In male-female couples seeking help for infertility, I always recommend that both partners receive naturopathic care. There are a number of distinct reasons for this.
1. Male factor infertility is just as common as female factor infertility. Even with a normal semen analysis, other male health factors can affect pregnancy outcomes.
2. Over time, the ‘normal’ cutoff for semen analysis criteria has been lowered repeatedly. In other words, a normal semen analysis today would have been below normal a decade ago. In my opinion, this means that there is room for improvement even when the semen analysis has come back within normal limits.
3. Dad’s health contributes to baby’s health. We focus a lot on creating healthy pregnancies because we know that a healthy mom helps grow a healthy baby. More and more evidence is revealing that even though the father does not gestate the baby, his health at the time of conception can influence the health of the child.
4. It is easier to adopt lifestyle changes when you do it as a team. I often recommend changes that can be difficult to adopt, like eating more vegetables, or going to bed earlier. When both partners are making changes together, it is a lot easier. Feeling like a team helps both partners face the uncertainties of infertility feeling more resilient.
The historical focus on infertility as a woman’s problem has produced a huge amount of shame for women. We all need to work together to dispel the myth that infertility is the fault of any one person.
Dr. Andrea Hilborn is a naturopathic doctor in Kingston, Ontario