Christine Sullivan, Natural Fertility Support Specialist, Brisbane - Ph 3857 8515

Overcoming Fertility Problems


Over the past twenty or more years, fertility problems have increased dramatically. One in six couples is now having difficulty conceiving and around a quarter of all pregnancies can end in a miscarriage.  It is little wonder that more and more couples are turning to natural and reproductive technology fertility treatments to help them have a child.

Human fertility is both fascinating and multi-factorial and there are a myriad of different issues that can be at the root of your fertility problems.  I find that most couples will experience more than one issue when trying to conceive: for example you may have irregular menstrual cycles or PCOS and your partner may have a low sperm count or poor sperm morphology and there may be many factors contributing to these issues.   A natural, nutritional approach to pregnancy preparation can be enormously successful in overcoming such fertility problems.  


Why is it so?

As already mentioned the causes of infertility are many and varied and can include problems with sperm and egg production and health, the health of the Fallopian tubes, uterus or ovaries, endometriosis, hormonal imbalances, immune dysfunction and autoimmune conditions in both men and women.  Environmental factors can also be a major contribution to fertility difficulties.

The twenty first century lifestyle, diet and environment are all major players in the decline in fertility.

Isn’t infertility just a woman’s problem?

Absolutely not! While a lot of emphasis is often put on the female, when it comes to infertility, research clearly shows that the causes are equal as both women and men can have problems that cause infertility. In about 40% of infertility the problem is a male factor and in about 40% it is a female factor.  In the remaining, 10% is a joint problem and in 10% it is of unknown origin.

When are you regarded as ‘infertile’?

A couple is regarded as infertile when they have not conceived after 12 months of regular (every 2 to 3 days) unprotected sexual intercourse.

The norm is that 60% or 3 in 5 couples in good general health will conceive within 6 months of trying.  25% or 1 in 4 couples will take between 6 and 12 months.

If conception takes more than one year, it means there may be a problem.

15 to 16% (1 in 6) Australian (and in most western industrialised countries) couples of reproductive age are currently having difficulty with fertility and even seemingly healthy couples are taking longer to conceive.

“Unexplained Infertility”

Many couples I see have been diagnosed with ‘unexplained infertility’ and this seems to be seen as one of the most common causes of infertility today.  Basically this label of “unexplained” means that no diagnosable medical health condition has yet been found.  However, if a couple fails to conceive there has to be something preventing that.  There has to be some reason so we need to look much deeper.  In most cases we find that the inability to conceive is caused by a combination of things such as nutritional deficiencies from a less than optimal diet, general health, being significantly under or over weight, lifestyle habits, environmental toxins and even emotional elements.  These are significant but often overlooked factors that can adversely affect sperm and egg health and delay or prohibit conception.

Unfortunately couples diagnosed with unexplained infertility are frequently encouraged to try ovulation boosting drugs, expensive reproductive technologies such as IVF without first addressing the foundation of their fertility.  Successful pregnancy outcomes are about removing any obstacles to fertility and to ensuring all the vitamins, minerals and nutrients to create health sperm and eggs are present in abundance.  I have mentioned elsewhere that the medical reproductive technologies mostly only solve a transport problem, getting the egg and sperm together, and generally do little or nothing to improve the quality of the sperm, egg or the environment in which the embryo is to grow and develop.

The really good news is that fertility issues and the health of every cell in your body, including eggs and sperm can be improved in an easy, straight forward manner by addressing nutrition and lifestyle factors as well as reducing toxic exposures and managing stress through a thorough natural Preconception Health Care Program.

Even if you experience significant fertility problems than cannot be resolved with natural medicine (e.g. severely blocked or absent fallopian tubes due to infection, surgery or ectopic pregnancy) you can still be supported prior to any ART procedures you require to improve the outcome.

Reasons for Fertility Problems

Sometimes there are more significant health issues that will need to be dealt with through nutrition, herbal medicine as well as diet and lifestyle changes.  These may include hormonal imbalances, poor thyroid function, autoimmune conditions, blood clotting disorders, digestive and malabsorption problems, issues such as endometriosis, fibroids, PCOS, age, stress, recurrent miscarriage plus issues with egg health, sperm production, sperm motility, morphology and DNA fragmentation.

You know now that the reasons for fertility problems are many and varied.

The most common FEMALE fertility issues include –

  • Hormone imbalances resulting in
  • Irregular menstrual cycles
  • Ovulation disorders
  • Cervical mucus issues
  • Low AMH (Anti-Mullerian Hormone)
  • Uterine or cervical abnormalities
  • Endometriosis
  • Polycystic Ovaries / Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome
  • Poor egg quality
  • Age
  • Poor Thyroid Function
  • Immune and Autoimmune Issues
  • Gluten sensitivity
  • Occupational and Environmental Toxic Exposures
  • Lifestyle Issues
  • Diet
  • Stress
  • Specific Nutrient Deficiencies
  • MTHFR gene mutation
  • Other Congenital and Genetic Issues

The most common MALE fertility problems include –

  • Hormonal
  • Physical
  • Immune issues – anti-sperm antibodies, autoimmune conditions, food allergies & intolerances
  • Toxic exposure
  • Lifestyle
  • Age
  • Diet
  • Specific nutrient deficiencies
  • Sperm parameters – number, motility, morphology (shape) & DNA fragmentation
  • Medicines
  • Poor thyroid function
  • Stress
  • Other health problems
  • MTHFR gene mutation
  • Other Congenital and Genetic Issues

    Wondering whether a natural fertility program is for you?

    Contact us on 07 3857 8515 or email us at to arrange your free 20 minute introductory consultation to answer your questions and discuss how your particular fertility issues might be assisted.