Next Fertility IVF Prof. Zech

Fertility Problems

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Next Fertility IVF Prof. Zech

Fertility Problems


How to contribute towards realizing your dream of having a child

If you wish to have children and you are trying to get pregnant naturally, you may find the following information helpful. Learn more about how much you can contribute to achieving this goal.

1. Recommendations for WOMEN and MEN
2. What you should pay attention to when it comes to nutrition
3. Sexual intercourse
4. Nicotine
5. Environmental toxins
6. Prevention of congenital malformations

1. Recommendations for WOMEM and MEN

Should you wish to get pregnant naturally, the following information will most certainly be helpful:

  • Spend time together and have intercourse during your most fertile days (around the time of ovulation). There are different tools to help you determine your "fertile window", tracking basal body temperature and cervical mucus changes, a variety of home ovulation test kits are available at pharmacies, etc.
  • Have sexual intercourse more often
  • Take care of your body and stick to a healthy and balanced diet
  • 3 months before trying to conceive, the woman should start taking folic acid and other vitamins known for their beneficial effect on egg maturation and pregnancy.
  • The woman needs to be immune to rubella. If you do not have evidence of immunity, please consult your physician to discuss the necessary steps to be taken (vaccination).
  • Regular exercise gets your circulation going. But remember not to overdo it - as stress could negatively impact your fertility.
  • See your dentist and make sure any oral-health problems are treated in advance
  • If you are a smoker, you should stop smoking immediately.
  • Get yourself checked for the presence of any sexually transmitted disease (e.g.: chlamydia). If an infection is diagnosed, it should be treated immediately.

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2. Nutritional advice

The metabolism has a great influence on the balance of the endocrine system in humans (overweight or underweight). Try to limit your intake of carbohydrates and fat and instead include foods rich in proteins and vitamins in your diet.

  • Dairy foods (especially low fat curd), meat, fish and egg are excellent sources of animal protein.
  • Sprouts or seeds, beans, soya, whole grain cereals, pulses such as peas and lentils as well as vegetables (particularly algae and Shiitake mushrooms) are a valuable source of vegetable protein.
  • Fresh fruit and vegetables are rich in vitamins.

Carbohydrates (such as bread, pastries, sugar, flour, potatoes etc.) as well as high-fat products (lard, oil, butter) should only be consumed in very moderate amounts. This applies in particular to overweight individuals. Whether it be beer, wine, cider, cognac etc., alcohol should only be consumed in moderate quantity. Once you are pregnant, you should not drink any alcohol at all! If you suffer or have suffered in the past from a liver disease, the consumption of alcohol should be avoided entirely. The consumption of alcoholic beverages or the exposure to other toxic substances may lead to various types of disorders, ranging from impaired fetal growth to an increased risk for miscarriage, congenital defects and even an increased cancer risk for the child (fetal alcohol syndrome).

3. Sexual intercourse

Couples trying to conceive as well as those using assisted reproductive technology (ART) (commonly known as "artificial insemination") are recommended to have sexual intercourse as often as possible (preferably every day until shortly before producing the semen sample used for IVF/ICSI - quality before quantity). In fertility treatment involving the use of IUI, IVF/ICSI, the patient is required to abstain from unprotected intercourse from the beginning of stimulation. This serves to guard against the very unlikely case of getting pregnant with multiples after having unprotected sex. Men are at the height of their sexual prowess between the ages of 21 and 24, with only a slight drop until about the age of 30. The decline becomes more pronounced after that age. A man's semen can still be quite good up to his old age, but with a natural tendency for sperm quality to gradually decline over time. A woman's fertility declines already from the age of 35. From the age of 38 to 40 years, it is becoming increasingly difficult to get pregnant naturally and give birth to a healthy child. Until reaching the age of 45, a woman's chances of conception steadily drop to practically zero. To begin with, it does not matter which position to use for making love, as long as the penis can fully enter the vagina. Only in the event of a change in position of the (uterus) (such as tipped or retroverted uterus which can be diagnosed by a gynecologist using ultrasound), it might not be possible for the uterine orifice to be completely immersed into the semen with the woman in supine position. In this case, we would recommend having intercourse with the woman in a knee-elbow, lateral or prone position.

4. Nicotine

It is well known that nicotine is harmful both to male and female reproductive capacity. Smoking impairs the quality of spermatozoa and reduces the number of viable sperm. In addition, smoking may also affect a woman's menstrual cycle. Numerous studies carried out in recent years have shown that the harmful effects of cigarette smoking are not only due to the exposure to nicotine, but also to the many carcinogenic substances formed during combustion (burning): Cigarette smoke contains more than 4,000 chemicals, including tar, arsenic, benzene, cadmium, hydrocyanic acid, lead and carbon monoxide. Many of these components are toxic, including at least 43 substances that are claimed to be carciongenic. Women exposed to cigarette smoke are more likely to experience miscarriages, placental abruptions or birth defects. Moreover, children of smoking mothers are often found to be smaller upon delivery and are usually more susceptible to disease. You can contribute a lot to having a healthy baby if you quit smoking at least 3 months prior to the planned start of your treatment. Scientific research has revealed that even if only one person in the couple smokes, this reduces the chances to conceive and carry a pregnancy to term without any major problems by at least half! Contrary to a far dispersed opinion, passive smoking too may lead to detrimental health effects. Secondhand tobacco smoke in closed rooms contains the same toxic and carcinogenic substances as smoke directly inhaled from a cigarette (mainstream smoke).

5. Environmental toxins

The possible consequences of being exposed to environmental toxins (such as fumes or radiation at the workplace, plastic material etc.) include the following: low birth weight of the baby, spontaneous abortion, genetic defects and even an increased risk of cancer in the child. Studies have shown an increase in the rate of lung cancer in men whose fathers had been exposed to chromium compounds found in welding fumes. Therefore, couples trying to conceive should do their utmost to stay away from chemicals and radiation (e.g. at the workplace) for at least 90 days before conception. This provides enough time for the regeneration of sperm (spermatogenesis) and ova (oogenesis). During pregnancy as well, you should do your best to avoid harmful environmental impacts (do not drink from plastic bottles etc.).

6. Prevention of congenital malformations

Spina bifida (incomplete closing of the embryonic neural tube) is considered to be the most common congenital disorder. This birth defect is found in about 4 to 5 children per 1000 live births among the population as a whole. For this reason, you should supplement your diet with at least 400 micrograms of folic acid. It is recommended that you start at least four weeks before conception and continue folic acid supplementation during early pregnancy - of course, after consulting your physician. Thus, the incidence of these birth defects can be reduced by 50-70%. In the vast majority of cases, other congenital defects such as cleft lip and cleft palate or pathological changes in the cardio-vascular system, the urinary tract or the limbs may also be prevented by supplementing one's diet with a sufficient amount of folic acid. Make sure you have an adequate folate supply before you try to get pregnant and continue the supplementation during early pregnancy.

Couples who have been trying to conceive for quite some time, but whose efforts have not yet been successful, often seek medical help and decide, if appropriate, in favour of "artificial insemination".