Overcoming Fertility Challenges—with Safe, Natural Medicine
Infertility has become an increasingly common condition worldwide. For couples who are struggling to grow their family, the facts and statistics can be disheartening. According to the US Department of Health:
- Ten percent of women (6.1 million) in the United States, ages 15 to 44, have difficulty getting pregnant or staying pregnant.
- Sperm counts have dropped worldwide, and one-third of infertility cases are due to problems with the male.
- One-third of couples in which the woman is over 35 have fertility problems.
Advances in fertility technologies such as IUI (intra uterine insemination) and IVF (in vitro fertilization) have helped thousands of couples successfully conceive. However, they do so by using high doses of synthetic hormones. This throws off a woman’s hormone balance, taxes her liver function, and leaves her in less-than-optimal health at the start of her pregnancy.
A Natural Approach to Fertility Support
Naturopathic physicians believe that a healthy body is a fertile body. Dr. Curtiss’s approach to fertility support includes: (a) improving general health, (b) identifying and removing anything that may harm the body, and (c) helping the body produce and regulate its own hormones.
Preconception health care should begin a minimum of three to four months prior to the desired conception time, as this is how long it takes to grow optimal sperm and egg.
Dr. Curtiss’s work-up for the health and fertility of couples may include the following:
- A complete history and examination
- A complete blood count (CBC) and comprehensive metabolic panel (CMP)
- Hormone evaluation of the ovaries, testes, adrenal glands, and thyroid gland
- Testing for exposure to heavy metals or other toxins
- Semen analysis
- Neurotransmitter testing to assess the nervous system
- Autoimmune testing
- Other warranted tests and/or diagnostic imaging
Naturopathic treatments for fertility support may include the following:
- Charting natural body rhythm for timing conception
- Cleansing the home of any substance known to be harmful to the body
- Cleansing the body to reduce the toxic burden and promote liver function
- Adequate diet and nutrition to supply all the needs for the growth of optimal egg and sperm
- Holistic Pelvic Care
- Stress support
- Botanical therapies
- Energy medicine
- Emotional, mental, and psychological support and counseling
- Exercise and lifestyle coaching
Healthy Conception, Healthy Baby
Preventative medicine begins with the egg and sperm. When couples optimize their health in the pre-conception months, they increase their chances of having a healthy pregnancy and child. Dr. Curtiss believes that by improving the environment in which a baby grows and develops, one can reduce the risk of asthma, allergies, birth defects, behavioral issues, and diseases in children.
The Cost Savings of Natural Medicine
Currently, health insurance providers do not view infertility as a disease, and therefore do not cover the costs of fertility assistance. During the last 12 years, the number of individuals using artificial reproductive techniques has risen by 77%. Couples pay between $10,000 and $15,000 for a single IVF procedure, and may spend upwards of $50,000 for fertility services.
The good news is that, on average, three months of naturopathic fertility support costs less than two thousand dollars per couple. These costs include office visits, diagnostic testing, and physician-line supplements. Dr. Curtiss has also worked with out-of-state couples who did the math and realized that—even with the costs of airfare and hotels—naturopathic fertility assistance was still less expensive than a single round of IVF.
Complementing Traditional Fertility Treatments
Any work that Dr. Curtiss does can be a complement to other fertility treatments, such as IUI or IVF. She’s very open to integrating other health practitioners in the process, and has worked with midwives, acupuncturists, and allopathic physicians at fertility clinics. Natural medicine helps patients gain a higher state of health so that all the treatments will have a greater chance of success.