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FERTILITY HEALTH

Lifestyle

Developing healthy habits makes a big difference to our overall and fertility health. Medical condition that may affect your ability to get pregnant might be beyond your control but you can take control of some factors that we know do affect fertility such as alcohol, caffeine, smoking and recreational drugs.

Alcohol

WHAT THE RESEARCH SAYS:

There has been a lot of research and evidence regarding alcohol and our health, governments have set clear guidelines on safety levels of alcohol. When it comes to our Fertility Health, we know that alcohol can have a negative impact on both the male and female and could impact the ability to conceive.

Today’s society has made it more difficult to measure alcohol intake as wine glasses bigger and alcohol content of beer has increased

Alcohol contains empty calories and can contribute to weight gain or unhealthy eating habits. Alcohol may also interfere with the way nutrients are absorbed into the stomach and used by the body. Zinc and vitamin B are important for fertility and alcohol can reduce the absorption of these key vitamins.

Good quality egg and sperm production depend on a stable blood sugar alcohol destabilises blood sugar and affects the bodies normal balance.

Alcohol can impair male fertility in different ways by causing impotence, reducing libido and affecting sperm quality. The more you drink the higher the risk for the unborn baby research has shown that Binge drinking which is classed as more than six units on one occasion can contribute to miscarriage.

HERE ARE A FEW SIMPLE TIPS TO TRY:

1.) Know the alcohol content of your favourite tipple.
2.) Check alcohol content when you are purchasing and go for lower option.
3.) When possible use a smaller glass.
4.) Understand what a unit of alcohol is – glass of wine 3 units, pint of beer 2 units. Drink fewer than 6 units per week.
5.) Plan alcohol free days

Caffeine

WHAT THE RESEARCH SAYS:

There is no clear evidence that caffeine affects fertility, but some experts believe that women who have a high caffeine intake seem to take longer to get pregnant and could have a higher risk of miscarriage.

Caffeine is not just in coffee but tea, energy and soft drinks, even chocolate.  When trying to conceive both men and women should monitor their daily caffeine intake. There is increasing evidence to suggest that high caffeine intake can affect sperm quality and cause DNA damage.

HERE ARE A FEW SIMPLE TIPS TO TRY:

1.) Reduce daily intake of caffeine to 200mg per day which is approximately two cups of coffee.
2.) Substitute coffee with herbal teas.
3.) Avoid sports and soft drinks with high caffeine content.
4.) Drink more water.

Smoking

WHAT THE RESEARCH SAYS:

Cigarette smoke contains thousands of harmful toxins and chemicals that affect our health and can have impact on male and female reproductive organs causing damage to eggs and sperm. This can not only have impact on the ability to conceive or carry a baby to full term but on the development and future health of the baby. Research tells us that both male and female smokers are more likely to be infertile or experience fertility issues than non-smokers. Increased miscarriage and recurrent miscarriage is more common in women or male partners of women that those that don’t smoke. Passive smoking – being exposed to cigarette smoke on a regular basis can affect fertility and increase the chance of miscarriage.

Heavy smoking by female and male partners at time of conception can result in the baby being born prematurely, low birth rate, health defects and an increased risk of childhood illness such as leukaemia.

Women who some are more liking to experience early menopause (before the age of 45) evidence suggests that stopping smoking 10years before menopause age delays early menopause significantly.

The good news is that the effects of smoking on eggs and sperm and fertility are reversible. Whether it’s the male or the female partner (or both) who smokes, stopping smoking will increase the chance of conceiving and having a healthy baby.

HERE ARE A FEW SIMPLE TIPS TO TRY:

1.) When trying to conceive stop smoking a few months before.
2.) Male partners should stop smoking.
3.) Avoid smoke filled atmosphere.
4.) Smoking is expensive enjoy a treat from savings from cigarette purchases.
5.) Seek support from your GP to help you stop smoking.

Recreational Drugs

WHAT THE RESEARCH SAYS:
Taking recreational drugs for a long time can cause permanent damage to the reproductive system and cause infertility
Drugs are metabolised in the body and passed into the bloodstream. Toxins then circulate around the body and can affect sperm develop and egg quality making conception difficult.
There is evidence that cannibas use can cause hormonal changes in women and overtime affects ovulation making it more difficult to conceive. Research also suggests that sperm count and motility (ability of sperm to swim) is lowered by long term use of cannabis. This makes egg fertilisation more difficult.
It is not only recreational drugs that can effect fertility health but prescribed drugs and OTC over the counter medication can have impact.  Prolonged use of sleeping tablets pain killers antidepressants can cause infertility.
Continued us of anabolic steroids for competing sports excessive gym work endurance sports or body building can have a prolonged impact on male fertility and it can take up to 2 years from stopping these drugs for sperm production and quality to return to normal.
HERE ARE A FEW SIMPLE TIPS TO TRY:

1.) When thinking about planning a pregnancy, speak to your GP about drugs that you are taking.

2.) Stop taking recreational drugs and if this is difficult seek help or join a support group.

3.) Talk to family and friends and ask them for support.

4.) Drink plenty of water to help your body detox

Ovulation Calculator

Amy Martin

Marketing Director

 

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Share a little about yourself—the things we wouldn’t learn from simply reading your professional bio.

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What is your ideal way to relax and unwind?

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Robert Gordon

Managing Director, Gordons Chemists

 

Robert Gordon, director at Gordons Chemist's. Gordons Chemists is a chain of more than 60 pharmacies, located in NI and Scotland. Gordons Chemists is Northern Ireland's largest independent pharmacy chain.

Dr. Debbie Collins

MBBchBAO MRCGP

 

Dr. Debbie Collins MBBchBAO MRCGP, a practicing GP and partner in Belfast. She has a passion for patient education and advocacy. Her special interests are Women's Health and Fertility

Sarah Trimble

Nutritional Therapist

 

Sarah Trimble - a nutritional therapist with a passion for good food instead of fad diets. Sarah has a particular Interest in using the power of nutrition to support hormonal imbalances and reproductive health.

Barbara Scott

Director, Seren Natural Fertility
Chair, Association of Reproductive Reflexologists

 

Barbara Scott is Chair of The Association of Reproductive Reflexologists, founder of Seren Natural Fertility and author of Reflexology for Fertility. In 2017, she was awarded ‘Complementary Therapist of the Year’ by the Federation of Holistic Therapists and has been nominated for several awards within the field of complementary therapy. In 2019 she was awarded the Innovation in Reflexology Award by the Association of Reflexologists.

Barbara speaks and lectures globally on her integrative approach to supporting couples having difficulties conceiving. She has spoken at many of the Fertility Shows and Fertility Fest. Alongside her own busy clinics, she also trains practitioners in providing this integrative, approach to fertility and reproductive healthcare and well-being. The ARR (Association of Reproductive Reflexologists) has trained practitioners globally, from Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Europe, and most areas of the UK.

Her expertise and passion is in advocating a patient-centred and integrative approach to supporting both men and women on their journey to parenthood.

Cindy Charles

Fertility coach and Founder of Fertilelife

 

Cindy Charles- Fertility coach and Founder of Fertilelife. Cindy is a committed advocate of social and personal development. Her own life experiences inspired her fertility support services. Cindy has worked with the Fertility Network UK, and has had the privilege to work as a resident Fertility Coach for the London Women's Clinic on Harley Street. Cindy believes in the importance of nurturing our own fertility.

Dr. Lyuda Shkrobot

MD, MSc Gynecologist, Fertility specialist at unq.life fertility clinic

 

Dr Lyuda has a special interest in reproductive immunology. Dr Shkrobot assisted in establishing the first European Donor Egg programme at Sims, coordinating and liaising with Intersono Clinic in Ukraine Advisors. She is passionate about patient-centred, results-driven care.

Jill Martin

Business Development Director

 

Jill Martin is a trained nurse and highly experienced pharmaceutical professional. Most of her business acumen and skills were developed by the world class training she received at Glaxo Smith Kline (GSK). Hard work and focus have resulted in a varied and successful career working in several different disease areas. As part of the Diabetes team at GSK, an opportunity arose to develop and support education programmes that were rolled out to the NHS across the UK, which resulted in improvement of Strategy and Patient Care. Jill feels that education is the key to understanding and has made it a personal goal to self-improve and support learning for others especially within the healthcare arena. The last 10 years have been devoted to trying to impart the importance of Fertility Health early in the life cycle of us all, rather than when infertility issues arise. She is delighted to have joined Nua Fertility on their mission to support people and communities to understand the importance of gut health on our fertility well-being.
 

Share a little about yourself—the things we wouldn’t learn from simply reading your professional bio.

The most important thing to me in life are family and friends, it breaks my heart when people are broken and I know that I am always trying to find solutions to problems. I love being outside rather than sitting at a desk and would rather lift the phone and have a chat with someone rather than email or message. I find people interesting and will often be that annoying person who starts a conversation on a train or plane.
 

What was your journey to parenthood like?

I feel very blessed to have had my family naturally, although not without some challenges. Following a miscarriage and thyroid issues conception wasn’t as easy as I would have hoped. My personal experience made me appreciate how important it is to value ways to improve your fertility health. This set me on my own journey to find out more, by surrounding myself with a network of experts in this area who I am continually learning from. When possible I take every opportunity to share best practice or send information to others that I know who are also seeking to understand more.
 

What is your ideal way to relax and unwind?

Juggling home life and working full time with a lot of travel, for most of my adult life made me find a way to relax that may seem strange. I love getting my trainers on and going for a long walk or run, even in the rain! Sometimes I will listen to a podcast and other times just be mindful of my surroundings. I find this a great way to clear my head, think about priorities and take time out for myself.
 

If there was just one thing you could impart on women on their journey to parenthood, what would it be.

From an early age I loved to make jigsaws, little did I know that this skill would help me later in life to understand the complexity of fertility and the miracle of life. Everyone is unique, every situation is different, like a jigsaw there are lots of pieces that need to be put together to become complete. Explore all options, chat to experts don’t be afraid to ask for help.

Aoibheann Murphy

Chief Financial Officer

 

Having trained with PWC, Aoibheann qualified as a Chartered Accountant in 1997. She subsequently spent eight years working in industry, gaining invaluable experience in many areas In 2005 Aoibheann became MD of Pangur Consulting, providing professional expertise to a broad client base. She is looking forward to the new challenge of Nua Fertility.
 

Share a little about yourself—the things we wouldn’t learn from simply reading your professional bio.

 

What was your journey to parenthood like?

Right craic!
 

Do you prefer podcasts or books? And of the one that you prefer, what is a show or title that you recommend?

I love sport…any sport…and the outdoors. Living in the Barrow valley I get to enjoy swimming and kayaking in the Barrow and exploring the Blackstairs mountains. Since I hung up my soccer boots (the body just couldn’t take it anymore!), I’ve been cycling with my lovely friends in Mount Leinster Wheelers and was chuffed to have completed the Ironman 70.3 triathlon event in Dublin in 2019!
I’m an avid reader…books beat podcasts hands down!...although recently I’ve dabbled with audio books through the library app Borrow Box. “A Little Life” left its mark on me. A harrowing story, definitely not for the faint hearted.
 

If there was just one thing you could impart on women on their journey to parenthood, what would it be?

Don’t be consumed by the roles in your life – parent, partner, employee etc. Parenthood, be it getting there or going through it, will have its tough times. Cherishing yourself as an individual and making time for yourself can help you through those times….it’s good to be a bit selfish!!

Mark Mullins

Director of Sales

 

What was your journey to parenthood like?

To be honest it was very difficult. At the beginning we thought that when we decided that we wanted to start a family Deborah would fall pregnant shortly afterwards like many of her friends. As time went by, we started to suspect something was wrong. After initial tests we found out that I had a low sperm count which meant that we would have to go down the assisted pregnancy route. This took me several months to get my head around as I blamed myself for this. All I wanted was my wife to be able to go through the pregnancy journey. We couldn’t wait to become parents. There were many long and painful nights where I thought this would never happen for us. After several failed attempts we decided to look at further ways of improving our chances. This led us to look at fertility supplements, our diet, exercise. I will never forget when that morning during our Two Week Wait when Deborah woke me up at 5 a.m. to show me those two lines, we had both been yearning for! We are blessed to now have our beautiful daughter.
 

On challenging days, what kept you going? Where did you find inspiration?

My wife was my inspiration. She kept me going through those challenging months and years. She was there to help me deal with everything. The guilt I felt when I saw her having to go through everything.
 

What is your ideal was to relax and unwind?

My latest passion is cooking on my BBQ. I find it so peaceful and I just switch off. It just gives me a bit of alone time which everyone needs.
 

If there was just one thing you could impart on men as they begin trying to become parents, what would it be?

I would highly recommend communicating with friends and family. A problem shared is a problem halved. Failing that there are some really good private Facebook groups for men suffering from infertility. I found this great support through the good and especially the bad times.

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