Trying To Conceive Myth #6 – Wait for Your Temperature to Raise Before Having Sex*

This myth needs to be put into context before it will make sense to some. Changes in body temperate can indicate the time of ovulation. After ovulation occurs and the egg has already been released, body temperature will increase. The increase in temperature will typically be by about 0.4 degrees. This method requires temperature to be taken first thing after waking each morning. Body temperature is at its lowest when first waking. This allows for standardisation to facilitate comparison between days.

This myth suggests that, in order to increase the chances of a conception, it is best to wait until body temperature increases before having sex. This advice, is not the ideal. When body temperature increases, ovulation has already taken place. This will result in leaving a very small window of opportunity. After being released, an egg will only remain viable for 12 to 24 hours. Is contrast, sperm can last up to five days whilst waiting in place for the egg to be released. Given this, it is therefore better to have sex before the temperature increase. This will widen the window of opportunity and increase the chances of a conception.

You may then ask, what is the benefit of taking temperatures? It can be informative when done over more than one cycle. The historical timing of ovulation can offer a good indicator for the timing of future ovulations.

*This is the sixth of a list of 13 myths concerning conception which was compiled by Dr Minna Geisler from The Waterstone Clinic in Ireland.

Trying To Conceive Myth #5 – Lifting Legs During Sex Helps*

This myth is one which I do not come across often. It suggests that the act of the female lifting her legs during sex will aid conception. To clarify, this myth is assuming the female is laying on her back during intercourse. The lifting of the legs is thought to angle to pelvis so as to enable gravity to assist the sperm to pass through the cervix. There is no solid evidence to support this claim. No posturing of the body during or after sex has been found to facilitate conception.

So, what are the factors which do make a difference? The answer for the men is quality sperm, and for the women, cervical mucus. In order for the sperm to play its role, it needs to be plentiful and be able to move. Sperm count and motility can be easily tested with an andrology test. If both of these are within normal range, it will indicate there are numerous sperm which are capable to making the journey to meet the egg. Cervical mucus is released during the build-up to ovulation. The volume and viscosity changes as ovulation draws nearer. This mucus works as the conduit through which the sperm can swim. Ideally the volume of the cervical mucus will increase (peak) just before ovulation. In addition, the viscosity will change to resemble that of “egg white”.

*This is the fifth of a list of 13 myths concerning conception which was compiled by Dr Minna Geisler from The Waterstone Clinic in Ireland.

Trying To Conceive Myth #4 – Sex Is Best Timed At Ovulation*

I think is not so much of a myth, but a misunderstanding. I am repeatedly amazed by the number of patients, who during an initial consultation, have revealed their lack of understanding in regards to the ideal timing of intercourse. This surprisingly can even still be the case after previous medical consultation. Surely the timing of sex should be first point to be clarified.

To make it clear, it is not best to have sex at the time of ovulation. Instead, it is best to have sex before-hand. Given the right conditions, it is possible for sperm to survive for up to five days inside a woman. On average, with the right conditions of cervical mucus, the sperm is expected to last for three days. In contrast, the egg will only last somewhere between 12 to 24 hours once it is released. Ideally, it is best to have sex before ovulation and have the sperm in place waiting for the arrival of the egg.

The trick then becomes to figure out in advance when ovulation will occur. The most common way to do this is to use an ovulation predictor kit (OPK). These measure the Luteinising Hormone surge which occurs in the process of ovulation. They offer a 24-36-hour warning before the egg is released. OPKs can however be unreliable. You may need to try a couple of brands before you find which is best for you. OPKs are either saliva or urine tests and they can be purchased from pharmacies.

*This is the fourth of a list of 13 myths concerning conception which was compiled by Dr Minna Geisler from The Waterstone Clinic in Ireland.


Trying To Conceive Myth #3 – It Takes Time To Conceive After The Pill*

There is some confusion surrounding the relationship between stopping taking the contraception pill and the speed in which conception is possible. A well-worn myth suggests that it always takes a period of time for the body to readjust. This is often coupled with another myth which suggests the longer the pill had been taken, the longer the length of time required for that readjustment to occur. Neither of these are always correct.

Once the contraceptive pill is no longer taken, it is possible for a conception to occur during the next ovulation. Menstruation will generally occur two to three weeks after the pill is stopped. There is also no evidence to suggest that long-term use of the pill will have any effect on fertility.

Now, this is where things get tricky. The pill can be prescribed for a number of reasons other than to avoid pregnancy. For instance, it can be used to treat the symptoms of endometriosis. Those experiencing endometriosis may suffer dysmenorrhea (period pain) and/or irregular periods. Both of these symptoms can lead to problems with fertility. Those concerned who stop talking the pill, may experience a protracted effort to fall pregnant. This however is not a side effect of the pill, instead it is due to an underlying medical condition.

Cases of post-pill amenorrhea are possible and the extent will vary between women. If you are experiencing difficulty in conceiving after stopping taking the pill, relax and keep trying, then seek medical help when it is advisable for your situation. Be mindful that it takes on average four to five months for a couple to conceive. Moreover, that 85% of couples may take up to one year. 

*This is the third of a list of 13 myths concerning conception which was compiled by Dr Minna Geisler from The Waterstone Clinic in Ireland.

Trying To Conceive Myth #2 – Infertility is Always Due to the Female*

Trying To Conceive Myth #2 – Infertility is Always Due to the Female*

In clinical practice, there tends to be an over emphasis on treating female infertility. Instances occur in which the male can remain untested only for him to be later identified as the greater contributing factor. Approximately one third of infertility cases can be attributed to the male and 7% of the male population will be affected by infertility.

There are a number of causes of male infertility. They are categorised as being either, pre-testicular, testicular or post-testicular. Example of each are as follows:

Pre-testicular: smoking; recreational drugs; alcohol; and strenuous bike riding.

Testicular: age; genetic defects; abnormal chromosomes; trauma; and previous health conditions (cancer, mumps or malaria etc).

Post-testicular: Infection and obstructions.

Sperm quality can be assessed with an andrology test. This generally consists of three main enquires. These are sperm count, morphology and motility.

Sperm count: Measures the concentration of sperm in the semen.

Morphology: Assesses the amount of sperm which are considered to be of normal shape.

Motility: Considers the sperm’s ability to move.

If you are experiencing infertility, it is advisable to consider asking for an andrology test. It is a cheap and easy way to exclude a significant potential cause. Moreover, if a problem is found, it may be easily treated. This is especially true for morphology and motility cases. After approximately three months of treatment, significant improvement can be experienced. In contrast, low sperm count is difficult to treat, but it can be however over-come with assisted reproductive procedures such as ICSI.

*This is the second of a list of 13 myths concerning conception which was compiled by Dr Minna Geisler from The Waterstone Clinic in Ireland.


Trying To Conceive Myth #1 – Getting Pregnant Will Be Easy*

Falling pregnant is not necessarily easy. Given infertility is a topic which is usually not openly discussed, its prevalence in those amongst us, largely goes unnoticed. Consequently, it is more common than many realise. One in six couples in Australia will experience difficulties conceiving. A formal diagnosis of infertility can be given once a couple has been trying for one year without success. Though, on the positive side, most healthy couples manage to conceive within three months of trying.

The causes of infertility can be attributed to factors involving both females and males. 40% of cases are the result of sperm problems, and equally, 40% are due to problems within the female reproductive system. 30% of cases involve issues with both sexes.

A healthy couple has a 20% chance of conceiving in any one given cycle. So, it is more than likely that a few attempts will be required. Given this, when is advisable to seek help? Before racing down the path of treatment, it is best make sure the process of falling pregnant is understood. For example, it is important to know when ovulation occurs and the optimal timing of intercourse. If you are however under the age of 35, it is advisable to seek assistance after one year of trying. Those over 35, should do so after six months. If there is a known condition which may affect fertility, then seeking help sooner is advisable.

*This is the first of a list of 13 myths concerning conception which was compiled by Dr Minna Geisler from The Waterstone Clinic in Ireland.

Trying To Conceive – The Top 13 Myths

After being in clinical practice for a number of years, I have heard a multitude of myths concerning fertility. Some of these may appear to be plausible, whilst others border on the ridiculous. Dr Minna Geisler from The Waterstone Clinic in Ireland has put together a list of the top most frequent fertility myths. In the coming blogs, I have decided to individually address each of these myths and add in a Traditional Chinese Medicine perspective where it is applicable.

Dr Geisler’s list is as follows:

  1. Getting pregnant will be easy
  2. Infertility is always due to a problem with the female
  3. After stopping using the pill, it will take a while to conceive
  4. 4. It is best to have sex at the same time as ovulation
  5. Lifting the legs in the air after sex will increase the chances of conception
  6. 6. It is best to wait for your temperature to raise before having sex
  7. IVF is the only treatment option
  8. Given I already have a child, it is safe to assume it will be easy to conceive again
  9. Relax and take your time, IVF will allow you to conceive at any age
  10. Body weight has no influence on someone’s fertility
  11. Levels of exercise have no effect on fertility
  12. Stress does not play a role in infertility
  13. Only women need to take folic acid.

Fertility Treatment: One Size Does Not Fit All

Fertility TreatmentPatients, who have been successfully treated, regularly refer others who are experiencing the same problem. This on this surface seems straightforward. Common sense suggests that if a condition can be treated easily for one patient, then it can also be easily treated for another. This however is not necessarily the case.

Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine are by nature highly idiosyncratic. This means there are a multitude of variables involved in its application. Effective treatment requires specific custom designed acupuncture and/or herbal medicine prescriptions which exactly match each patient’s individual situation.

To add further difficulty, Chinese Medicine is an effective energetic medicine. The system of diagnosis is designed to identify the underlying energetic imbalance which is causing the illness/symptoms.

All this leads to a somewhat unusual situation. A condition, as we understand it in western medical science, can be caused by more than one energetic imbalance. So, two patients who presented with, for example an absence of a menstruation could be successfully treated using very different approaches. To add to the complexity, one of these patients may have received a treatment very similar to someone else who was experiencing a totally different condition (such anxiety and depression). There is a saying in Chinese Medicine which translates to say, there are multiple approaches to treat a single condition, and there are multiple conditions which can be treated with the one approach.

Given this, it is easy to see how treatment outcomes can be very different between two friends who seek treatment for what appears to be the same fertility problem. If you are interested in finding out how acupuncture and/or Chinese Herbal Medicine can help you conceive, phone Dr Kirk Wilson (PhD) on 9231 3377.

Trying To Conceive: The Need For Closure

Depositphotos_37593465_xsTrying to conceive can be a difficult journey. There is no more difficult time compared to when you have run out of treatment options. Each IVF clinic has their cut off age where they no longer recommend treatment. If age is not your concern, then there are only so many IVF cycles you can undergo until your doctor will recommend alternatives such as a donor. The donor option is one that does not rest well with everyone. So, what is the answer? Are there other options? Is there any hope? Can someone feel comfortable with giving up knowing other treatment options were not attempted?

The Fertility & IVF Acupuncture Clinic sees many patients who are confronted with these difficult questions. These patients are recommended to undertake a treatment program which is designed to test if any improvement is possible. A commitment of about five to six months is ideal, though there is no pressure to see it through. If a patient feels they have resigned themselves to not conceiving, they do not need to offer any explanation to cease treatment. In the absence of a positive outcome, the next best goal is to assist the patient in realising they have done all they could. This no doubt will reduce future regrets and second-guessing.

If you are having difficulty conceiving and/or you are running out of treatment options, consider acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine. Dr Kirk Wilson (PhD) from the Fertility & IVF Acupuncture offers no obligation consolations for those who are considering treatment. To make an appointment phone 9231 3377.

Trying To Conceive: Patience Is A Virtue

patienceOne of the most difficult parts of trying to conceive is having the patience to see it through until a positive outcome is achieved. Health professionals who treat infertility address this problem with their patients on a daily basis. Feelings of frustration are no doubt exacerbated by the fact that by the time most couples have sought treatment, they are already fed up with trying. Patients at the Fertility & IVF Acupuncture Clinic are encouraged to hold strong and press on with their treatment, for two main reasons. These include:

Time Needed To Correct An Imbalance
Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine are treatments which are designed to rectify energetic imbalances. This can take time. It is thought that the longer the energetic imbalance has been present, the more treatment will be required. Given these energetic imbalances often manifest as subclinical symptoms, most patients are unaware of how long the imbalance has been present. This can lead to an uncertain time horizon for treatment.

Probability Of Conception
Once the acupuncture and/or herbal medicine has reinstated an energetic balance, time is still required to conceive. A healthy woman has a one in five (20%) chance of falling pregnant in any given menstrual cycle. Despite being balanced and healthy, a run of unlucky probability may mean a positive pregnancy test may take time.

If you are having trouble conceiving and you would like to find out if acupuncture and/or Chinese Medicine could help, please phone Dr Kirk Wilson (PhD) on 9231 3377.