PAPERBACK BOOKS
MAKING BABIES

  ‘The Must-Have Book for anyone who is considering Treatment options for Reproductive Problems’  

Making Babies is a thorough and comprehensive compilation of up-to-date scientific research, blended with a wealth of informative, practical knowledge, and is packed full of relevant self-help information that has something to suit everyone. 

This book has been combined to offer you a ‘warts and all’ overview of both the medical approach to reproductive dysfunctions and the effective benefits that holistic, natural medicines and conventional, orthodox medicine can have on influencing your reproductive health, general wellbeing and gender selection. 

Making Babies is an easy-to-read guide that covers in-depth descriptions of all the major medical and complementary therapies from acupuncture, diet, clinical nutrition, herbal medicine, homeopathy, medically assisted technology, surgical procedures, IVF, prescription medications and much more. 

This book is essential reading that will assist in preparing and educating you on the various causal factors, medical conditions and all the very latest in treatment protocols. Some of the topics covered include: endometriosis; miscarriage prevention; PCOS; PMS; fibroids; menstrual dysfunction; hormone imbalances; male reproductive disorders; pregnancy support; and fertility boosting techniques.  

Learn of new and traditional methods that are available today that can improve both you and your partner’s pre- and post-conception health care and optimise fertility success.  

Making Babies is an invaluable guide that can assist you to resolve your reproductive problems and help you to manage your way through the complexities of the infertility maze.  

Jason Jackson runs a successful Natural Medicine practice from Brisbane, Australia.  

He has lectured and consulted extensively on numerous health topics throughout Australia and overseas. Mr Jackson specialises in reproductive health and infertility and is recognised as one of Australia’s leading Naturopaths in this area and is an authority in the field of Clinical Nutrition and Herbal Medicine.

Jason has appeared widely in the media and his encyclopaedic knowledge of Alternative and Complementary Medicines has been greatly sought after. 

The phenomenal success of Jason Jackson’s Natural Fertility Programmes has not only helped thousands of couples all over Australia but has reached clients from around the world.

In Store Price: $AU39.95 
Online Price:   $AU38.95

ISBN:  978-1-921406-68-3   
Format: B5 Paperback
Number of pages: 460
Genre: Non Fiction/Reproductive Health



Author: Jason Jackson N.D.
Publisher: Zeus Publications
Date Published: 2009
Language: English

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READ THIS REVIEW:

 
Making Babies: The Definitive Guide to Improving Your fertility and Reproductive Health by Jason Jackson N.D., March 13, 2010
Some books that come to me in the mail don't hold much of a surprise for me. They are just what they seem, at least if you judge the book by it's cover. Making Babies: The Definitive guide to improving Your fertility and Reproductive Health by Jason Jackson N.D. certainly has a lot more to offer then I expected. To start, Jason Jackson runs a successful Natural Medicine practice from Brisbane, Australia. He has lectured and consulted extensively on numerous health topics throughout Australia and overseas. Mr Jackson specializes in reproductive health and infertility and is recognized as one of Australia's leading Naturopaths in this area and is an authority in the field of Clinical Nutrition and Herbal Medicine.

The introduction is what really captured my attention: "Over the thousands of years that humans have been able to reproduce, it has been only the last fifty years or so in the industrialized world, with its nutrient-depleted foods, genetically engineered agriculture, chemical processing, drugs, radiation and pollution, that we are now observing massive impacts on our ability to bear offspring, particularly in affluent Western societies." The last fifty years?

With chapters on Male and Female Reproductive Overviews, Preparing for Conception, Stress and Fertility, and yes, Medically Assisted Reproductive Technology (which is considered 'Plan C') I found that Jason Jackson was very adept at covering everything that one would need to know to do just that, Make Babies.

What I was really happy about were the detailed black and white photos depicting not only the human anatomy but also of fibroids, PCOS, IVF Procedure and quite a few more that add value to each chapter.

I recommend Making Babies The Definitive Guide to Improving Your fertility and Reproductive Health by Jason Jackson N.D. as a guide to your fertility wellness as well as a great infertility resource.

Sharon LaMothe
Infertility Answers, Inc.
http://infertilityanswers.org/

LaMothe Services, LLC
http://lamotheservices.com/
727-458-8333
 

About the Author

 

Jason Jackson N.D. is one of Australia’s leading naturopath experts in reproductive health and infertility. He is recognised as an authority in the fields of nutrition and herbal medicine.

 

Mr Jackson is a graduate of the Australian College of Natural Medicine with further studies at the Queensland Institute of Natural Sciences. He holds Diplomas of Applied Sciences in Naturopathy, Homeopathy, and Herbal Medicine. Jason is a fully accredited and registered member of multiple professional organisations.

 

For over 16 years Mr Jackson has studied and practised Naturopathic Medicine and worked in research and development of natural medicine manufacturing. He has lectured extensively on numerous health topics in Australia and overseas and is a very popular talkback radio host. Jason also appears regularly in the media and contributes articles to respected health and wellbeing magazines and journal publications. 

 

With a broad foundation of clinical experience, Mr Jackson offers a wealth of up-to-date, informative knowledge in all aspects of natural health care, with particular specialisation in fertility and reproductive disorders.

 

Jason Jackson is the Director and chief Naturopath of the Greenslopes Naturopathic Clinic with his team of dedicated Alternative health care professionals. Mr Jackson’s background also involves being in the nursing, sporting and fitness industries.   

 

Consultations – if you would like to have a consultation (either in person or by telephone), then please feel free to phone or e-mail the clinic for appointment reservation; fertility-enhancing natural supplements are also available to order.

 

For more information please contact:

 

Greenslopes Naturopathic Clinic

615A Logan Road, Greenslopes, Queensland, Australia, 4120.

Tel: 61+ (07) 3397 7882 / Fax: (07)3324 0516

Email: jjackson.gnc@bigpond.com

      jason@jacksonhealth.com

Website: www.naturopathic.net.au

       www.jacksonhealth.com.au

Acknowledgements

 

Firstly I would like to thank all of my patients that have honoured me with their continual confidence over the years and have put their faith and trust in my hands to help to care for their health needs and wellbeing. Their encouragement for me to put pen to paper to write this book has been a source of inspiration and has created an everlasting bond between us. To my clinic team of dedicated practitioners, thank you for your support over the years. Special thanks must go to my office managers Erica (Black) French, Colleen Bendl, Kathy Burns and Maria Conias whose assistance has been priceless.

 

Working on the “Making Babies” project has been a true journey of discovery. The blood, sweat and tears that go into this type of venture are both agony and ecstasy at the same time. The effort I feel has been well worth it and I hope that the information I have compiled will also be of benefit to many others.

 

I would like to pay tribute to my colleagues in the natural health and medical industries, particular mention must go to individuals that have been pioneers and mentors of their respective fields who have led by sterling example. The following people have had tremendous influences to my practice and education of healthcare:

 

Glen Gillard (Natural therapist, mentor and Director of NRG), Henry Oseiki (Renowned nutritionist and Director of Bioconcepts), David McCloud (former president of the National Herbalist Association of Australia), Kerry Bone (World renowned Herbalist, Head of research and development for Mediherb, and Principal of the Australian College of Phytotherapy), Francesca Naish (Author on Infertility, Director of the Jocelyn Centre), Janette Roberts (Author and Foresight representative in Australia), Ruth Sharkey (Author and Herbalist), Catherine Chan (Author and Naturopath), Ruth Trickey (Author and Herbalist), Dr Warren De Ambrosis and Colleagues at the Queensland Fertility Group (QFG), Dr Schull and team at Monash IVF, and Professor Robert Jansen (Author, renowned specialist and Director at Sydney IVF).

 

These individuals, whom I greatly admire, have worked tirelessly to forge new pathways of awareness, understanding and treatment of reproductive disorders.  To Ian ‘king of the night’ Maurice, (entertainer, TV and radio personality) I am very grateful for your friendship and allowing me the opportunity to spread the word of natural medicine over the air waves on talkback 4BC radio.

I would like to extend a heartfelt thanks to all who have contributed to the production of “Making Babies” and for their professional, supportive guidance and unwavering belief in this project. To the editors and publisher at Zeus who were also kind when wielding the axe to streamline the content of the book and for their expert help with the final presentation.

 

The ultimate accolade must go to my devoted wife, Nicole, and loving family, Ben, Corey, Amelia, Samuel, Jacob, and extended family members. This book is dedicated to you for providing me with the motivation and determination that drives me day-in-day-out to do the work that I do and for your tolerance that has allowed me to complete this project that I am so passionate about.  This has been a labour of love! 

 

Best wishes and good luck to you all!                                  

 

 

Foreword

 

It is with great pleasure and delight that I present this foreword for this marvellous book researched and written by my friend and colleague, Naturopath and Herbalist extraordinaire, Jason Jackson. He has all the presence of a very ordinary bloke because he is totally down to earth. When you look into his achievements as a profoundly caring and dedicated therapist, you find Jason has pushed himself to develop better protocols for treating many health conditions with such outstanding success that often eludes conventional therapy, especially in the field of infertility.

 

Jason lives up to the basic premise and ethic of a practising natural therapist. Note the symptoms and relieve them as best you can; however, firmly seek out the cause of an illness and devise natural treatments that harness the body’s innate healing force to bring the person being treated to a state of balance where symptoms diminish without force or adding burdens that may be more toxic than the body can handle and have potential to produce ongoing rebound problems and/or permanent harm.

 

In our modern age, especially where those of normal fertility ages are exposed to a myriad of pollutants and stresses that can cause a lowering of health and viable fertility, a solution has to be sought to detoxify and de-stress the body for the hormonal system to restore. Other top natural fertility experts I have met also endorse this principle as they treat the person as a biochemical individual. Most often the herbal formulas and nutritional support are different for every patient.

 

Jason is a master at discerning the individual needs as he combines the principles of Ayurvedic, traditional Chinese and Western herbalism in his special herbal mixtures to bring the hormones and glands back to vital balance. Jason has a phenomenal record for bringing more than five thousand bonny babies to couples (who were told they would have little to no chance of conceiving) since he took up the challenge over twelve years ago to focus his specialty in this field.

 

Reproductive disorders are just one of the areas of health he excels at. He treats citizens of all ages, from newborn babies to the elderly, and he has many elite sportsmen and women under his wing relying on his expertise to stay at their peak.

Jason is often a guest on Queensland evening talk-back radio programmes giving free advice to the many who call in. He has a large family of his own and manages to stay fit and give valuable time to all who seek him out for his encyclopaedic knowledge of health care.

 

I hope that one day the World Health Organisation knocks on his door to find out from him how to stabilise the decline in fertility levels in modern society before we phase ourselves out of existence due to the misguided concepts of having to use chemicals to grow food and stabilise water. We must move to reduce air pollution through reduction of polluting fuels as viable non-polluting options do exist and need to be fostered, not suppressed for the sake of big business. Governments need to put resources behind the growing of organic food so that it is affordable for all who seek it.

 

Remember, to avoid catastrophe we have to treat the cause of disease and if the earth is diseased so does our disease parallel that of the earth.

 

We need many more people in our community with the wisdom and vision of Jason Jackson. I am so glad he can spread the ripple with this excellent and very important book for our current times. Many couples wanting to conceive, whether fertile or experiencing difficulties, will gain much benefit and inspiration from this book.

 

Yours in support of a healthier planet and society,

 

Glen Gillard

 

Clinical Ecologist and Natural Therapist

 

 

“There is only one good, knowledge, and only one evil, ignorance.”

-         Socrates

 

“A man should consider that health is the greatest of human blessings.”

- Hippocrates

 

A true teacher is not the one with the most knowledge but the one who

 causes the most others to have knowledge.”

                                                                              - Neale Donald Walsh

 

Optimism is the faith that leads to acheivement.  Nothing can be done without     hope and confidence.”

                                                                                         - Helen Keller

 

Introduction

 

Over the thousands of years that humans have been able to reproduce, it has only been in the last fifty years or so in the industrialised world, with its nutrient-depleted foods, genetically engineered agriculture, chemical processing, drugs, radiation and pollution, that we are now observing massive impacts on our ability to bear offspring, particularly in affluent Western societies.

 

Male sperm counts alone during this time have decreased by up to fifty percent. Industrialisation, technology and science have brought with them many advances in the way we live today, but this is a double-edged sword; along with the good has also come the bad. Modern living has set in motion a potent chain of events that pervades and moulds our very existence, which we haven’t yet begun to understand and deal with.

 

Most people grow up assuming that one day when they are ready to start a family, it will automatically just happen within a short period of time. We often take our fertility very much for granted, not imagining that it may be a difficult process to conceive a child.

 

Chances are if you have selected this book to read you may be experiencing problems with conception or have had difficulty carrying a baby to term.

 

Perhaps you or your partner have been diagnosed with one of the many reproductive disorders that exist, and already know that conceiving will be a little more complicated for you. By reading this book you will find answers from both aspects of natural and orthodox medicine. From the natural side of things you will discover that by starting a pre-conception care program 3-6 months prior to trying to fall pregnant you will have a very good chance of correcting any imbalances that you may have.

 

For those couples thinking of starting reproductive medical procedures, such as IVF, or have been through several cycles of IVF, using natural therapies as a supportive role while undergoing these procedures would be very beneficial.

 

From the medical side of things, I have discussed all the procedures that are currently available, including all the drugs that are a part of these procedures and the pros and cons of using them.

  

Unfortunately, in this day and age we see more and more couples suffering from infertility. More than one in six couples is classed as infertile. This is a very disturbing number, considering not all couples experiencing infertility will seek medical assistance. We will never really know the exact figures. With that in mind, for those couples out there who may feel too embarrassed, or maybe for financial reasons think that they cannot possibly afford some of the more expensive orthodox medical procedures available, I have listed several things that you can do to increase your fertility without it costing a fortune.

 

When people come to me seeking my help for their infertility, it is usually as a last resort.

 

Couples who have been through several invasive medical procedures and are still unable to conceive, seemingly for no apparent reason, are referred to as ‘unexplained’ infertility; approximately 20 per cent of all infertility comes under this heading.

 

From a natural point of view, when a couple is experiencing infertility for this reason, I generally look thoroughly at their medical history, searching for clues that could have been previously missed. In natural therapies, when the practitioner treats the patient as a whole, by starting from the basics and correcting a person’s health in general, quite often their unexplained infertility is corrected. 

 

In this modern era women are focusing on their careers in their 20s, and leaving motherhood until they reach their 30s, when this is the time that her fertility starts to decline. A female’s fertility is at its peak during her early to late 20s. This is the ideal time for her to start a family. As you are probably aware timing is very important.  It is heart breaking for many couples that have decided to start a family later on in life, when they discover that their fertility has dropped dramatically. Although it may take a little bit longer to conceive when you are in the mid 30s to 40s, over the years I have had great success in helping many couples achieve their dream, when modern medicine has been unsuccessful.

 

You may be wondering what it is that I can do for you that is different from other practitioners. This question is asked frequently by new patients of mine, and it’s a difficult one to answer, as I am not aware of what all naturopaths’ treatment programs consist of.

 

Due to the complexity of infertility, I tend to spend a great deal of time trying to find out the medical history of my patients, therefore enabling me to design and tailor a treatment plan specifically for them. From my experience, having consulted with thousands of couples, it’s not always the most obvious problem that is the actual cause, but rather the less obvious factors that are the ultimate culprit. It’s the little details that can sometimes make the difference!

 

Each patient is unique; even if the medical condition is the same, the herbal formulas and nutritional supplements prescribed are still made differently, as there are many unique and individual factors that need to be taken into consideration. For example, patients presenting with PCOS (Poly Cystic Ovarian Syndrome) can greatly differ from each other. As there are several different levels of the condition, one can often require more or varied adaptation to treatment than another.

The purpose of this book is to help empower and prepare you for your journey in the pursuit of better reproductive health and restoration of fertility.

 

Depending on your particular circumstances and what stage you are at on this journey, having a reliable guide by your side can help answer your questions, regardless of whether you are pursuing pregnancy from a medically assisted program or from using natural therapy as a supportive protocol.

 

The more you know about infertility and the various treatment options that you can resource, the more able you will be to manage it successfully.  

 

Some of the questions that you may have in mind may include:

 

·              What are the causes and conditions that can contribute to infertility?

 

·              What kind of external influences are known to affect fertility?

 

·              Are there alternative/natural therapies I can use that could improve reproductive health? What are they and how do they work?

 

·              What types of medical tests or examinations are there to access and diagnose if I do have a fertility problem?

 

·              If I haven’t been able to fall pregnant naturally, what medical procedures are available that could assist me to conceive?

 

·              Are there things I can do to help prevent miscarriage?

 

·              What kind of nutrients and foods are important to take that could help to improve conception and are beneficial during pregnancy?

 

·              What can I expect to happen if I choose to go ahead with a specific treatment?

 

·              What types of medical drugs do the doctors and IVF specialists use for infertility?

 

·              If I have to use fertility drugs, what are the positive and negative effects of these medications?

 

·              When I fall pregnant what can I do if I develop any other health problems?

 

All of these questions and many more will be answered throughout this book!

The way in which you use this guide may not necessarily be sequential; you may only want to know the basics to gain some general ideas about fertility or you may want more in-depth information for a greater understanding and clarity about fertility.

Depending upon your situation or what level of intervention that you may be contemplating, there are relevant sections suitable which should cover everyone’s requirements. Whether you are just starting out on a fact-finding mission as a part of your preparation, or you are currently having medically assisted procedures, the information in this book may prove to be invaluable to you.

 

Disclaimer – Please note this book is not intended to replace advice from a qualified medical practitioner; however, by reading this book you will be more aware of the options available to you. For those people who combine both natural and orthodox medicine, it is very important to keep your practitioners aware of all medications and supplements that have been prescribed for you.

 

 

Prologue

 

Virtually from childhood we start to rehearse for later life by role-playing mummies and daddies, with the expectation that we will become parents ourselves one day.

 

During our adolescent years when our sexual hormones kick in we become more aware of the fact that boys and girls are definitely made differently, and we become more concerned with the experimental act of reproduction (getting sex), rather than the consequence of the act (getting pregnant), let alone the issues of reproductive health.

 

As adults, we quickly need to find our feet to adapt to life with all the liberties and restrictions that go along with it. For most of us we will begin to formulate our plans for what we want and need in our future. We may wish to work on achieving that dream career in the hope of gaining financial security and personal satisfaction, get that nice house with all the mod-cons and trappings that go with it, or we may wish to travel to broaden our horizons and search for the elusive meaning of life and so on.

 

There may well come a time during our life’s journey that we will all, at the very least, wrestle with the notion or idea that children may become part of our grand plan.

 

At some stage the body’s maternal time clock will start to tick and it is extremely hard not to take notice when it does. For a large majority of women, and the occasional male, we may try to suppress these feelings, possibly for years, until we can’t ignore them anymore and need to fill that void in our lives. Today the choice of whether to have children appears to be continually pushed further down the long list of life’s priorities, until the day when we feel satisfied that the time is right. Now our perspective shifts from avoiding becoming pregnant just yet, to ‘now it’s time for action to start our family!’

 

Certainly we hear about other couples who haven’t been able to have children for one reason or another, but until it strikes us personally we don’t give it much thought. Many couples, when starting down the baby-making road, naturally expect a pregnancy to occur within a short time after they get serious about trying. But if too much time passes by, hope and expectation change to anxiety and doubt. If the problem continues we can begin to feel a sense of frustration, desperation and isolation.

 

The situation isn’t helped by well-meaning friends and relatives with their less-than-subtle hints and reminders about time running out, or your body clock ticking away. Others may question why you would want to mess up your lifestyle by burdening yourselves with raising children, why not just enjoy the finer things in life, isn’t having each other enough?

 

If that’s not enough, everyone around you seems to be proving their fertility by getting pregnant and having babies, which just compounds your sense of inadequacy. Not to mention how difficult it is to keep on smiling, as the hot topic of conversation among your circle of friends revolves around their children.

 

There can be no doubt that infertility causes considerable emotional stress; however, we now know just how much of that very stress is in itself a cause of the infertility. Infertility can become an emotional, physical and financial roller-coaster ride. Failing to conceive a baby can be heartbreaking and devastating. Each monthly cycle becomes an agonising waiting game. With every disappointing attempt hopes and dreams feel like they are slipping through your fingers.

 

Infertility, when it directly affects you personally, can be intensely frustrating because it takes away your sense of control and forces you into a situation of dependency on others for help and support. Just when you thought you were getting your act together, the universe appears to single you out and throws a huge spanner in the works and disrupts your well-laid plans.

 

When one aspect of your life becomes negatively impacted it will naturally affect the others like a falling house if cards. People’s confidence is crushed, decision-making becomes increasingly erratic and feelings of demoralisation and powerlessness are common among many couples.

 

Those who haven’t suffered the anguish of involuntary childlessness cannot begin to comprehend how it can take over your lives. Stuck in limbo, desperate and disillusioned, feeling irrationally responsible for their affliction, blaming themselves for past decisions, lifestyles and health neglect, asking themselves ‘what have we done to deserve this?’

 

During previous generations, conceiving a baby came easily to many couples. One would just have to look at their partner in that ‘special way’ and conception happened. But today, for some couples, climbing Mount Everest appears to be a less daunting task. Life is full of cruel ironies; for the couples that desperately want a family the road to parenthood seems frustratingly bumpy and difficult, while others who may not necessarily have pregnancy in mind, have a quick roll in the hay and fall pregnant.

 

There are many things that can be done, from both natural and orthodox medicine, to help ensure your best chances for success. There are many ways to treat reproductive problems. Natural pre-conception health-care can be very beneficial, not only for you and your partner, but can also greatly influence the odds of having a much happier and healthier baby.

 

Conceptual health-care does not just stop when a positive pregnancy has been diagnosed, but is encouraged to continue to support you throughout the pregnancy, labour and postnatal periods as well. If you are properly prepared, then you will feel more in control over your reproductive destiny!

    

An Action Plan to Prepare Towards Pregnancy

 

The stages of a woman’s reproductive life and what to expect

 

Nowadays we are discovering more and more potential influences that may impact upon our reproductive health, and can prevent the delicate reproductive tissues from correctly functioning, thereby affecting our capacity to conceive. Because of all these compounding internal and external factors, it would seem sensible to take some active measures in the preparation for pregnancy. There are many things that can be done from both the prospective mother’s and father’s points of view to help in minimising potential problems from occurring that may hinder your fertility, or if reproductive problems do arise what positive steps you can take to rectify them.

 

Depending on your respective reproductive age and how long you have been trying to conceive, there are numerous issues to be aware of that may help you to gauge at what stages of your reproductive life you may require certain intervention, to assist with your planning towards a safe and trouble-free pregnancy.

 

This check-list can provide you with a basic guide that may help to clarify and assess if there is any reproductive problem that may require addressing and what you can do to optimise your preparation.  

 

During the early stage of a woman’s reproductive life, say from puberty to the age of 20, normally the follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) and oestrogen hormones are within clinically acceptable ranges. After the onset of puberty the regular pattern of the menstrual cycle may take several years before it falls into place, usually 26 to 31 days between periods.

 

During this early stage it is not uncommon to experience some menstrual irregularities as the body’s hormone feed-back system may not be strong enough to induce ovulation precisely every menstrual cycle. For this reason women who fall into this age group may not be quite as fertile (clinically speaking) as women in the following age group. As pre-conception issues are not as relevant to this group, medical investigations to determine fertility problems are less likely to take place during this stage.

 

The middle stages of a woman’s reproductive life, you could say, are between the ages of 20 to 38 years. Hormonally, oestrogen and FSH levels are usually more stable during this stage. A very small percentage of women experience menopause (or ovarian failure) before age 40; this may be indicated through blood tests that show the premature sustained elevation of FSH.

 

During this reproductive stage, the issues of preparing for conception become much more relevant, and this is the peak age group that woman may seek advice and undergo preliminary investigation, to assess their reproductive health.

 

The majority of woman during this time may have regular gynaecological examinations that include pap smears (high cervical swab), pelvic examinations, blood pressure, breast examinations, blood work to investigate full blood count, hormone function, thyroid function, rubella (German measles), hepatitis and HIV status, urine analysis for glucose and protein. Screenings to rule out sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) such as chlamydia, and other potential reproductive conditions that are more likely to occur during this stage such as: endometriosis, ovarian cysts, tubal blockages, and polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS).

 

Males should also have sperm tests and a physical examination to rule out potential problems that may contribute to infertility such as varicoses (all these conditions and many more will be discussed in-depth in following chapters). The times between 20 to 27 are recognised as the peak female fertile years. From 28 to 35 it is believed to begin to decline slightly, and from 35 onwards fertility starts to drop away more rapidly.

 

The later end of the reproductive stage is around the 38 to 42 age group. This is not to imply you cannot carry a successful pregnancy to term after this age, though statistically speaking the odds are declining more so after this stage. Some women’s FSH levels may have increased marginally at this age and may fluctuate somewhat from month to month.

 

With the increase in FSH, the ovary follicles become less responsible and the viable egg reserves begin to rapidly decline. Oestrogen levels may become slightly more erratic, though not necessarily enough to greatly affect ovulation and menstrual periods, which are usually still fairly accurate. Some women may begin to notice an increase in thrush and bladder infections as the fluctuations of hormones, particularly oestrogen, affect the acidity and elasticity the reproductive tissue.

 

The vaginal area may also become dryer and less lubricated. Because of the slight changes in hormone levels, you may find that you could experience some mood swings and period discomfort. Conditions such as fibroids, breast cysts, altered menstrual bleeding, and increased damage to the eggs can raise the potential incidence of birth defects.

 

This is the most common age group of the couples that I see at my clinic who come for reproductive counselling, most of whom have already been through numerous tests and examinations. If any medical conditions have been identified or diagnosed that may be impeding their fertility and potential to conceive, formal treatment protocols may be recommended (this will be covered in other chapters).

 

If couples have already undertaken medically assisted reproductive procedures such as IVF or ICSI, there is an endless resource of alternative/natural therapies that can be employed to increase the couple’s preconceptual health care to optimise their chances of successful conception, either naturally or supportively, with the various medically assisted approaches. Most of us know of the important role of nutrients such as folic acid in conceptual care. Folic acid indeed has its vital place, but it is only one of many important nutrients required to maximise reproductive and foetal health.

 

The essential information presented throughout the following sections will educate and enlighten you to the importance of finding balance in your nutrition, lifestyle and environment.    

 

Between the ages of 42 to 50 can be classified as the (Climactic) Peri-Menopausal stage. During this time a woman’s FSH levels may dramatically rise and the oestrogen levels dramatically fluctuate and fall. Follicle quantity and quality may also be lowered. The further a woman transitions towards menopause, the less oestrogen and progesterone is released by the follicle. Ovulation during this stage may become increasingly hit-and-miss as hormonal feed-back signalling is less responsive. With the decline in the release of these hormones the uterine lining is lessened also. Because the uterus preparation has diminished it is not uncommon to notice the shortening of the length of time between periods, say, between 24 to 27 days instead of 28 to 31 days. Medically assisted reproductive intervention to pregnancy increases greatly during this stage; progesterone supplementation may be commonly recommended by your doctor to help enhance the uterine lining quality.

 

Other issues that arise during this stage may include: aging eggs that can become increasingly harder to penetrate by the sperm; and adhesion problems to the uterine lining, which also tend to increase. When the eggs reach this point in aging, the embryo quality many not be as good (in comparison with younger eggs) and the incidences of miscarriage may also greatly increase. Other health-related conditions are also more common during pregnancies during this stage. These may include: gestational diabetes; Caesarean births; and elevated blood pressure problems. Genetic counselling with a specialist in the field may help to clarify any concerns you may have regarding genetic or chromosome disorders. Most IVF centres offer PGD or similar testing to identify if genetic problems are likely to be relevant.

 

Menopause and the post-menopause stages normally occur after the 50-plus years. The FSH levels have peaked and stay elevated during these stages. The adrenal glands may still produce a small amount of sex hormones but the ovaries’ production is very insignificant now. The clinical definition of menopause is when a woman has not had a true menstrual period for an entire year. The up-side to menopause is that if you previously suffered from endometriosis, fibroids, and ovarian cysts, they tend to greatly decrease and shrink during this stage.

 

At menopause most women may still have several hundred to thousands of eggs still remaining, but rarely are they viable to fertilise. The transition into menopause for some woman can be a traumatic experience: mood swings; hot flushes; sweating; and libido fluctuations are just some examples of symptoms that are commonly observed.

 

Menopause is not a disease and in the past, it was very much treated as such. There are numerous supportive treatments available through natural and orthodox medicine that can support you through these changes in symptoms so you don’t have to suffer through this change-of-life phase.                      

 

The Basics of Natural Conception

 

The different roles of the man and the woman

 

Short of rehashing the story of the birds and the bees (hopefully that has been explained correctly to you by now), this section will help to set the scene of what is involved during the process of natural conception.

 

It’s the reproductive system that sets the sexes apart. Male and female bodies are built differently, are powered by different hormones and complete vastly different functions. The female sex organs are stimulated to develop when a girl reaches puberty. The ovaries begin production of the hormones oestrogen and progesterone, breasts begin to grow, body hair forms and body shape changes.

 

During child-bearing years, the ovaries are smooth and firm, enabling them to produce the eggs, called ova, and the hormones that nourish a foetus. Every 28 days, hormones from the pituitary gland cause an ovum to leave the ovary and enter the fallopian tubes. If sperm are present, one may bind to the ovum to form a pronucleus.

 

The fallopian tubes are connected to the ovaries and lead to the uterus, a thick-walled pear-shaped organ. At the bottom of the uterus is the cervix, which opens into the vagina. At the opening of the vagina are the vulval region and the clitoris, an organ containing spongy erectile tissue and nerve endings.

The male sex organs comprise the penis, two testes, the prostate gland and the intricate tube system that allows sperm produced in the testes to be ejaculated. During puberty (usually during a boy’s early teens) the brain signals a secretion of hormones to stimulate development of the reproductive system.

 

The testes, walnut-shaped glands within the scrotum, release hormones called androgens, of which the most powerful is testosterone. Testosterone causes the sex organs to grow, and sexual characteristics develop, such as deepening of the voice and the growth of body hair.

 

Stimulated by thought or by touch, arteries in the penis become dilated and fill with blood, leading to an erection. The blood cannot drain away as veins at the base of the penis are closed off by surrounding tissue. When sexual stimulation becomes most intense, sperm and fluid created in the prostate gland and the delicate tube system is ejaculated through the urethra.

 

During sexual intercourse, when the erect penis is inside the vagina, ejaculated sperm swim upward to fertilise the female egg. After ejaculation, the veins in the penis reopen and the blood drains back into the body.

 

Genesis – the Symphony of Life’s Little Miracles

 

It’s the moment when all new life beings are formed. Conception, when a male sperm fertilises a female egg, is usually the result of sexual intercourse between a man and a woman.

 

The exception to this is when science, through in-vitro fertilisation, helps couples who have trouble conceiving. From the time a male reaches puberty until he dies, a man is usually capable of producing sperm that can fertilise an egg. A man’s testes produce millions of sperm daily and a healthy male can deposit 200 to 600 million sperm during one ejaculation.

 

Women are usually capable of conceiving a child from puberty to menopause. A woman is born with a lifetime supply of eggs. One egg or ovum is released each month by one of her two ovaries. Yet the chance of an egg being fertilised naturally by a sperm are many millions to one. Critical to the success of reproduction is the timing of sexual intercourse.

 

Women have an ovulatory or menstrual cycle, made up of complex physiological and biochemical changes. In the first phase of the menstrual cycle a follicle grows in the ovary, while the lining of the uterus builds up to receive a fertilised egg. At mid-cycle, when the egg is ready, the ovary releases the egg. This stage is called ovulation and is the best time to conceive.

 

The egg enters the fallopian tube, where it is caught up in the waving arms of the tiny filaments (fimbriae) that are at the end of the fallopian tube. The fallopian tube internally only has a width similar to that of a bristle of a hair brush. The egg has commenced its journey on its way towards the uterus. If the egg is not fertilised it is flushed from the body when the uterus sheds its lining and a new menstrual cycle begins.

 

As a couple engages in sexual intercourse, a man inserts his erect penis into the woman’s vagina. During intercourse muscle contractions propel semen from the penis into the vagina. Once semen is deposited at the neck of the woman’s uterus, the sperm begin the long journey to fertilisation. This must be completed within 48 hours, before the sperm die. The environment for the sperm in the woman’s reproductive system is a hazardous place for them to survive long enough to complete their tasks to fertilise the egg.

 

Sperm move via a thrashing motion of their tails; this action propels them in a progressive movement hopefully toward their goal of reaching the egg. Sperm can potentially survive for 3 to 5 days after ejaculation, but due to the environment many are destroyed and the live sperm reduce by one-third each day. An average life span of a sperm is roughly 16 to 18 hours, so they need to get a wriggle on.

 

The sperm’s journey may take about an hour to swim from the neck of the uterus called the cervix to the location in the fallopian tube called the ampulla, where if timing is right, the egg should be there waiting to be romanced by the swarm. The egg is only able to wait for her Mr Right sperm to show up for 12 to 24 hours. If by this time she has been stood up and the sperm hasn’t arrived then the egg will give up and die.

 

But, while the egg is waiting for her white knight (the sperm) to save her, a substance that surrounds the egg is released that is believed to help attract and direct the sperm to assure they are swimming in the right direction. The sperm at this stage travel up the lining into the fallopian tube. Up to 1000 sperm surround the egg, but only one lucky winner can penetrate it due to the release of a special chemical. As soon as that happens, the cell membrane of the egg changes, preventing other sperm from entering.

 

The fertilised egg is now called a zygote. The zygote now comprises the complete 46 chromosomes (genetic material) from DNA of both the 23 chromosomes from the male’s sperm and the 23 chromosomes from the woman’s egg joined together to form the genesis of new human life. The zygote divides to form more cells, while being pushed along the fallopian tube. After 4 days the zygote has 100 cells and is called a blastocyst.

 

When the blastocyst reaches the uterine lining it floats for two days, implanting itself in the uterine wall by the sixth day after fertilisation. The blastocyst then secretes the hormone HCG, signalling a successful pregnancy. It is the level of HCG in the urine that is measured by a pregnancy test.


 

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