Success Rates for Preconception Health Care
Success rate percentages for a nutritional and natural medicine approach to preconception health care programs are complex to measure. Patients come with such differing general and reproductive health issues that it is often inappropriate to compare them with one another. Some have little difficulty with conceiving and want to simply optimize the health of their baby. The majority, however, do have some reproductive health or infertility issue. Many have tried assisted reproductive technologies (e.g. IVF) and some have ‘reached the end of the road’ before trying the natural approach. Others are older prospective parents with decreased fertility and lack of time. Another factor that makes measuring success rates difficult is that treatment is holistic and very personalized for each patient. There is no one herbal formula, nutrient or treatment protocol which is applied to everyone which could then be measured for its effect.
I have been in practice since 1986 and treated hundreds of couples with fertility issues as well as those simply wanting to optimize the health of their child. There is strong anecdotal evidence (clinical observation) from my own clinical experience as well as that of many other practitioners who follow the approach pioneered by Francesca Naish at the Jocelyn Centre in Sydney that our overall success rate is high, despite a large proportion of challenging cases. We have found that nutritional and holistic treatments can often succeed when orthodox treatments such as drugs and surgery do not.
Three studies that support clinical observations of success
Foresight Study 1995
Foresight is the Association for the Promotion of Preconceptual Care and was established in the United Kingdom in 1978. A Foresight study conducted in conjunction with Surrey University (published in the Journal of Nutritional & Environmental Medicine 1995) clearly shows the effectiveness of preconception health care.
Study Results: The women participating in the study ranged in age from 22-45 years, the men from 25-59 years. 41% of the couples had no previous adverse reproductive history, but among these were the older couples.
Presenting with a Previous History
367 couples & lasted 2 years
Age of females: 22-45 years
Age of males: 25-59 years
|‘Small for dates’ or low birth weight babies||
|No miscarriages, perinatal deaths, malformations
No baby admitted to intensive care
(Normal expectation would be 70 miscarriages & 6 malformations)
|Live births to those previously infertile||81%|
|Average gestational age||38.5 weeks|
|Earliest gestational age||36 weeks|
|Average weight of males||7lb 4oz (3303gm)|
|Average weight of females||7lb 2oz (3232gm)|
|Lightest baby||5lb 3oz (2367gm)|
Note: The Preconception Health Care and Fertility Enhancement Program at this clinic covers the same treatment methods used by Foresight with the addition of natural therapies to enhance and resolve health issues.
Foresight Study (current)
Foresight is currently completing a further, larger study with 1,061 couples. The unpublished statistics from this already show similar excellent outcomes, with a preliminary conception rate of approximately 78% (leading to a healthy baby) within two years of following the program. This is despite some problems encountered with providing a full preconception health care service during the study.
This study also suggests a more than doubled conception success rate for IVF, following preconception health care.
University of New England (current)
The University of New England is conducting an independent study of 67 patients on the NFM Conception Program as conducted at the Jocelyn Centre in Sydney.
A high proportion of the couples in this study had serious fertility problems, all of them were diagnosed infertile, and 25% of them were over 40 yrs. Preliminary results have already shown that 52% of previously infertile couples can conceive within the first four months following their participation in the program.