose nonalcoholic beverages when socializing. There are now several alcohol free beer options that taste very close to the real thing. Cooking with alcohol will generally remove most of the alcoholic content, so that is still safe.
3. Mercury is the hardest of the causes of infertility to remove from your environment. Speak to your naturopath about your options to help flush it from your body. Beyond that, make sure to get mercury free fillings. Avoiding light bulbs and thermometers with mercury is a good idea as well.
4. Keep your cell phone in a purse or briefcase, rather than in your pants or shirt pocket. Rather than holding it to your ear, consider investing in a wired headset. Additionally, position household appliances so that the back, where the majority of the EM radiation is released, is facing the wall, rather than somewhere that people congregate. Consider using Ethernet cables to set up a computer network, rather than relying on a wireless router. Minimize use of wireless remote controllers for video game consoles.
It’s impossible to eliminate all of the causes of infertility from your life, but with some care, you can reduce the load substantially. Each family needs to examine their lifestyle and decide for themselves what they are willing and able to give up.
Iva Keene is co-founder and director of Natural-Fertility-Prescription.com. She has been a qualified, accredited Naturopathic Physician for over 13 years, holds a Bachelor's degree in Health Science and a Masters degree in Reproductive Medicine. Since founding NFP in 2008, Iva's articles, videos, guides and reports have reached over 1.3 million people. Iva has dedicated her professional life to supporting couples on their path to parenthood with scientifically grounded information, protocols and coaching around preconception care, natural infertility treatments and integrative reproductive health.