Guest blogger and 2018 FHT Training Congress speaker, Barbara Scott, writes about taking an integrative approach to support clients experiencing fertility issues.
Globally, there are now an estimated one in six couples who experience difficulties of some kind when trying to get pregnant, and sadly, this is getting worse rather than better. These are the couples that seek help and there could be many more who do not. I would estimate that 20-25% of couples now find that starting a family is not as easy as they first thought. Male fertility, in particular, has declined by a massive 50% over a 25-year period, and this decline is continuing, for a multitude of complex reasons, but not least due to pollutants. In addition, what we now realise is that males are involved in probably 50% of all cases of fertility issues and repeated early miscarriage. Men are routinely overlooked when couples try to establish why they are unable to conceive.
Human beings are one of the least fertile mammals on our planet and our chances of conceiving naturally each month are only 17%. When things don’t go according to plan and couples seek the help of Assisted Reproductive Techniques, the results are not much better. IUI has a success rate of between 10-20% per cycle and IVF/ICSI a success rate of 25% per cycle, although this does increase with each cycle undertaken.
The causes of fertility issues are wide, varied and can be complex, so we need to ensure we gather the right kind of information, to provide the most effective support for our clients. Using an integrative approach, we are able to understand some of the basic reasons why couples are having difficulty conceiving. This means being able to understand and interpret basic blood tests for women and both basic and advanced semen analysis for men. It also means that we have a referral pathway and can signpost clients to appropriate services for further investigations.
The top ten most important things to know are:
- How long have they been trying to conceive?
- If longer than 12 months and they are under 35, has the woman had a basic blood test for FSH (Follicle Stimulating Hormone), Luteinising Hormone, Oestradiol, Prolactin and Progesterone?
- If longer than 12 months and they are under 35, has the male had a basic semen analysis?
- Have they any underlying reproductive issues that may be affecting their fertility (i.e. endometriosis, fibroids, PCOS in women or varicoceles, hydroceles, prostatitis in men)?.
- What does your female client understand about her menstrual cycle?
- Does she use basal body temperature charting to monitor her cycle?
- Information about the menstrual cycle (i.e. length, length of bleed, signs of ovulation, PMS symptoms and length of the Luteal Phase)
- Height, Weight and BMI, as these can really impact upon fertility.
- Diet, nutrition and exercise levels.
- And finally…….. stress levels! Stress can have a huge impact upon both male and female fertility health.
In 2011, I formed the Association of Reproductive Reflexologists, which among other things allowed us to carry out data collection to see how effective our work was and to develop collaborations with the medical professionals involved in client care. Our data, showed a 68% success rate across the board and a doubling of the success rates with IVF from 25% to 52%.
We continue to work on this data and are exploring collaborations with Ovusense (a medical grade ovulation monitor) and Cardiff Met University, to undertake research in the hope of providing a further evidence base to this work.
Learn more at the 2018 FHT Training Congress
You can learn more about supporting clients with fertility issues at the 2018 FHT Training Congress in the NEC Birmingham:
With Barbara Scott
Room 1, Sunday 20 May, 12pm – 1pm
Reproflexology™ is an integrative approach to using reflexology to support fertility and underlying reproductive conditions for both men and women. The integrative approach allows us to understand what the issues may be, measure outcomes and monitor progress. This provides an evidence based approach to fertility, using reflexology as the main form of treatment.