When Raylene de Villiers consulted with fertility astrologer Nicola Smuts she was prepared for the fact she may never become a mother.
“I was pretty desperate, and at the point where I just wanted to have an indication of whether I would ever be able to get pregnant,” says Raylene, who lives in Johannesburg, South Africa. “I didn’t really have an opinion about astrology but I was quite open to trying it.” Her husband Jacques, though, was not as keen. “He thought it would be a long story about nothing,” she admits.
Up to that point, the couple had trodden a familiar route navigated by so many. For them, it had been a four-year struggle to become parents. Both had fertility problems: Raylene had polycystic ovary syndrome, while her husband’s sperm quality was poor. After three failed rounds of intrauterine insemination, they had initially tried IVF with their own eggs and sperm. Unfortunately, the first round failed and a second ended in miscarriage. After the third and fourth rounds were unsuccessful and tests showed chromosomal abnormalities, Raylene and Jacques were advised to use donor eggs. Sadly, two further rounds of IVF with donor eggs also failed.
In 2009 they were considering further fertility treatment with both donor eggs and sperm. But after Raylene and Jacques (who were then both 30) spoke with fertility astrologer Nicola in September of that year, those plans were overturned immediately.
“Nicola said my husband’s once-in-a-lifetime opportunity was coming up in April 2010,” says Raylene. Such a defining statement took confused as to why we were using donor eggs at all; she said she did not foresee that I would need donor eggs.”
It was a ray of light, a beam of hope for the couple. Heeding Nicola’s words, they switched fertility clinics (as their original clinic insisted they use donor gametes) and tried again using their own eggs and sperm at the selected astrologically auspicious moment. To their amazement, this time IVF worked and Raylene gave birth to three baby girls: Amelie, Elyssa and Genevieve, on December 6, 2010. Had fertility astrology solved four years of pain?
With triplets, Raylene and Jacques thought their family was complete. However, Nicola advised Raylene to be aware that in May 2012 she would be very fertile. “I didn’t really take this to heart,” she laughs, but in June 2012, after weeks of sickness – which was originally thought to be a lingering bout of gastroenteritis – and a couple of trips to the hospital, Raylene discovered she was pregnant, naturally. Her son, Ethan, was born on February 6, 2013.
Raylene and Jacques are one of the thousands of couples who have been helped by a fertility astrologer, and the practice is as prevalent now as it has ever been. Of course, it’s a method that divides opinion – some refuse to believe the outer elements of the sky can dictate the inner workings of our bodies, and scientific research doesn’t help to bring about any conclusive answer either way. For others, it is a holistic method every bit as valuable and worthy of being embraced as yoga, herbal medicine, hypnotherapy and acupuncture – after all astrology is defined as a technique for the study of life cycles.
First practising fertility astrology 15 years ago, Nicola Smuts now lives and works in the UK. Her clientele, who consult with her via Skype, is global and varied.
“You don’t have to be a believer in astrology to benefit,” she is quick to state, speaking exclusively to Fertility Road. “Astrology is not a belief system; you could be a raving atheist, you could be Richard Dawkins, and it would still work!” Indeed, she notes that many of her clients are, initially, sceptics.
Many fertility astrologers will work in similar ways. For Nicola, the process begins with an hour-long Skype consultation, asking couples to provide their natal data: the precise time, date and location of their birth. From this, an astrologer will draw up each person’s birth horoscope or chart, and it is the analysis of these charts that provide the information regarding the couples’ chances of becoming parents.
However, a reading can be possible based on just one individual’s data if, for example, one person doesn’t have this information, or as is sometimes the case, one half of the couple is unaware that their partner is consulting an astrologer.
“It is more important to have the woman’s data,” Nicola continues. “Quite often women come to me and their husbands don’t know it; although sometimes the husband’s birth time can be good enough.” She points to Raylene and Jacques’ story: “It was his chart that was extremely strong; it was his chart that was shouting out.”
The first part of any consultation is about elucidating any medical conditions affecting fertility: hormonal factors, egg quality, the condition of the uterus and fallopian tubes, the nature of the sperm in terms of quality, count and chromosomal abnormalities. This is to illuminate any conditions that the couple might not have thought to test for.
Through conversation and dialogue clients can then come to an agreement with their fertility astrologer about the best way to proceed. This may be, for example, focusing in on the use of a particular fertility treatment, such as ICSI or donor gametes.
The second part of the consultation focuses on the ‘lucky times’ for the would-be parents – the times when it is most auspicious to try to conceive. “Most people only have three lucky times a year,” explains Nicola. “I will figure out when these three key fertility moments occur during the next three years, and these are the times when they should focus on getting pregnant.”
Sometimes the news about when to try comes as a surprise. One client, recalls Nicola, was very shocked when she advised her that her next ‘lucky time’ was four to five weeks away. “I said, ‘This is the best chance of your life’ and she had to shift everything.” The effort was worthwhile though when the astrological timing proved successful.
Nicola is open about the astrological techniques she uses – for each astrologer it may be different. She looks, she says, at the movements of the planet Jupiter, which is traditionally associated with good fortune and expansion. She then notes when Jupiter makes connections with key planets and points in a client’s birth horoscope: together these provide the basis for timing conception.
Not all clients want to know about the astrology behind the ‘lucky times’ though. “For some it is important, but I always ask how much astrology they want to hear. Not everyone wants to know the science; they’re just focused on the instruction that it provides.”
At the end of a consultation with a fertility astrologer, clients will be sent their astrological notes.
For some people, facing irreversible infertility, the news about their chances of conceiving may not be welcome. “I cannot help people who don’t have a uterus, or a particular medical condition, but I can talk about what might be their path, perhaps adoption,” says Nicola.
Looking at their horoscopes, she will assess the degree to which problems are solvable but, as she notes, it can also be what approach clients are prepared to take – a chart may suggest donor eggs or sperm may be the best option, but this may not be acceptable.
“I don’t exclude miracles and I like to keep the window open, but I do warn people if they have extreme difficulties. For those clients I’m very clear and say ‘you do realise we are talking miracle category here; you must be very realistic’.”
Indeed, one of the hardest parts of the job for any fertility astrologer is when having to advise a client that their chances of getting pregnant in the coming months or years are not good. Having already experienced years of heartbreak and waiting, being told to not have treatment for a period of time can be hard to take.
This was the scenario Nicola faced when Raylene de Villiers’ sister Lyndall Stols came to see her. Raylene, now a happy mum, had paid for her sister to consult with Nicola, when Lyndall too encountered fertility problems.
“Lyndall presented with infertility, not identical issues to Raylene, but more complex – her chart was much worse off than her sister’s. She asked, ‘Do the same thing for me as you did for Raylene’. I had to say, ‘It’s not going to happen for two years’, and she was devastated.”
Despite the advice, Lyndall did try IVF during those two years, but was not successful. However, another two years on, when she and her husband Dennis-Lee tried in the propitious time selected for them – spring 2014 – she did conceive, also with triplets. Benjamin, Olivia and Grace were born on November 18, 2014.
Regarding the number of babies she’s helped bring into the world, Nicola says, “I really, really don’t know how many there are.” Like many fertility astrologers, she will not contact clients after a consultation, so only finds out if her astrological counsel has helped if they come back to her. What’s true though is she has a picture collage of smiling babies on her wall.
She’s also acutely aware of astrology’s reputation within the general public today, and that many who work in the medical profession dismiss what she is doing. It is a battle against perception that any form of astrology faces, and the simple answer is to let those who participate in it make their own minds up. For all that, however, astrologers still have many supporters within the fertility community, and across the world they can be found working in collaboration with doctors and fertility clinics.
And Raylene de Villiers, who is a scientist by background, admits that she is sometimes reluctant to reveal astrology’s role in how her children came into the world. “It depends who I’m talking to,” she says. “I have told a couple of people, but I do find that some people are afraid, or get a bit weird about fortune telling.”
Her advice for anyone considering consulting a fertility astrologer is to cast aside those rational doubts. “I would say definitely go for it, 100%. I’m a big believer now, and have the evidence to prove it.”
Conception Is A Natural Process
Mike Berkley was the first acupuncturist in the United States to specialise in the care and treatment of infertility. He has been treating individuals for 21 years. Mike is known and well respected by reproductive endocrinologists, gynaecologists and acupuncturists throughout the world. He has lectured extensively; is a member of, and certified by the American Board of Oriental Medicine, the NCCAOM as well as the American Society for Reproductive Medicine. He sees patients from St. Barnabus, NYU, Weill Cornell, The Sher Institute, Batzofin Fertility Services, Columbia Presbyterian, RMA, New hope, Neway and numerous other prestigious reproductive medical centres in New York City, New Jersey and Long Island. He has an extensive knowledge of acupuncture, herbal medicine and Western reproductive medicine.
He is the Founder and Director, The Berkley Centre for Reproductive Medicine. Here he gives his candid views on the importance of acupuncture and herbal medicine in the fertility process.
Conception, pregnancy and birth need to be viewed as a process.
Conception, pregnancy and birth need to be viewed as a process. One definition of the process is, “a series of actions, changes, or functions bringing about a result”. In my view, any natural process is better in every way than an artificial one. A good example is cooking. There is the process of cooking which is a slow, mindful act and there is microwave cooking which is basically a non-participatory act without natural process. There is no relationship between the chef and the outcome of the meal. Which meal tastes better? Just as important, which is healthier to eat?
The process of conception is quite complicated and requires the perfect balance and function of many components all working in a coordinated and harmonious fashion. Sperm must be attracted to the egg, it must find it and then it must penetrate it. Both egg and sperm are required to be of the highest quality. The lining must have qualitative integrity. The embryo must find the lining and must be able to penetrate it. The placenta must develop and nourish the developing foetus and rid the foetus of waste matter. The placenta must protect the foetus from immunological attack. The cytokines, proteins, immune function, blood flow, glycoproteins, hormones must all be in balance and not under or over functioning. There must be the absence of pathological mitigators which can contribute to infertility or promote miscarriage. Each and every player in the orchestra of conception must be in tune. One sour note and pregnancy will not occur, or miscarriage will ensue.
A viable conception, pregnancy and birth all follow this distinct process.
Chinese medicine which consists mainly of acupuncture and herbal medicine does not work by adding to that which is deficient or reducing that which is in excess; Western medicine is good at that. For example, a common practice in treating a deficiency syndrome, i.e., hypothyroidism is to ADD Synthroid. Or a common method at reducing excess insulin is by prescribing Metformin. These medicines which add, suppress or reduce have changed the face of civilization. Without the intervention of Western medicine and surgery our life-span would probably not exceed 40 years of age and eight million babies would not have been born as a result of IVF. How many couples, however, have remained childless even though they have undergone multiple IVFs? I am guessing more than six million.
Here is why: Just as a microwave oven can cook a meal, IVF can create a baby. But, as the microwave does not supplant the relationship between the chef and the food and the process of creating a meal, IVF cannot, in all its glory, in all cases, replace the natural process which is necessary to occur for conception and a take-home-baby to ensue.
Acupuncture and herbal medicine are essentially used to create a state as close to homeostasis as possible. Homeostasis is when everything in the body and mind work perfectly. Obviously, this is not attainable. But, acupuncture and herbs attempt this and through their intervention a greater state of systemic and psycho-emotional health can be, and invariably is, achieved. This is why in many cases, acupuncture and herbs work to help one achieve pregnancy when IVF fails.
I believe the greater one’s physical and psycho-emotional health is, the more likely they will be able to conceive and deliver.
Based upon twenty-one years of clinical experience in the field of infertility it is my professional opinion that the best-case scenario for the infertile patient is to utilize Western medicine in conjunction with acupuncture and herbal medicine. The reason for this is quite simple. When the reproductive endocrinologist retrieves eggs and fertilizes them with sperm the resulting embryo is as good as its constituent components; the egg and sperm. Most IVFs that fail, do so because of poor egg quality and/or poor sperm quality. The reproductive endocrinologist invariably cannot improve egg or sperm quality; acupuncture and herbs invariably can.
I saw a thirty four year old patient today. She has conceived three times with intercourse only to miscarry each time. She did get pregnant and delivered a baby as a result of insemination. She then had one subsequent failed IVF treatment. Now her doctor has recommended donor egg with IVF. The patient has cold hands and feet, a pale complexion, low energy and gets dizzy. Obviously, she has poor hemodynamics.
Blood is what carries FSH and LH from the brain to the ovaries; blood nourishes the endometrial lining; blood carries oxygen, electrolytes and nutrition to the entire reproductive system and removes waste matter from the reproductive environment. When cells die which they constantly do, they are ‘eaten’ up by macrophages. If the immune function is not functioning normally and debris is not removed, the outer layer of the dead cells breach and the internal toxic substance circulates within the ovarian milieu causing degradation in ovarian/egg quality. Acupuncture and herbal medicine increase blood flow; as a result, this can in many instances, improve the health and function of the target tissue: ovaries and endometrial lining.
Why are you not using acupuncture and herbs?
It is difficult for me to understand why all infertile patients don’t include acupuncture and herbal medicine in their protocols. Why would they not? There has been so much research elucidating the efficacy of acupuncture in the treatment of infertility that acupuncture is no longer referred to as ‘alternative’ medicine but rather ‘complementary’ medicine. Herbs have a three thousand year history of positive clinical outcomes.
Regarding the safety profile of herbs, I have this to say: there are at least one million hospitalizations per year in America alone which occur as a result of adverse reactions to Western medicine. Many of these hospitalizations result in death. This does not happen with herbal medicine.
It is ironic, therefore, that many (but no longer all!) doctors don’t want their patients on herbs because “they don’t know what’s in them”. Do you know what’s in Lupron? Or Gonal F? Did you know that ovarian hyperstimulation even from Clomid can be fatal?
Don’t misunderstand, I am 100% pro IUI, IVF and donor egg IVF protocols. But to not partake of a modality with proven results which may change the course from a negative outcome to a positive one especially in the patient who has had multiple IUI/IVF failures is a clinical error.
More information can be found on Mike Berkely’s website.
How Chinese Medicine helped me start a family
A growing body of evidence support the role of traditional Chinese Medicine in the treatment.
After two years of struggling to conceive naturally, Ms Tran decided go for Chinese Medicine to help conceive. She felt it was taking longer than she anticipated, and she was fed up with take drugs or injections. She said “I did lot of research and studied through the internet on Chinese medicine. GinSen is my no. one choice as my friend’s recommendation. At age 32, I was having lots of pressure for have a baby.”
Ms Tran attended the first consultation in GinSen Clinic on October 2015. “GinSen’s expert team are very professional and experienced, I was comfortable with their consultation, believe me that they gave me such confident and hope. I took their advice, started a 3 month treatment plan combining Acupuncture and Herbal Tea. I agreed with their analysis, they identified my condition straight away, and my infertility was due to a Yang deficiency of Spleen and Kidney” She said.
After the treatments, Ms Tran felt her energy level was increased, her hands and feet were warmer and other symptoms were dispelled. She felt so much better after her treatment. In March 2016, She was pregnant, the baby was born in November 2016. “I am so joyful with my baby” She told us”.
Ms Tran is one of the many helped by GinSen. GinSen has been using finest herbal medicine and Acupuncture to focus to treat women‘s infertility due to FSH high, MH low, Fallopian Tube Blockage, PCOS, Age problems and IVF Support. Founded by Practitioner Li Hua Li, GinSen bases it fertility treatment on Yin and Yang theory of balance.
In Chinese medicine, the primary goal for restoring fertile health is to balance the yin and yang of the body. In respect to fertility, the yin aspect includes blood, fluids and substance. The yang energy stimulates ovulation. In TCM, doctors believe that acupuncture can enhance Qi (The vital Energy), balance the blood deficiencies, promote blood circulation, stimulate the activity of reproductive organs. Another popular recommendation is herbal tea, formulas are prescribed that combine several herbs which will have a multi effect within the body – by addressing any underlying imbalances or deficiencies.
Infertility, TCM takes the position that high quality eggs and sperm will result from a well – established supply of blood and energy. Used in both men and women, TCM can be used on its ownor increasingly in combination with Western assisted fertility procedure. In recent years, the use of TCM is enjoying growing popularity as couples seek to enhance their fertility using natural methods. News of positive experiences and successful outcomes are spreading as natural, holistic alternatives to conventional medical fertility enhancement (IVF) are sought.
In 2000, a British Medical Association survey showed that around half of doctors had prescribed acupuncture in the Uk. In 2016, A British study found that rates of success were twice as high among those having the alternative therapy. The study involved 160 couples suffering from fertility problems. Half were assigned to have four sessions of acupuncture during their IVF cycle. One year on, those who under went the ancient practice, involving fine needles, had achieved pregnancy rates of 46.2 per cent. Among those who had not, pregnancy rates were just 21.7 per cent. Trial researchers have urged the NHS to offer the treatment routinely to all fertility patients. This study shows a statistically significant difference. But some experts are hold opinions that the weakness of the study is that the placebo effect can’t be controlled.
Over the past 17 years, GinSen clinics have succeed in helping fertility patients aged between 20-48 years: since 2006, the clinic has achieved an average fertility success rate of more than 55 per cent in the over-40 age group, treating both medically explained and unexplained fertility problems.
With its proven tracking record, GinSen feels it can stay confidence to help more people in the future.
Find Out More at: ginsen-london.com or 0207 751 5606
It’s Time To Get Fertile – Nourish and balance your body ready for baby making by Emma Cannon
Best-selling author, fertility expert and regular Fertility Road magazine contributor Emma Cannon took time out of her busy schedule to talk about the inspiration for her new book FERTILE Nourish And Balance Your Body Ready For Baby Making.
What’s inside Fertile
The Fertile Cleanse: Perfect for Springtime – if you are trying for a baby right now or perhaps about to undergo IVF. A seven-day menu plan, together with unique wellbeing rituals including oil pulling, ‘fish and chips’ bath, dry skin brushing and hot and cold showers.
The Menstrual Tonic: 7 day simple self-care and eating plan for women of any stage of life to encourage engagement and awareness of the monthly cycle.
The Menstrual Optimisation Plan: 28 day plan for women with regular periods to help engage with and understand their menstrual cycle. Includes appropriate food groups that work for each stage of the cycle.
The Body-Mind-Gut Programme: 7 day menu plan for balancing digestive weakness. Ideal for IBS sufferers or general digestive disturbances that may be compromising fertility.
Planting Seeds Meditation: A lovely meditation designed to nourish and grow ideas and visions using seeds and the soil of your garden.
Fertile Eggs: Emma’s lifestyle and nutritional recommendations for women in their thirties wishing to optimise egg quality of for those having fertility treatment and wanting to improve their chances.
Miscarriage: Looking at causes and support with a ‘Self-healing exercise’.
Male Fertility: Fascinating facts about sperm with a tool box of ‘male booster’ recipes and foods.
IVF Support: How to prepare and support yourself during IVF with a soothing, nurturing menu planner, sleep tips and emotional preparation and energy improvement strategies.
Let’s get Fertile…
TONE – What led you to specialise in treating couples with fertility problems?
EMMA – It happened quite by chance about 20 years ago, women started coming to me because their friend who had got pregnant after seeing me or their GP sent them. Word spread and I got my nickname the Baby Maker.
TONE – With four books under your belt what was the inspiration for your new book Fertile?
EMMA – People who loved my other books kept asking me for more recipes so I teamed up with Victoria Wells who is a Nutritionist specialising in female and male fertility. I was getting concerned that women were taking their health and food advice from social media. The book is based on a combination of research, Chinese medicine dietary energetics and my years of experience.
TONE – How is Fertile different to your previous books?
EMMA – Quite a lot although the foundations are the same; for example the bits people really love like the self-assessment have been updated and this time I really lay things out with full menu plans.
TONE – Surely there’s only so much you can write about on this subject?
EMMA – I never run out of material. I could sit down and write another book tomorrow. I think because I have such an eclectic view of fertility and come at it from so many angles there is always something to say. There is still so much we do not fully understand about the body. Never trust anyone that has it all sewn up and acts like they are in full possession of the facts. It is very unlikely that they do.
TONE – Fertility or infertility. Which do you prefer and why?
EMMA – Fertile! I like to talk about fertile in its widest meaning. It is such a positive word and one that means so much more than just having babies. To be fertile is to be rich in resources, abundant and prolific.
But if we are talking scientifically then I think there is infertile and subfertile.
Infertility: tubal pathology, menstrual cycle disorders, severe semen abnormality.
Sub-fertility: mild/moderate semen abnormalities, ovarian ageing, infrequent or badly timed sex, mild/mod endometriosis etc.
TONE – We get a lof of emails about the benefits of complimentary therapies like acupuncture and if they actually work. What would you say to anyone who’s unsure?
EMMA – Acupuncture is part of an ancient system of medicine – Chinese Medicine – it is one of the oldest and best continuously documented forms of medicine there is. Far older than western medicine. It is also backed up by research. It can’t be compared to something like reflexology – which although can be effective lacks research and recorded documented history of efficacy. So for me the question was far to open ended.
I feel that Chinese medicine and acupuncture are in their own category and the way in which I use the in clinic is very much in an integrated way. Combining the best of western medicine, evidence based acupuncture, nutrition and other techniques like mindfulness.
Not everything can be measured using science as it’s starting point but acupuncture, at least, compared to other treatments has attempted to run trials and produce evidence. This makes it a far more plausible treatment than many others especially in the field of fertility.
I think this is a common mistake that people make “complementary therapies work” “complementary therapies don’t work”
It’s rather like saying
“all children are nice”
“all children are not nice”
Impossible to generalise.
TONE – There’s no denying that IVF works. So why would someone who’s never tried acupuncture before try it?
EMMA – Research. Word of mouth. Its long history of efficacy.
I would have to argue with you on your first point. IVF works in some people some of the time. It is NOT a fertility cure all. When it works it is nothing short of a miracle, when it doesn’t it is invasive, expensive and heart breaking.
With all these things it is not one or the other. No one is saying that you should do acupuncture instead of IVF. It is about knowing when someone needs IVF and when they may have a small window to try other things. This is what we need to get across. Acupuncture is very different from IVF and it works in an entirely different way but it can support it. Acupuncture is also just a small part of an over all approach that we offer in our clinic. It is by no means a standalone and I always use it in conjunction with good medical supervision, lifestyle advice and cutting edge diagnostics. I work with like minded medics who acknowledge that sometimes there is a window of opportunity to try other things like acupuncture before moving on to stronger medicine – surgery or drugs etc.
TONE – When couples come into to see you what support if any do you offer their male partners?
EMMA – We offer diagnostic testing; semen analysis, DNA fragmentation testing and referral on to a specialist where needed. We also offer nutritional support and of course acupuncture.
TONE – Would you consider writing a book about male infertility in future?
EMMA – Yes but publishers always tell me men wont buy it. Maybe women would buy it?
TONE – Secondary infertility is on the rise what do you put that down to?
EMMA – Age, complications caused by birth, lack of sex.
TONE – What are your views on IVF being offered as a first solution to the problem?
EMMA – What problem – for the whole of infertility and subfertility – no that is not how it works. IVF should be used when it is the most likely treatment to solve the problem, not just as a matter of course. Even the most ardent IVF supporter would say the same thing.
TONE – Fertility is still a taboo subject. Do you encourage your clients to be open and discuss this as part of their treatment with family and friends?
EMMA – That is personal. Some people are very open about it which is great. Some are much more private. That is a matter for them; I encourage them to be open with me, after that its up to them who, how and what they wish to discuss.
TONE – We hear it a lot.. Stop trying and it will happen. Do you subscribe to that thought or believe it’s insensitive to tell a women to stop trying?
EMMA – I would never be so glib – but there is some truth that for some couples when they relax or let go of the obsession and anxiety then they conceive. Anxiety is a fertility killer. Make no mistake about it. I don’t tell women to stop trying I help them find ways to manage anxiety and sometimes this involves focusing on other things and yes sometimes in some people this works. But not if anxiety wasn’t the issues in the first place.
TONE – We’ve seen couples who have had numerous IVF cycles which have failed only to fall pregnant naturally at a later stage. Some say it’s because of the fertility drugs they’ve taken which ultimately have helped. Is this something you’ve come across and what are you thoughts on it?
EMMA – Of course this happens all the time. We will never really know why this is. Perhaps the IVF drugs stimulate the system. Perhaps its mental/emotional as above – letting go. Perhaps its just coincidence.
Many people who have IVF are not infertile they are sub-fertile (or perhaps impatient) so perhaps they never needed IVF at all. But we see this all the time in clinic.
TONE – If you could offer one piece of advice to anyone struggling to get pregnant. What would it be?
EMMA – Take time out to rest and nourish yourself. So many people are overworked and strung out. Don’t let go of life in pursuit of a baby; it is important to live a life of enjoyment and full of joy.
TONE – Many CCG’s are cutting back on fertility treatments. Do you think couples will turn to more alternative treatments if they cannot afford IVF?
EMMA – Quite possibly.
TONE – Do you treat fertility as a disease?
EMMA – Infertility is often classed as a disease. Sub-fertility is not, but just because people are not ill it does not mean they do not suffer.
TONE – Do you think fertility apps are helpful to people trying to get pregnant?
EMMA – Like anything, it can go both ways. I think it can make women too fixated and cause anxiety but equally, it can help women understand their cycle. Often women who use these apps have less sex as they think they can pinpoint ovulation and by doing so reduce their sex lives to 2-3 times a month. This is not helpful as it is far better to have regular sex throughout the month.
TONE – Do you think couples have lost the art of making babies naturally? For example taking time as a couple, having date nights and so on?
EMMA – Yes, in some not all case this is true. I tell couples all the time ‘if you want to have a baby you need to prioritise sex’. People will change their diet, do yoga, go for treatment, do exercise. But sometimes doing all these things just add to the problem as there is no time to fit in sex as they are spending so much time trying to be healthy. It’s ironic.
TONE – On my wedding day someone approached me and said ‘When are you having kids!’ Do you think there is a lot of pressure for couples to start a family as soon as they are married?
EMMA – I’m sure this varies enormously depending on age, culture etc. People can be incredibly insensitive though.
TONE – What are your thoughts about couples who decide they don’t want any children.
EMMA – Good for them – the world is overpopulated and it’s a serious business bringing up children.
TONE – What are your thoughts on egg freezing?
EMMA – Great do it – if you do it early enough it can be part of a fertility preservation policy but I also think it can offer false hope. So address lifestyle issues and take care of your health as well. Putting off parenting may help us build a career but having children younger in life can have its benefits (if the opportunity is there of course).
TONE – What do you do to relax and unwind?
EMMA – Yoga, watch movies with my family, go to our caravan in South of France. I love to ski and of course, cook lovely food and share it with friends and family.
TONE – What’s one thing no one knows about you?
EMMA – I hate broccoli!
TONE – What was the last book you read?
EMMA – I recently re-read A Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry. It’s a great book and I love the title – the title sums up fertility for me: A FINE BALANCE and as an acupuncturist, I am all about helping my patients find the right balance for them. Sometimes this is enough and sometimes they need stronger medicine. I am a realist.
Thank so much Emma for your inspiring and sometimes unique insights into fertility issues and I’m sure our readers will appreciate your honest and thoughtful outlook on fertility, food and body in your new book Fertile. Click here to purchase your copy of Fertile by Emma Cannon
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