I'm often reminded of the Meatloaf song. I'll do anything for love, but I won't do that. Will we do anything in blind faith and is that wise? What's actually needed is more thorough education of what we can do. And the first step is becoming your own fertility detective, in a controlled and structured way, often with support to interpret your findings.
So what can you look into, well if you've heard me talk before, first off luteal phase and sperm, follicular phase, strength of ovulation and lets focus in on egg and sperm health and pelvic health..
Do you know the Meatloaf song, "I do anything for love, but I won't do that?".
People who are trying to lose weight may say, "I'll do anything to lose weight, but I won't do that. I won't necessarily stop eating those foods, etc." And sometimes people will say, "I will do anything to get pregnant." And then people may suggest things. You may look into things. I may suggest things and they'll say, "But no, I won't do that."
Now, have you said that? That's what I want to uncover in this episode.
"I'm not doing that."
Have you said "Well I'm not doing that." And before you get cross with me, there are many reasons why you might not do that and it may be a very good reason why you're not doing that.
Maybe you have tried everything. Do you have examples of things you've tried, because you will just do anything, of course you will. This thing that you want, that you crave, that you desire that just isn't happening and often you don't know why it's not happening. And the physical effects and the emotional effects and the relationship effects of all of this are huge. Absolutely huge.
Have you tried anything or are things suggested and you think, "Well, will that work?" Or are you looking at things and maybe you've mentioned them to your GP, or you've mentioned them to the Fertility Doctor, or mentioned them to a partner or a friend. And they've said, "Well, there's no evidence that works."
When I've said you might see something on social media and that actually what Jane did to get pregnant, what Jane and Steve did to get pregnant, isn't necessarily going to work for you and there might be a lot of other variables involved. So when you want to either start or extend your family between six to 12 months of waiting for tests is a long time.
And I've spoken to this before about how you wait all that time to get these tests, these magic tests that are going to give you the answers and you don't always get any answers at all. You often get a diagnosis of unexplained, which isn't a diagnosis, is it? Because a diagnosis is telling you what's wrong?
Now I have said numerous times already that the purpose of the limited testing that is done at a baseline level is only to direct you to which assisted fertility method is recommended.
It is not looking deep into things, and I encourage you as always to be a fertility detective. Now, in order to be a fertility detective, of course, you have to know where to look, what tests to do, what investigations to take upon yourself and what then to do about them.
And that's where I come in. And that's how I help clients that I work with. So six to 12 months is a very long time. And then at the end of it, you're not necessarily getting what you thought you were going to get. And people will often say when they start trying, "We're just going to see how it goes. We're going to be quite relaxed about it. And we're perhaps going to give it six months. Or we're going to give it a year because I know that the evidence says on average it can take up to a year to get pregnant."
hope and planning
Each month there is hope and planning and each month the emotions increase. Your relationship might be affected and you are on project baby. In fact, many areas of your life may be affected by this, this search for answers, this search for solutions, spending time on the internet, spending time on social media. And often, it's a secret pain. I've talked about this before as well. It's not something that we always share openly, especially if you are trying to extend your family, as I talked about in the last episode. There's a guilt there as well, that this isn't necessarily something you're going to be very open about, especially in social media circles.
If you had been told, if you had been told sooner what would increase your chances of getting pregnant, what actually you may have been able to look into to see very early on what is limiting you. If you had been given the education in health ed that you should have been given, apart from being told that getting pregnant is really easy and if you do get pregnant, it will ruin your life. If you had been told about those nuances, about the signs of ovulation, about the importance of that differentiation in your cycle, between the phases, how hard is your body working to ovulate and how strong is luteal phase.
Progesterone blood tests
How likely is it that you are laying down enough of a healthy lining in the first phase that is strengthened in the second phase to actually support a pregnancy? So if you had been told early on to perhaps do some home testing, to see where we are at. And I'm not talking about ovulation predictor sticks. I'm talking about monitoring, different ways of monitoring Oestrogen and luteinising hormone. And progesterone.
Progesterone blood tests are done at seven days post ovulation to see if you have ovulated full stop. Progesterone is so important in that luteal phase. So important in that luteal phase, to be able to actually support a pregnancy, to support implantation, to maintain a pregnancy, that it should be being tested later in the cycle as well. And you can do that at home. There are different ways you can do that at home. I've gone off on a tangent now, haven't I?
You can do a home blood test. So with my clients here in the UK, we will use a company called MediChecks generally, and I have a discount code with them that you can get, which is FERTILITYREWIRE, all one word. The Mira Fertility Analyzer, which is very popular in the USA and is available here and growing in popularity in the UK and is an invaluable piece of kit.
The MIRA Analyzer and the information that gives them and me in order for me to support and interpret is invaluable. And what is incredible, is that they now have the ability with using the MAX wands to test your progesterone. So you can do that with MIRA daily. You can do that with a home blood test here in the UK. It's £39 before the 20% discount, and of course similar options are available worldwide. And with The Mirror Analyze again, code FERTILITYREWIRE, and you get £25 or $20 off that.
If you want to know anything more about those, just drop me a line, firstname.lastname@example.org. And I can point you in the right direction there.
If you had been told that sooner, you may not be where you are now, that is one aspect, only one aspect and I know that. The other aspect as well, if you have been told more about sperm health, if you had understood more about taking a step back in three to four months before you even think of trying for a baby, because here's the thing, I’ve aid it before, I do say that a lot, don't I? “I said it before.”
step back and think about having a healthy child
When you are trying to get pregnant, we need to take a step back and think about having a healthy child. Having a healthy child, not just getting pregnant, getting pregnant with a healthy child that will go to full term, that will be healthy. That's what you really should, I'm going to use the word should here, I hate the word should ordinarily, but I’m going with it here because that's what we need to do.
We need to step back and look at that. So the information that I'm giving you here in the podcast, I really, really hope that's helping you. What is difficult of course, is you are already massively into that journey. And if you've had your tests here in the UK, you are already heading down the assisted fertility route anyway. But you can stop at those tests and say, "What more can I do actually? What more could I do?" Because chances are, there are steps you can take also to improve your chances of IVF working or Clomid being effective or IUI for example. So what could be affecting it?
It's important that you know what could be affecting your fertility and from a reliable source. And how you can find out sooner and save this pain, absolute pain that you are going through. So if we think about testing, "Yeah, I will do anything to get pregnant." Then test, please, please, please test and do not just accept the limited test that your general practitioner or family doctor is suggesting. There are ways to get further testing and further detective work, without having to pay for the fertility consultation.
There's a lot you can do, and it doesn't have to be expensive. I've talked about Mira Fertility Analyser. There are home sperm tests available, and that's something I'm hoping to...
additional testing can be a game changer
I've talked about that luteal phase, and I cannot honestly stress enough for you, how important that is and how incredibly overlooked that is. So just to remind you, the luteal phase is from ovulation to the end of your cycle, and you want that to be over 10 days, ideally 12 days and over. The length of the luteal phase is affected by your progesterone, your progesterone levels. Your progesterone levels are affected by cortisol in the body.
So if you are experiencing stress, it's a very clever mechanism in the body, that if you are producing adrenaline and cortisol specifically, your progesterone production is lowered. A very clever safety mechanism. Why would you be getting pregnant if your life is in danger from tigers all around you? So the emotional aspects and not just relaxing, the emotional aspects are huge. So when looking at, "I would do anything to get pregnant," let's look into those emotional aspects and support that.
And I do that. I think I've mentioned it before, obviously about ‘tiger taming’. That we can tame these tigers. We can use recognised practices and support very simply to just start to reduce those tigers, because your tigers, those things that cause you stress, those things that make you feel not in control can be anything from a slight level of stress and lots of worry, through to levels of anxiety. And you might not think you have anxiety as such. You're not having panic attacks perhaps, but when you start to look deeper into it, some people are just running on that level the whole time. And that can massively affects your progesterone, massively affect testosterone as well both in females and males, massively affect sperm, sperm production.
I have seen sperm results change dramatically when the male has really changed the level of stress and anxiety. And I don't necessarily mean change the stressful situations. It's just putting into place ways to tame those tigers. To recognise those tigers and not make their impact so huge. So we also need to think about the quality of the egg and the sperm. Each of those is so important.
nutrition is important
Reducing the effects of oxidative stress on those cells. They are cells, they have a life cycle, they renew. We can make changes to the quality of the egg and the sperm. And that is so important when it comes to the DNA within each, that becomes the DNA of your future child. So focus, it's not about getting pregnant. Let's shift it to it's about having a child. We look at it in stages, don't we? We get pregnant and then we worry about staying pregnant. And then we worry about the health of the baby.
But let's take a step back and think about that. So in terms of, "I'll do anything," let's think about what you can do to improve the health of a future baby. Now, I know that it's difficult to jump ahead to the baby point, because we don't like to get ahead of ourselves. We don't like to tempt fate. We do see things in stages and there's lots of work that we can do on that, that isn't about getting your hopes up, that just provides more of a balance for that.
So in terms of when you are trying to get pregnant, generally, what we're focusing on is getting the egg and a sperm together and getting them together at the right time. I've talked about that a lot before. That's really key. The quality of the egg and sperm is key. What's really important is the lining of the uterus is going to be able to support them. And so we need enough progesterone and they can be at very, very basic levels.
So one of the things that I am really passionate about at the moment, and it's something that I'm coming across with quite a few clients at the moment, is how we can get some progesterone support. Now, we can make great changes to the cycle through the work that I'm doing with clients when we're looking at self-treatment and practices that we undertake to support the progesterone, to bring that hormonal balance into play. But sometimes it's a question of would supplemental progesterone support this further?
Now you get progesterone pessaries when you are on IVF. And because obviously we're overtaking the body's normal system. And this is another thing. Once we get into the hands, when we're in the IVF clinic. Now, again, I am not against IVF, please don't think that for one second. I think it's very warranted, but I think we go too soon with it. I think straight away, we go too soon with it, because you can't guarantee a success of IVF. You're still looking at the quality of the egg and the sperm. There are still issues around that as well, about pelvic health and so on.
We can't bypass that in this process, but there is a need in some situations I feel, when in, and I hate the word, the term natural conception, but that is generally what we categorize it as, unassisted conception if you like. There is a place for progesterone support there. And if you are undertaking your own fertility analysis, you can see that this is needed, you can see these levels. And I've worked hard with quite a few clients to get the right ... to support them, to get the right language and message to their doctor, to be able to get progesterone support.
It's not happening on the NHS here in the UK, but it has happened in other ways. So it's not as expensive as a full fertility treatment cycle, but there are ways around it. I'm rambling a little bit there, aren't I? So as you know, progesterone and sperm are kind of the huge, huge things that I will repeatedly, repeatedly, repeatedly talk about, because they are massively overlooked. So if you are saying to yourself, "I will do anything to get pregnant," please look further into progesterone and sperm. And if you want any help in that, or any more guidance that isn't on the podcast, then get in touch, please.
"I will do anything to get pregnant, but I won't do that."
Why are we not doing that? Maybe it's absolute common sense that you are thinking, "Well, just because it worked for them, doesn't mean it will work for me." And you then look into it further. It may be that you think, "Well, what's the point? We've been doing this for so long. Haven't been drinking. We haven't been going in the hot tub. We haven't been going out as much. We've massively changed our diet. We're not eating anything that's particularly exciting. So what else can I do? Why would I add something else to that?"
But also what's happening in that rhetoric in your mind there, is the stress and the emotion that is caused by this constant search for what can I do? And the lack of support, let's be honest, to advise you of what you can do, leaves you in a horrible, horrible place, horrible, horrible place. And levels of tension are high.
Go back to what I said about cortisol. So we're making that worse, which is why when I started off working in fertility, it was as a fertility reflexologist and I did some very, very detailed training, all around aspects of fertility. And then I did fertility massage and again, deeper, deeper levels of training and understanding infertility. And it was during these face to face physical therapies and advising clients about tests, about interpreting results with them, about pointing them in the direction of nutritional support. I'm not a nutritionist, but work with affiliates to support them in that direction.
And there's just something stopping people from making the change sometime. For some people it's almost like there's a promise of IVF at the end for some, not for all, but somethings stopping them. And that's when I started to work much more deeply in both the physical and the emotional aspects of fertility, and became a hypnotherapist and mindset coach and worked with mindfulness as well. And so I'm bringing little bits from those aspects to be able to support people.
And that's when you see a much bigger picture, a much more holistic approach to a person, in terms of that, really. I feel like I just gave you my CV then. And then the thirst for the scientific knowledge, which has always been there for me and working with the medical profession, I've spoken with Cheryl Homer on this, who's an andrologist, spoken to IVF clinicians and a couple of interviews with reproductive specialists on here. It's really important that you have all of the information and that it's applied to you. But my biggest hope for you, "I will do anything to get pregnant," is you need a roadmap.
You need to know where to look. You need to know how to interpret the results you are finding when you look, and you need to be able to identify appropriate steps to take and get the support you need. Okay. So I've gone off at various tangents there just for a change.
If you do want any support on your fertility journey, whether it's a little bit of advice, or steer, or whether working with me is something you want to chat about and explore more. If you want to know where to look, how to find it, then drop me a line at Kat@fertilityrewire.com.
You can find me on socials at Fertility Rewire too.
Don't forget my group program for extending your family, the group program Conceivable, if you are trying to get pregnant with your second or third child, I'm beta testing that.
I emailed about that, so if you not on my email list please do join at https://fertilityrewire.com and if you would like to know more about that, then drop me a line also, and remember the discount codes
So if you wanted to look into home testing here in the UK, then go https://medichecks.com Similar companies will be available in your own countries, if you are not based in the UK. Use the code, FERTILITYREWIRE,
If you want to know anything more about MIRA or using it or if you want to purchase using the discount code, FERTILITYREWIRE