This weeks tip discusses many of the questions that I receive in regards to IVF and the herbs. If you are not doing IVF however but are thinking about it, this is still a good email for you to read. I have received 1000’s of emails over the last year and a half from couples absolutely desperate to become pregnant and who have had from one to several IVF attempts. Many of them are interested in doing the herbals because they have heard of a friend or watched a television program that has said they took herbs with IVF and became pregnant. Some doctors however are very leary of the herbs and what they might do to the IVF process. And I have to say, rightly so, there are no formal studies that have looked at what they effect of herbs and IVF medication together could be. But all I can tell you is that we have hundreds of women who have gone through IVF successfully while taking the herbs. When a woman is going through IVF or utilising any assisted reproduction methods we want to know and we want to know when. This way we can remove any herbs that may impact hormone levels such as FSH or estrogen. We cannot and do not utilise concentrated hormones so when an IVF doctor gives you the medication, it takes over your system. Our herbs DO NOT take over the system, as we use small concentrations of herbs and sometimes homeopathics to encourage your body to do what it is supposed to do on its own. We also encourage team work however and if the doctor is adamant about not being on the herbs then we recommend that they be stopped before the injection phase. What are we trying to accomplish with herbs and IVF. In a study in Fertility and Sterility in April 2004 a major medical publication there was a study that showed the total antioxidant capacity of the women correlated with pregnancy rates. That is, the higher the total antioxidant capcity was in the follicular fluid (the fluid the egg grows up in) the more likely a pregnancy would occur. With the herbs we are helping to improve cellular health by improving the antioxidant capacity and general nutrient capacity of the cells which includes the eggs, ovaries and endometrial lining. By doing this we hope to improve the chances of creating a pregnancy with IVF. It is important to note that herbs are plants that have been around for 1000’s of years, way BEFORE there was any fertility issues reported. We also recommend certain supplements for certain people depending on their overall health AND we recommend the best quality supplements to BACK UP the herbs and help improve the nutrients in the system. It is important to see an experienced naturopath to suggest the best possible situation for you but please beware that taking buckets of expensive supplements won’t do the trick if other areas are not appropriately addressed. We do not make anyone buy supplements, we make our suggestions based on our experience and let you decide what is appropriate for you and your pocketbook. For some people, the herbs are enough for a pregnancy to occur and then we may suggest supplements to help keep the baby growing stronger every day. Another question I often hear is I can’t get pregnant because I haven’t gotten pregnant with IVF. THIS IS TOTALLY FALSE unless there is a structural issue or you do not have a partner and are going to be a single parent with a donor sperm. Many many couples when they take a break from the IVF process become pregnant naturally. We see it every week. We believe therefore that you should take breaks between cycles and frozen transfer to allow your body time to recoup and possibly become pregnant naturally. IVF can increase oxidative stress in the system. This has been documented in studies. Oxidative stress means degeneration of the cells, and your eggs, endometrial lining, ovaries, sperm and semen are all made up of cells. The herbs, proper supplementation, and improved gut health are all areas that should be addressed in between IVF attempts to improve your health. Your body needs a break. Your fertility will not drop off drastically in a matter of 3 or 4 months. Dr. Alice Domar, who does not believe in herbal treatment says this on her website at www.bostonivf.com. I have seen couples get pushed in to IVF simply because Clomid didn’t work or there is a low sperm count or some other male fertility factor or the old “unexplained infertility”. In my opinion, a couple dealing with fertility should be given all the options that are out there so they can make an educated decision about what to do next. Instead of being pushed into something, its important that you make an educated decision about what you want. Not a decision out of desperation. Most of a couples desperation comes from their belief that this is it, if this doesn’t work, nothing will. That’s why I am glad that you are registered with this site so you can decide which way you want to go. And at Sharkeys Healing Centre, we work with you either way. Some doctors tell you its us or them and it really doesn’t have to be this way, we can work well together. Remember I think IVF is a wonderful option for many couples, but its not the only option. And your outcome with IVF doesn’t determine your worth or even your ability to have a child. So consider all your options and possibilities and this will bring you closer to receiving what you really want.