‘Over the past twenty years, fertility problems have increased dramatically. At least 25% of couples planning a baby will have trouble conceiving, and more and more couples are turning to fertility treatments to help them have a family.’
Where has that come from? Well, not from some wacky ‘end of the world is nigh’ merchant – but from the first presentation at the McCarrison Society’s conference last month, by the much respected Dr Marilyn Glenville, a former president of the Royal Society of Medicine’s Food and Health Forum and an expert on female hormone problems.
The point of Dr Glenville presentation was that with good preconeptual care (healthy lifestyle and micro-nutritional supplementation) not only of the woman but, more importantly, of the man, for at least three months before any attempt is made to conceive, a couple’s chance of conceiving and having a healthy baby is massively improved. But how horrendous, to quote just a few of Dr Glenville’s figures, that in a survey of 19-year-old young men taken between 2006 an 2010, only 23% had optimal sperm counts, or that 20–25% of German 18–25 year olds now have low sperm counts.
Since Dr Gennvilles’ experience shows that by reducing, or ideally cutting out, the use of alcohol, recreational drugs, cigarettes and caffeine, reducing exposure to environmental toxins and stress and improving nurtitional profile one can turn an infertile couple into a fertile one, and significantly reduce the chance of having a low weight or preterm baby – then presumably it follows that it is the use of alcohol, drugs, cigaretees and caffeine, exposure to stress and environmental toxins, and poor nutrition that are largely responsible for this seriously scary situation.
What Dr Genville had to say was scary enough but a later presentation by Dr Enitan Ogundipe from Imperial College brought home the consequences, in terms of the baby’s health, of poor preconceptual care resulting in preterm or low weight babies. She was talking about feeding ‘high risk’ babies (which usually means preterm or low birth weight babies) and explaining that not only is a 37-week-old baby extremely immature in terms of its gastroenterological and immunological development, but it is impossible to reproduce the nutritients that it should be receiving via its mother’s placenta in the womb. So, apart from all of their other problems, not only are these poor little mites extremely vulnerable to infections and sepsis and therefore bombarded with antibiotics from birth, but they are being semi-starved.
For more details of Dr Ogundipe’s presentation see here or for the whole conference, which went on to look at the outcomes of poor nutrition in school and, fascinatingly, in adolescent offenders, see here.
NB. Dr Glenville not a lone voice. My old friend, Chinese Medicine practitioner, Barbara Hezelgrave, says that over the last few years she has seen a huge rise in the number of couples coming to her with fertility problems, for which Chinese medicine can be very helpful.