- Fertility & Reproductive Systems
Low ovarian reserve, early menopause, high fsh levels and pregnancy at 40! How to reverse infertility and rebalance horm
Holistic solutions to improving your chances of having a baby
If you are reading this, then chances are that you have found yourself in a similar situation to where I was in December 2008...
At the time my journey into fertility began, I was in my late 30's. I had realised that if I wanted to have a child, it was going to have to be "now or never". I was busy relocating to the Netherlands from Cape Town, South Africa. My husband and I had decided that we would start trying for a baby as soon as possible after moving.
Unlike most couples with fertility issues, we hadn't yet even tried to fall pregnant. Because of my age, I went to a renowned fertility clinic in Cape Town, just to check what was actually going on with my body. I had always had the regular gynecological check-ups, but I wanted to see what was really going on.
I never expected the bad news - the worst possible news, delivered at 8am on Christmas Eve: "I'm sorry, but your test results confirm that you have NO eggs left, you are in premature menopause and your only options of having a baby are either a donor egg or adoption..."
I fainted from the shock and when I came round, I found a nurse standing there, stroking my cheek with a cup of tea. She said: "...you will go through a mourning period and when you are ready, you can chat to the doctor about the donor egg program..." I said; "I'm sorry, I don't believe it, that's ridiculous. I WILL have a baby. I have to get out of here right now!" I drove to my parent's home in tears.
The first thing my mother said to me was: "Don't buy the bad news!" "Don't believe it." And we got onto the internet and started doing research and taking action.Taking action makes you feel much better. It immediately takes you out of the victim role and puts you into survival mode! (Story continued at the end...)
Some valuable information:
This is what I found, after doing loads of research. The medical profession was offering no solutions. They gave me no hope of having a baby with my own egg, so I looked further... If you are in the same situation I was in, I strongly recommend everything that I did, as it worked for me. Please still do your own research and do what you think is best for yourself. This is just a recommendation. It is up to you to decide what to do with the information!
1. Acupuncture has been very successful in helping women with fertility issues, including low ovarian reserve or premature ovarian failure. I immediately found a good Chinese acupuncturist who knew a lot about fertility, and started going for sessions. The sessions lasted for about 45 minutes and involved very fine needles being inserted into my head, face, knees, ankles, wrists and ovaries. I went about twice a week in the beginning and then once a week after the first month.
Acupuncture is based on the ancient Chinese philosophy that a balance in the body’s energy flow - known as chi, is needed in order to stay healthy. Acupuncture, often combined with herbal medicine, has been used for centuries to treat numerous fertility disorders
Based on the particular problem you’re experiencing, different point combinations are stimulated using acupuncture needles. By stimulating these points, energy flow is rebalanced and the natural healing ability can take place.
For fertility, the needles are inserted into energy points associated to the reproductive organs to improve energy flow and balance to those areas. It is shown that it can increase blood flow to the endometrium, helping to facilitate a thick, rich lining.
Most women who choose acupuncture are doing it together with traditional infertility treatments, but others hope that acupuncture might improve their chances after everything else has failed.
Acupuncture is used to treat elevated follicle stimulating hormone (FSH), repeated miscarriage, unexplained infertility, polycystic ovarian syndrome, endometriosis, as well as numerous other infertility problems.
2. DHEA was being used very successfully by top fertility doctors in America, for this particular issue. DHEA, the mild male hormone dehydroepiandrosterone is a supplement, which has been used for a number of years in women with diminished ovarian reserve from either premature ovarian failure or advanced age. DHEA has had a remarkable rejuvenating effect on the ovaries.Some of these effects include:
- Increased egg and embryo counts
- Improved egg and embryo quality
- Increased chromosomally normal embryos
- Increased number of embryos for transfer in IVF
- Accelerated time to pregnancy in fertility treatment
- Increased spontaneously conceived pregnancies
- Improved IVF pregnancy rate
- Decreased miscarriage rate
- Improved overall feeling
- Better memory
Fertility clinics in the U.S. , but specifically a clinic in New York, The Center for Human Reproduction, CHR, have been using and carefully monitoring side effects of this medication. They have been impressed by how rarely even the most common side effects, such as oily skin, acne and hair loss, seem to occur. “We, however, have been even more surprised that quite often what we really heard were anything but side effects; indeed, many more patients than complained about side effects, commented to us how much better overall DHEA supplementation makes them feel.”
I started using 50mgs per day of DHEA - one tablet in the morning and one at night. I couldn't find anyone who could tell me how much to take per day, as it is supposed to be recommended by a doctor, but most doctors are not aware of the benefits and don't even know about DHEA. I was told it was all "pie in the sky" when I mentioned it to one of the doctors I saw. I then watched a video about DHEA, where the woman involved had sucessfully had a baby after taking 75 mgs of DHEA for 4 months, so I upped my dosage to 75mgs per day. I experienced no side-effects, although I believe you can have increased facial hair growth and acne! I didn't care, I wanted a baby! You will read all sorts of negative, as well as positive things about DHEA. The bottom line is that there is no concrete scientific proof that it works or doesn't work. It is up to you whether you try it or not. I think that it is a miracle in a bottle!
3. Reflexology was the next thing I tried. I visited a reflexologist, who specialises in fertility, once a week. She massaged my feet, focusing on the ovarian area and the fallopian tubes. She also did lymph drainage up my legs. This is also a good way to relax and destress. Stress being another cause of infertility!
4. Additional herbs and supplements I tried were Agnus Castus, to lower my FSH levels. It really seemed to work, but not sure if it was that or the DHEA or a combination of everything. My levels went down from an initial 35.5 to a 9 the following month and then to a 4! Really incredible - especially after being told that there was nothing I could do to lower them.
I also took some Chinese herbs to help purify my liver as I was told by my Chinese acupuncturist that my liver energy was low. I took these in tablet form, but only used it for about 2 months.
5. Progesterone cream also seemed to help. This I used once a day in the mornings initially and I continued it right up until the 3rd month of pregnancy as has also been known to assist in the prevention of miscarriages in the first trimester.
There has been a lot of research into the use of progesterone cream for increased fertilty.This research focuses on the luteal phase defect, whereby using progesterone cream from ovulation to menstruation, enhances the natural progesterone the body produces and can significantly increase the likelihood of pregnancy.
Modern science confirms that progesterone is the most essential hormone necessary to the survival of the fertilized egg and the foetus throughout gestation. Progesterone regulates the entire endocrine system, and low levels of progesterone can make the entire body can seem out of balance. Progesterone causes the basal body temperature to rise and helps the uterus lining to thicken, in order for a fertilized egg to impant. Use of progesterone cream, especially during the first trimester, helps to prevent miscarriage, preterm labour and premature birth. Progesterone is also used to help prevent pre and post natal depression. Common symptoms of progesterone deficiency include PMS, thyroid dysfunction, low libido, infertility, pregnancy and premature menopausal symptoms.
It is important to note that you should use an all-natural progesterone cream, as it will cause fewer side effects and therefore safely increase your chance of pregnancy.
My story continued:
After doing all these things, and having moved to the Netherlands, I decided to see another fertility specialist. He seemed a lot more positive initially, especially after seeing that my FSH levels had gone down substantially. I then proceeded to go through a whole number of fertility tests, a repeat of what I had already gone through in South Africa, as well as a number of new tests. Now feeling a lot more positive, I was not expecting the news that I received next!
"I'm very sorry, but your test results indicate that you are not a candidate for IVF, as we are not sure how many eggs you have and we don't think that you will respond to hormone treatment. There is, however a very slim chance that you could fall pregnant naturally, as your FSH levels have dropped". I was of course again devastated. I really thought that after everything I had been doing, that I would at least now have a chance of starting an IVF program. I started looking at other fertility clinics as options...
At this time, I started to feel different. My instinct told me I was pregnant. I did two pregnancy tests, which were both negative. Very disappointing, but as I was still feeling a bit strange and had noticed some changes in my body, I decided to do one last test, on the morning of my 40th birthday... POSITIVE!!!! I was pregnant! What an incredible birthday gift from God!
I still sometimes can't believe the journey I went on in order to be where I am right now. I am so blissfully happy in my new life in Amsterdam and now have a beautiful, healthy baby boy - Kai, born in January 2010. What an incredible blessing!
The human body has an incredible ability to heal itself, along with the grace of God and natural medicine, a positive attitude and the incredible love and support of family and friends.
For more information and tips on holistic treatments for fertility, or to purchase my book, please visit my website at: www.simplefertilitysecrets.com