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Functional Fertility

Functional Fertility Medicine, targets the root causes of pregnancy problems. This method is crucial in increasing the effectiveness of treatments, along with preparing couples for a lifestyle change that is better suited to increase their chances of conception.

What is Infertility?

Infertility is diagnosed as when a couple that has been engaged in regular, unprotected sex, with no conception for 12+ months. Infertility is due to problems in the male or female reproductive organs. Or may be linked to the female’s inability to carry a full-term pregnancy. It also occurs due to a combination of factors, including psychological, nutritional, or lifestyle-related components that lead to imbalances.

What Are the Types of Infertility?

Primary infertility occurs in couples that have been unable to conceive in one year or longer. Secondary infertility is classified in those couples that have conceived at least once but are now unable to do so. Infertility may be due to health or age-related issues. 

What are Some Common Causes of Infertility?

According to statistics, 10% of women under the age of 44 face infertility problems. According to the American Society for Reproductive Medicine, fertility in women decreases at a faster rate after the age of 35. Sperm quality in males generally decreases after the age of 60.  Causes of infertility in both males and females may 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 may recommend 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, a doctor may advise them to try for another year before moving forward with invasive treatment. These are common options infertile couples are presented with:

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

Problems with the Standard Approach to Infertility

Medical treatments have improved over the past years. For example, IVF has a success rate of 45%. Additionally, medical treatments are more geared towards the female reproductive system, even though 1 out of 3 infertility cases are caused due to problems in the male partner.

The conventional models lack the ability to dig into deeper root-level causes, including, 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.

Conventional infertility treatments 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 is used for those diagnosed with infertility, or for those seeking to get pregnant.

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. These include 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 looks at human biology as a whole and evaluates how problems in one part of the body 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, with no connection between two or more diseases or problems. Functional fertility focuses on underlying issues that typical medicine does not address, such as the psychological stresses.

How We Can Help You

Through a personalized and comprehensive approach, we improve your chances of conceiving or enhancing the effectiveness of your current fertility treatments. Our full fertility checkup includes assessing nutritional levels and allergic reactions and focuses on the female and male reproductive organs.

Our method includes desensitizing the body to provide support against allergies.  Allergies against tissues, hormones, or even your partner’s sperm can cause infertility.  Doing a thyroid, autoimmune, Hashimoto’s, hormone and hair tissue analysis also provides a deeper understanding of the issues you and your partner are facing.

Dr. Cushing evaluates options for you and your partner to see specialists. In case there’s a blockage in the ovaries, an ultrasound, laparoscopy, or 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 infertility problems, including those related to tubal blockage, pelvic inflammatory disease, previous tubal ligation, endometriosis, and STD’s. Additionally, we have access to Chinese Herbal Medicines with 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 gave birth to a healthy infant at the gestational age of 40 weeks after treatment 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 conceived six months after she started taking the herbal formulae.

These results came after unsuccessful results from more expensive IVF treatments. At Holistic Doctor of Charlotte, we have access to natural remedies for our patients.

Further information can be found here – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5597078/

Who Benefits from Functional Infertility Treatments?

PCOS is one of the leading causes of infertility. PCOS is not often detected during standard lab tests. After conducting thorough hormone test we provide solutions through supplements and foods rich in antioxidants

Our treatments are customized to support patients who are considering or already on treatments, such as IUI or IVF. We aim to help you achieve positive treatment results. Plans for patients include dietary changes, reduced toxin exposure, and adding specific supplements to enhance treatments.

Concluding Thoughts

Now that you know the difference between conventional and functional fertility, you can make an informed decision. Couples should visit a holistic doctor to learn about and understand their bodies. This will assist them in adopting appropriate changes to support their journey towards parenthood.

At the Holistic Doctor of Charlotte, we perform 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 had negative outcomes from medical treatments, consider giving our office a call. Schedule an appointment now.

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

Arthur Cushing