Melbourne Naturopath and Acupuncturist Dr Miranda Myles is passionate about working with couples in the management of their fertility issues. Miranda is dedicated to help couples achieve optimal physical and emotional health prior to conception. Miranda provides a beautifully supportive and nurturing environment to allow you to reach your optimal health goals, to enable you to achieve a successful conception, pregnancy and baby.
Its ironic isn’t it, for most of us during our active sexual lives, as teenagers and young adults, we are concerned with trying not to get pregnant. Then, when the time comes that we want to start our beautiful family, it becomes difficult. Statistically, approximately 1 in 6 Australian couples of reproductive age are affected by some sort of fertility issue, or infertility, defined as the inability to conceive after 12 months of “trying” or unprotected sex. The causes may include problems with reproductive function or structure, problems with sperm or egg production, hormonal or immune conditions. The issues are more often than not a combination of both male and female factors; neither gender is more responsible or more affected by reproductive issues.
Fertility and your ability to conceive is absolutely correlated to your overall health; a healthy body and mind can help boost your chances of getting pregnant. With this in mind, a 3-4 month period of preconception health care is ideal in treatment. Preconception health care includes the identification of any underlying issues that may be interfering with your health, the quality of sperm and eggs, and thus your ability to successfully conceive. Miranda will design specific programs that are combinations of natural medicine techniques including nutritional medicine, dietary advice, herbal medicine, lifestyle advice and acupuncture is to help improve sperm and egg quality and reproductive health.
Learn the “right time”
Miranda is dedicated to helping you understand your menstrual cycle, ovulation, and the imperative elements for reproductive health. This is not taught is school, and many women do not understand their cycles. Miranda will teach you to track your cycle, interpret mucous and temperature changes, how to know if and when you are ovulating, and how to predict the best time to have sex for optimal success. She will teach you about the most fertile (and infertile) times of your cycle. Understanding the infertile times is important for contraception, and as such you may actually be “trying” at the wrong times! Generally speaking, most women think that mid cycle is the right time (or when they are told so by their smart phone app! Believe me, (smart phones are not that smart!), and this is not always the case. For some women they may ovulate as early as day 9, or as late as day 17, depending on the variable length of their individual cycle. You may be surprised to learn that ovulation is variable month by month, depending on which ovary is up that month.
Your cycle also provides invaluable information about your hormones. It also gives us the opportunity to track how well your treatment is working. As your cycle changes, so do your hormones. The more regular the cycle, the more balanced are your hormones which in turn, increases your chances of successful conception.
Learning how to recognsie your natural signs of fertility; how to “read the signs” for conception and contraception is empowering for all women and allows you to take control of your fertility. Miranda and her team is there with you every step of the way to support you on this journey.
For some couples this may be enough to help them achieve a successful pregnancy.
Known & Unexplained Fertility Issues
For other couples it may be more complicated than that. Miranda and her team will address your specific “infertility” and reproductive circumstances, and will design specific treatment plans for you. Miranda has extensive experience in the treatment of both known fertility issues (those that have been diagnosed medically), and elusive “unexplained infertility”. Such issues may include:
- Gynaecological complaints including menstrual irregularities, PMT, endometriosis, fibroids, ovarian cysts & PCOS & adenomyosis
- Amenorrhea (no periods), dysmenorrhea (painful periods), menorrhagia (heavy periods)
- Disorders with ovulation & irregular cycles
- Premature menopause
- Sub-optimal egg quality (as may be seen in older women trying to get pregnant)
- Hormonal imbalances including oestrogen, progesterone, testosterone, FSH, LH, androgens
- Elevated natural killer cells
- Low AMH
- Low sperm count, motility, morphology, DNA quality, DNA fragmentation
- Immune dysregulation
Other couples may choose to seek conventional assisted reproductive techniques such as fertility drugs, IVF or ICSI to help them achieve their fertility goals. If this does become the next step, it is important to know it does not need to be a “one or another” choice. Miranda is experienced working in conjunction with both IVF/ART technologies and fertility specialists. With her own IVF experiences, Miranda can help guide and support you, help you continue to strive for optimal health, continue to improve sperm and egg quality and help manage the stress and potential disappointment.
The Male Factor
Fertility issues are equally shared between both partners; no one gender is more responsible than the other. Statistically, in 40% of couples the cause of infertility is a sperm factor, 40% is a female issue, and the remainder is a combination of both male and female factors.
In men, issues may include problems with the production and/or function of sperm, a structural problem in the reproductive system, hormonal or immune dysfunction.
It is understandable that men may not realise how critical their contribution to a happy, healthy baby is. Sperm provides half of your babies DNA, their essence, their essential being. The healthier the sperm, the higher the probability of not only conceiving, but also creating a strong, vital, healthy baby; something every parent desires.
Super fast “formula 1” sperm
The fastest swimmers may find the egg in as little as 45 minutes whilst the slowest may take up to 12 hours. Historically, it has been believed that the fastest swimmers must be the strongest and therefore the best. However, speed (motility) and sperm count are not indicators of sperm quality.
Sperm are quite vulnerable and fragile and approximately 90% of infertility in males is attributable to low sperm counts, poor sperm quality or both. The remaining cases of male infertility may be anatomical, hormonal imbalances or genetic defects.
There are many factors that are known to interfere with sperm quality and inhibit conception including diet, lifestyle factors such as smoking and drinking, environmental toxins & chemicals (that may be associated with career/work), stress, illness & poor immunity, weight, age, genetics and heat (sperm like the cold).
The health and quality of sperm impacts not only the ability to conceive, but also a healthy, successful pregnancy and baby. In other words, poor quality sperm has been linked to:
- Reduced ability to fertilse an egg
- Poor development of the embryo
- Increased miscarriage rates
- Increased birth defects
- Subsequent childhood illnesses eg allergies, asthma, autism, etc
Understanding your specific and evolving needs to help you achieve and maintain a healthy body and mind are at the forefront of Miranda’s approach to Men’s health. Stress, poor sleep, fatigue and seemingly unexplained weight gain; commonly are early signs of functional hormonal changes and nutritional deficiencies. We will encourage and support you to address health issues as they arise, to help prevent further symptoms, and enable you to achieve and maintain optimum health. Approximately three-four months is the ideal time to achieve optimum preconception health care for both intending parents. This is because it takes about 100 days for both sperm and egg formation and maturation.
Melbourne Naturopath and Acupuncturist Dr Miranda Myles has worked extensively with men to address their specific fertility issues, including:
- Problems with sperm count, motility, morphology and quality.
- Sperm DNA quality and fragmentation
- Impotence/erectile dysfunction
- Premature ejaculation
- Prostate conditions such as benign prostatic hyperplasia
- Libido issues, both physical and emotional
- Hormonal imbalances
- Genito-urinary infections and STDs
- Immune disorders
- Age-related fertility issues
- Stress, mood disorders & fatigue that may all affect your fertility
Miranda’s approach is warm and gentle. She will design a specific, tailored program that specifically addresses your needs to improve fertility outcomes. Her treatments are extraordinarily effective in addressing male fertility and related issues such as stress, include the use of nutritional supplements and dietary advice, lifestyle recommendations, herbal medicine and acupuncture.
Her treatments are appropriate for use in conjunction with IVF/ART technologies (including ICSI- intra cytoplasmic sperm injection), and in fact will help to increase the chances of success. Addressing sperm issues with natural medicine options prior to IVF, will improve the number of best quality sperm to choose from.
Acupuncture & Fertility
Our health practitioners recommend acupuncture as an adjunct to fertility & IVF treatments to help you achieve the best chance of conception. Acupuncture may be beneficial in a wide range of male and female fertility issues. It may be used to help regulate hormones & menstrual cycle, increase blood flow to the uterus preparing the uterine lining for implantation and subsequent pregnancy, and improve egg & sperm quality. Stress, anxiety and sleep may all be improved with acupuncture.
Acupuncture can be used at any time during your IVF process. We especially recommend it during the following key times:
- Prior to IVF to increase general health, blood circulation & fertility (Ideally once or twice per week for 4-6 weeks)
- Acupuncture can be used throughout the IVF process to help with side effects such as anxiety, nausea, bloating, hot flushes, fatigue, insomnia etc.
- Following egg collection to aid recovery
- Pre and post transfer (preferably within a 24 hour period both pre and post transfer) The protocol points used have been shown to increase chances of pregnancy rates by up to 65% – British Medical Journal, 2008. According to Dr Caroline Smith from Adelaide University Fertility Clinic, women who receive Acupuncture at transfer during IVF may be twice as likely to achieve pregnancy
- During the first trimester of pregnancy to help circulation to the uterus, immunity and general health (Ideally once or twice per week for the first 12 weeks).
- For male health, including general health and sperm quality
- From week 34 of pregnancy to help prepare you for birth, and relax both body and mind.
Dr Miranda Myles and our practitioners offer expert IVF support. We take an holistic approach to your health & fertility, discussing your lifestyle, diet & nutrition, and are happy to consult with your GP, Fertility & IVF Specialists.