Holistic fertility overview
- Holistic fertility is an approach to male and female infertility issues that considers the mind, spirit, body, emotions and lifestyle factors as key to maximizing one’s natural fertility.
- Holistic fertility aims to properly balance the spiritual, emotional, physical and mental aspects of one’s life to aid in natural fertility or fertility treatments.
- The primary methods used to achieve holistic fertility are acupuncture, meditation, yoga, dietary adjustments, weight loss and stress management.
What is holistic fertility?
Holistic fertility is a specific extension of the principle of holistic medicine, which holds that a person’s whole health is affected by his or her mind, spirit, body, emotions and lifestyle. If one of those aspects is out of balance, then the individual’s whole health—including fertility—will be out of balance.
A major appeal of holistic fertility is that a patient can adopt such practices on his or her own. Most elements of holistic fertility are also part of what is called “complementary and alternative medicine” (CAM). For more information on CAM, please visit the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health website.
Our physicians advise interested male and female infertility patients on holistic fertility practices. They can also provide resources for acupuncture, weight loss, stress management and nutrition.
A drawback to holistic fertility methods is that there isn’t a large body of research supporting effectiveness, though the number of studies investigating the benefits of holistic fertility practices is increasing. Male and female infertility patients should consult their physician or integrative medicine specialist before undertaking holistic fertility practices.
Guidelines for holistic fertility
At Loma Linda University Center for Fertility, we believe a patient’s general health is greatly affected by his or her lifestyle choices. Such choices are an integral aspect of holistic fertility practices.
General guidelines regarding holistic fertility practices include the following.
- Stress is an aspect of fertility treatment, affecting some individuals more than others, and some holistic fertility practices can reduce and help manage stress:
- Stress management initiatives, either individual efforts or through professional counseling.
- Acupuncture has been proven to reduce stress, and it is often appropriate for patients undergoing fertility treatment.
- Acupuncture prior to embryo transfer and afterward improves uterine blood flood and can increase pregnancy rates.
- Nutrition and diet can directly affect fertility treatment outcomes and resulting pregnancies.
- Some dietary supplements have been proven to be helpful, such as prenatal vitamins with folic acid for women, but we recommend that our patients not take other supplements unless requested to by another doctor.
- Certain dietary choices are associated with an improved chance of conceiving. Current research suggests simple adjustments in dietary choices may be more important to your chances of pregnancy than taking medication. We’d be happy to review these important concepts with you.
- Maintaining a healthy body weight can also increase your chances of becoming pregnant.
- Losing weight if you are overweight, or gaining weight if you are underweight, can help restore correct hormone levels and other body factors related to fertility.
What are the risks of holistic fertility?
The holistic fertility practice that carries the most potential risk is the dietary addition of nutritional supplements. We recommend obtaining your doctor’s advice and approval before starting nutritional supplements, as some supplements can be harmful to your fertility.
For example, while some studies show that zinc supplements improve the health of a male’s sperm, other studies indicate that excessive zinc can damage sperm motility and its capability to fertilize an egg.