Common Causes

What causes female infertility?If you have problems conceiving, you are not alone. About 6% of married women 15–44 years of age in the United States are unable to get pregnant after one year of unprotected sex, and this is categorized as infertility. There are many reasons why you may not be able to conceive; listed below are some of the most common causes.

Vitamin D Deficiency
MTHFR Gene Mutation
Low Ovarian Reserve / Poor Egg Quality / Elevated FSH/ TSH/ Luteal Phase Defect
Uterine Issues
Poor Ovary Response
Estrogen Dominance Syndrome
Hypothyroid (Hashimoto) & Adrenal Fatigue
Immune Factors/Tests for Early Pregnancy Loss
Hormone Disruptors
Male Infertility
Unexplained Infertility

Vitamin D Deficiencytess-with-banana

Are you getting enough Vitamin D? This is the MOST overlooked vitamin when it comes to fertility. 99% of my infertility patients are below the optimal fertile range which is 55-75 ng. If your doctor tells you that you are in the range, chances are your marker is 32 which is the BOTTOM on the range. Please Google to find out vitamin D and fertility connections or visit my blog vitamin D. By the way; Vitamin D is actually not a vitamin, it is an Immune-Regulating Hormone. The newest data says 40-50 ng/ml is the sweet spot to keep your immune system up and running though people in New England generally require 50-60 ng/ml. My recommendation is 5,000 units of vitamins D3 along with vitamins K1+K2 to increase the absorption level of vitamin D. Some brands are sold with 10,000 units which you can take every other day. There are the capsule and liquid forms; both work well. Enlarge the infographic here to find out the importance of this vitamin.

MTHFR Gene Mutation

Easy to get miscarried within 10 weeks. If you have two copies of genes of MTHFR, you need to be very careful about what you eat and which supplements to take. MTHFR is one of common gene mutation issue. I have seen quite few patients were born from parents originally came from India and China – Ben Lynch’s site and video to learn more about Folic Acid and Folate. Eat “Dark Leafy Green Vegetables” !!!! If you are interested in testing, here is the genetic genie and one more about MTHFR.

Low Ovarian Reserve / Poor Egg Quality / Elevated FSH/ TSH/ Luteal Phase Defect

Many women, particularly those over age 35, are diagnosed with “poor ovarian reserve”. Many women are also poor responders to stimulation drugs. Acupuncture treatments are beneficial for these women, though it requires a lot of patience and commitment to treatment.

The root of the cause lies in the overall health of the body, and poor circulation to the ovaries (life cycle of eggs is 150 days). This means that it takes 140+ days in order for primordial follicles to mature into Antral follicles and get ovulated. If your eggs are not high in quality and/or quantity during your last cycle, chances are it will take 140 days (4-5 months) for this to improve. A lot of my patients will get pregnant with IUI and IVF but these are not always the only option for you to get pregnant. Acupuncture, proper supplements and lifestyle changes will give you surprising results in a few months if you are diagnosed as a “poor responder”!

This is a good example. Amy, has a four-year-old daughter and want another child. She had no success with IVF treatment. During the final IVF, her doctor gave her the highest dosage of stimulation drugs with the patch protocol, i.e, Estrogen Priming Protocol (This protocol is an aggressive form of an IVF antagonist protocol used for poor responders. Often women with high FSH are stimulated for a relatively long period.) This IVF cycle failed. At this point, any further treatments would no longer be covered by insurance. Her doctor told her that the only way to conceive is through donor eggs. During consultations, doctors at four other leading fertility clinics in the greater Boston gave her the same response. Here’s where our journey started. She came to see me twice per week. She was not obese but a bit on the heavier side. She lost 16 lb. On the fourth cycle, she became pregnant. This time her body was making enough progesterone so that she was not required to take progesterone supplement. Her early risk fetal assessment test was normal. She delivered a healthy baby girl in January 2012.

The is another one. One of my patient, Molly ( Molly’s blog), after I have learned she got pregnant naturally, I asked her to write her journey since she has one of “vivid” memories. It is a quite long but you will be inspired by reading her story. She is due in November 2014. Here’s short good article about “egg quality and Chinese Medicine”.

This is the blogs you might be interested to read. Here’s one link you should read and do not give up! “DHEA Treatment“,  Having Children After Being Diagnosed with Premature Menopause“.

Uterine Issues

Acupuncture is the most relaxing way for women to gain hormonal balance and proper uterine blood flow

Low Uterine Blood flow Treatment (Swedish Study) – I learned this technique from the acupuncturist work at CCRM. It works for the poor ovarian responder and women who have thin endometrial lining during the follicular phase (stimulation phase). Reduction of blood flow impedance in the uterine arteries of infertile women with electro-acupuncture

Frequent / Early Miscarriage

As well as miscarriage in the second trimester (commonly 23-25 weeks into the pregnancy).

A natural approach to treating uterine fibroids

Endometriosis and Infertility

Poor Ovary Response

Understanding HPO Axis (Hypothalamus-Pituitary-Ovary).kelly-c

HPO Axis (Hypothalamus-Pituitary-Ovary)

HPG Axis (Hypothalamic-Pituitary-Gonadal)

Estrogen Dominance Syndrome

Estrogen Dominance Syndrome I have seen this every single day!!! The simple remedy – eat more brussels sprouts, kales, beets and beets green as often as possible. If you can not, there is the capsule and tablet form of supplement available.  You need to cleanse liver and gallbladder by opening up the liver 1 & 2 methylation pathways. Acupuncture, acupressure, supplements and lifestyle changes help tremendously.

Hypothyroid (Hashimoto) & Adrenal Fatigue:

Hypothyroid Disease and Adrenal Fatigue are leading causes of early miscarriage. Ask your doctor to test following: T3, Free T4, Free T3 and rT3 (reserve T3); otherwise conventional doctors will test you only T4 (=TSH). Sometimes, your TSH will test normal, but you have all signs and symptoms of hypothyroid. You may have what is called sub-par thyroid problem (p. 77) which does not show on your blood test, but hair analysis test does. If you are suffering from hypothyroidism, adrenal fatigue, or sub-par hypothyroid symptoms, you may want to consider taking trace mineral called selenium & iron from supplements.

  • Selenium – 200 mcg of selenium helps T4 ->T3 transformation on thyroid which is crucial for fertility. I use hair analysis test to determine the imbalance if it is necessary. Alternatively, one Brazilian nut every other day will boost your selenium level up and running again.
  • Magnesium – Most of us are deficient. Try “picometer-sized” (a trillionth of a meter) forms of Mg to get absorbed at the cellular level 100%. Most of Mg-like oxide are poorly absorbed.
  • Iron – I have a few supplement in the clinic for this category. Recommend to eat Iron from red meat and take food based iron (and selenium) supplement per day
  • Ferritin – Check your serum Ferritin (protein binds to iron-optimal 90-110 ug/L). If your ferritin level is low, chances are your stomach is not digesting nutrients which mean T4 to T3 conversion is poor

And PLEASE read this article about “Adrenal Fatigue & Pregnancy“.

Visit the Adrenal Fatigue & Thyroid page for further information.

Immune Factors/Tests for  Early Pregnancy Loss:

Hormone Distributors for Infertility

Top 6 Endocrine Disruptors to be checked:

  • Hormone disrupt – #1 – Fluoride – Is your water purifier filter “fluoride”? Most of the water purifiers do not filter this chemical which is toxic to the thyroid gland. The Big News to Infertility but barely discussed at the doctor’s office. This is the best unit I was able to find ->  Aqua True is the best!!!!! This countertop model requires once a YEAR filter replacement. The taste of water is the best I have tasted so far.
  • Hormone disruptor – #4 – 1, 4-Dioxane commonly used in cosmetics and personal care products which listed ingredients as “Polysorbates, Polyethylene Glycol, Polyethylene, Polyoxyethylene.”
  • Hormone disruptor – #5 – BHT (Butylated Hydroxy-Toluene) is often added to foods as preservatives and also used in cosmetics, It is also known as a stabilizer in pesticides, gasoline, lubricants, and soaps. Do you eat cereal? Please check the ingredients list. (and if you have a dog, read this!)

Top Hormone Disruptors

Male Infertility

Male infertility occurs in up to 40% of couples. It takes 75 days to turn around to get better semen analysis report (sperm counts, motility, morphology and viscosity/resistance to flow). I use various whole food based supplements as much as I can, both with and without acupuncture treatment. For more information, visit Male Fertility.

Unexplained Infertilitysonia

Your PCP and RE could not find anything wrong with you and husband and be suggesting you to keep trying.  Here are some tips for you to think about.

  • Are you taking Omega3 Fatty Acid (DHA/EPA) knows as Fish Oil? These two are very important for you and fetus’s brain development.
  • If you are having infertility issue for conceiving 2nd or 3rd child, the chances are you are tired than you think you are. Take a look at this article. My treatment focused on Adrenal Fatigue/Thyroid/Sugar balancing works well.
  • If you are having difficulty conceiving for the second or the third child – read this article about “adrenal distress syndrome.”
  • Have you got your Thyroid Panel checked? Having the TSH is in the range does not mean your thyroid is nice and healthy. I have seen women in high TPO (Hashimoto’s Autoimmune), very low Free T3 and high rT3 patients all came with normal TSH.
  • What should I eat during the prep phase for IUI/IVF& after embryo transfer? What should I not to do?  Supplement ? Exercise?”  Here’s my take!
  • This page is packed with many useful links related to fertility – your IVF medications, various testings, books & DVD recommendations etc…)
  • How does acupuncture treatment benefit infertility? Here it is.
  • When is the last time you got the blood test for B-12? B-12 deficiency is often overlooked the factor in infertility
  • At least take a look this page to find out gluten sensitivity issues and learn the code for gluten.
  • Environmental Causes of Infertility is bigger than you think. BPA in plastics container is one of them
  • If you are diagnosed with a poor ovarian function, think about taking Acai Berry 3 x per day with the meal. Please check this blog to find out more.
  • Is your iron ‘STORAGE” marker called “Ferritin” is above 30? Many of my patients have this marker below 30. Not enough iron will make the process difficult.
  • This is HUGE – How are you managing your stress level? Eating constantly or poorly is stress to your gut, exercise a lot is also stressed to the body. Acupuncture seems to offset the stress level nicely.