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Functional Fertility

Functional fertility is vastly different from conventional infertility treatments. Contact us now to learn how we can help you!

With the introduction of functional medicine, targeting the root causes of pregnancy problems, has become crucial in increasing the effectiveness of treatments and preparing couples for a lifestyle change that is better suited to increase their chances of conception. Before we dive into functional fertility, however, let’s take a look at what infertility is and the solutions provided by our conventional healthcare system.

What Is Infertility?

Infertility occurs when a couple that has been engaged in regular, unprotected sex, and has been unable to conceive for 12+ months. Infertility can be caused due to problems in the male or female reproductive organs or due to the female’s inability to carry a full-term pregnancy. It can also occur due to a combination of factors, including psychological, nutritional, or lifestyle-related components that lead to imbalances.

What Are the Types of Infertility?

There are two different types of infertility. The first one is known as primary infertility, and it occurs in couples that have been unable to conceive in one year or longer. Secondary infertility is classified as pregnancy problems in those couples that have conceived at least once but are now unable to do so. Infertility can be caused due to a number of health or age-related issues. 

What Are Some Common Causes of Infertility?

According to stats, 10% of women under the age of 44 face infertility problems. However, approximately half of the couples facing pregnancy problems do not consider infertility to be the cause. According to the American Society for Reproductive Medicine, fertility in women decreases at a faster rate after the age of 35, but sperm quality in males generally decreases after the age of 60.  In addition to age, causes of infertility in both males and females can also include the following:

  • Eating disorders
  • Diabetes
  • Environmental toxins
  • STDs that can block Fallopian tubes and or damage areas of the reproductive system
  • Smoking or excessive alcohol use
  • Substance abuse
  • Weight problems

Conventional Infertility Treatments

Depending on the causes of infertility, your doctor can provide several different drugs or medical procedures to help you increase your chances of getting pregnant. However, for the 15% to 30% of couples diagnosed with unexplained infertility, the doctor may advise them to try for another year before moving forward with invasive treatment. The following are some common options infertile couples are presented with:

  • Fertility drugs
  • Medical procedures, such as IUI, IVF, ICSI, GIFT, and assisted hatching
  • Surrogacy
  • Embryo, sperm, or egg donation
  • Adoption

Problems with the Standard Approach to Infertility

Many medical treatments have improved over the past years. For example, IVF was only 5% effective in the previous years but now has a success rate of 45%. However, most doctors typically jump to conclusions instead of evaluating their patients from a deeper, more comprehensive perspective. Additionally, the medical treatments are more geared towards the female reproductive system, even though 1 out of 3 infertility cases are caused due to problems in a man.

The conventional models also lack the ability to dig into deeper root-level causes, such as gut health, hormone imbalance, thyroid problems, or stress-related issues. Such abnormalities are more likely to go undetected during conventional tests. Additionally, the decreasing doctor-patient time in the US is also a reason doctors can’t dive deeper into such root causes of infertility.

Another reason conventional infertility treatments are a big no-no for couples is that they can be extremely expensive. An IVF treatment, for example, can cost between $10,000 and $15,000, and these costs don’t take additional medication costs into account.

What Is Functional Fertility?

Functional fertility aims to improve couples’ chances of conceiving and carrying a full-term pregnancy by addressing psychological, lifestyle, and nutritional issues. Functional fertility can be used for those diagnosed with infertility or those looking to improve their chances of getting pregnant. Additionally, it can also have long-term effects that can be carried from one generation to the next. If you’ve been having trouble conceiving a baby and your doctor is telling you that your charts look ‘normal,’ perhaps it’s time for you to give functional fertility a shot.

It is pertinent to mention that couples are required to be patient and consistent for 6 to 12 months to see positive results of functional fertility. This method of infertility treatment digs into deeper root-level causes that are often ignored during conventional treatments. For example, it can treat hormonal imbalances, such as PCOS or thyroid disorder, which can be caused due to the continued use of birth control.

It takes a female at least four menstrual cycles to prepare the body for pregnancy. So, following this method would mean that couples will need to adopt changes for a minimum of 4 and a maximum of 12 months before trying to get pregnant again. 

How Does Functional Fertility Work?

Functional fertility is used to assess both males’ and females’ underlying causes of infertility, including sleep cycles, psychological and physical stress, digestion, and every other activity or habit marked as a red flag. Such red flags can also make medical procedures and drugs ineffective against pregnancy problems.

Functional fertility takes a look at human biology as a whole and evaluates how problems in one part of the body can affect the other. In this approach, a customized nutrient and lifestyle plan is provided to couples to improve the sperm and egg quality and balance the hormones. The changes are then evaluated to check whether they can support pregnancy or there’s more room for improvements.

Functional fertility is different from conventional treatments because the latter focuses on one problem at a time, and there’s no link or connection between two or more diseases or problems. Functional fertility also focuses on underlying issues that typical medicine cannot address, such as the psychological stresses in younger couples due to increased socialization.

How We Can Help You

At the Holistic Doctor of Charlotte, Dr. Cushing provides detailed answers for why you can’t get pregnant. Through a personalized and comprehensive approach, we can improve your chances of conceiving or enhance the effectiveness of your current fertility treatments. Our full fertility checkup includes assessing nutritional levels and allergic reactions.

There are certain minerals and vitamins that can improve the reproductive system and stimulate egg and follicle growth. Additionally, our method also includes desensitizing the body to provide support against allergies.  Allergies against tissues, hormones, or even your partner’s sperm can be a cause of your infertility.  Doing a thyroid, Autoimmune, Hashimoto’s, hormone and hair tissue analysis will also provide a deeper understanding of the issues you’re facing. Functional fertility is not only focused on the female reproductive organs but also evaluates sperm quality. Solutions are provided to couples as a whole instead of focusing on females alone.  

Dr. Cushing will also evaluate other options for you to see specialists to check your ovaries, uterus, and fallopian tubes to draw accurate conclusions and also a genetic test for both partners. In case there’s a blockage in the ovaries, an ultrasound, laparoscopy, or an x-ray will be able to detect the issues in these areas. Removing such blockages is critical in improving your chances of getting pregnant.

We provide holistic solutions for all infertility problems, including for those related to tubal blockage, pelvic inflammatory disease caused by infections, such as tuberculosis, uterine problems, & previous tubal ligation, endometriosis, and STD’s. Additionally, we also have access to Chinese Herbal Medicines that have a proven track record of success in enhancing follicle and egg quality in women aged 40 and above.

Chinese Herbal Medicines – A Success Story

According to a study conducted on Chinese Herbal Medicines for infertility, a 40-year-old woman was able to give birth to a healthy infant at the gestational age of 40 weeks after being treated with the Chinese herbal formulae. The herbal medication improved the patient’s age-related ovarian insufficiency and fibroids. 

The study found that the patient’s menstrual cycle became regular after the first four months of medication. Additionally, a week after ovulation, her plasma progesterone went up from 10.9 nmol/L to 44.9 nmol/L. The patient was able to conceive only six months after she started taking the herbal formulae.

These results came after the unsuccessful results from the more expensive IVF treatments. At Holistic Doctor of Charlotte, we provide such natural remedies for patients who have either tried other medical treatments or don’t have adequate time, resources, or money to invest in medical drugs or treatments.  Further information can be found here –

Who Can Benefit from Functional Infertility Treatments?

PCOS is one of the leading causes of infertility that is often not detected during standard lab tests. Those who have some unanswered questions regarding their pregnancy problems can visit us to find whether PCOS is causing such issues. We can provide solutions through supplements and foods rich in antioxidants after conducting thorough hormone tests.

Additionally, our treatments can also be customized to support patients who are considering or are already on treatments, such as IUI or IVF. We can help you achieve positive treatment results by preparing your body for these treatments. Our plans for such patients include dietary changes, reducing toxin exposure, and adding specific supplements to support invasive medical treatments.

If you’re someone who has suffered a miscarriage in the past, we also have adequate procedures and treatments to improve egg and sperm quality. We will assess your progesterone levels at the most optimal time and provide adequate solutions accordingly.

That’s not all; we also provide preventative measures and treatments for those couples who are not facing any infertility issues.

Concluding Thoughts

Now that you know the difference between conventional and functional fertility treatment methods, you will be able to make an informed decision based on your budget and preferences. It’s a good idea for all couples to visit a holistic doctor at least once to learn and understand their bodies and adopt appropriate changes to support their journey towards parenthood.

At the Holistic Doctor of Charlotte, we also perform some of the most essential functional medicine tests for fertility, including those for vitamin D, thyroid, stress hormones, blood sugar, and microbiome testing. If you or someone you know is facing difficulties with pregnancies or has had negative outcomes from medical treatments and drugs, it might be time to give Dr. Cushing a call. Schedule an appointment now, and let us help give you more elaborate answers to your fertility-related questions.

We can help you improve your chances of conceiving and carrying a full-term pregnancy, regardless of your age and conditions. If you’re interested in learning more about functional fertility or want to discuss possible solutions for your specific case, reach out to our team now.

Author Info

Sophie Boyle