Randine Lewis, L.Ac., Ph.D.www.thefertilesoul.com

Our fertility is declining by an average of 2% per year. Recent statistics show that one in five couples are facing fertility challenges, and the rate is rapidly rising. These unfortunate truths raise a good bit of panic in those who are starting a family. As a result, fertility specialists abound. The multi billion dollar assisted reproductive technology industry is keeping just ahead of the daunting statistics. Did you know, however, that only one-quarter of in-vitro fertilizations end up with a live birth? Did you know that the average cost of one cycle is $12,400, and most insurance companies cover none of it?

I don’t mean to put the grip of fear in you, however. There is no greater fertility killer than fear of infertility. Panic and fear keep us away from our own inner wisdom, where true fertility resides. I teach couples to live more fertilely, take control of their own reproductive process, and ignite the miracle of life itself, as nature’s wisdom intended.

As in nature, mammals in the wild or in captivity do not go into heat when they are over-stressed. Think about your life, right now, as it is. Do you get enough sleep? Do you eat regular, natural foods? Does your present career give you enough time each day to relax, live a balanced and enjoyable life? The fertile soul process seeks to bring those who are seeking to bring forth life back in touch with the inherent fertile conditions through which life is more likely to come, whether you are utilizing Western technological procedures or the old fashioned way.

Applying a few simple lifestyle changes can dramatically improve your fertility, and increase the likelihood of conceiving and carrying a healthy child to term. The steps you can take to become more fertile also help ensure a healthy pregnancy, postpartum recovery, and your hormonal health for the rest of your reproductive life. So, let’s look at a few practical tips to improve your reproductive health.

Eat organic foods, according to the “Spleen Qi diet”

• Eat natural and organic products as much as possible. Pesticides used to grow most non-organic produce have hormonal activity that intentionally keeps the pests from reproducing. Unintentionally, they have the same effect on the humans who consume these products. • Watch your consumption of animal products treated with hormones. Most red meat and dairy products sold at the supermarket have been treated with estrogenic hormones that can induce estrogen-dominant reproductive disorders like endometriosis, fibroids, polycystic ovarian syndrome, low sperm count and poor sperm quality. • Keep refined carbohydrates and sugars to a minimum, as they can also contribute to unhealthy hormone production. • Reduce consumption of cow’s dairy. Instead try to include healthy dairy sources like whole fat goat yogurt. Excessive consumption of cow’s dairy, especially low and non-fat milk, can interfere with healthy digestion. • Avoid tobacco and the excessive consumption of alcohol, over-the-counter medications, and caffeine, all of which can reduce both male and female fertility.

Reduce your reliance on “healthcare” products

• Are all the medications in your medicine chest necessary? Anti-inflammatory medications like Advil can reduce chemicals necessary to rupture the follicle at ovulation. • Pharmaceutical and over the counter medications can keep your body’s natural detoxifying energies busy breaking down the medication, so the liver isn’t free to metabolize your body’s own hormones. • Antihistamines can reduce the production of healthy cervical fluid which is necessary for transit of sperm into the cervical canal. Antihistamines can also negatively impact seminal fluid as well. • Hair growth products like Rogaine can negatively impact hormones necessary for healthy sperm formation. • Try to keep your body care products as natural as possible. Many petroleum-based body care products can introduce chemicals that seep through your skin and interfere with your hormones.

Use fewer plastic containers

• Reduce the use of plastic containers for your food and water. Plasticizers, used in food wraps and water bottles, contain estrogen like chemicals that seep into the product contained in the plastic, and when consumed, can disrupt your endocrine processes. • Think about installing a water purifier in your home and carrying your water with you in a safe plastic or metal thermos. • Microwave less. Lightly sautéing your food or eating it fresh is far preferable to warming up pre-prepared foods in plastic microwave containers.

Reduce your stress

• Look at the stressors in your job, your lifestyle and your relationships. Many studies have proven that stress and fertility are inversely related. The higher your stress levels, the more your body tends to maintain a fight-or-flight state. In this state,the adrenal glands produce stress hormones which are antagonistic to reproductive hormones. • Consider the steps can you take to reduce stress. Can you work fewer hours? Can you make choices to be around people who make you feel good, are supportive and build you up? Is exercise a part of your life? Does your exercise regimen reduce your stress or add to it? If standing in front of a mirror with 30 other people in your muscle pump class doesn’t put you in a state of ease, try yoga, qi gong or meditation. • How much time to you spend with a laptop computer on your lap, or with a cell phone worn near your waist? Recent studies are showing that airwave electronic products reduce fertility.

Develop a fertile attitude

• Before you decide to procreate, create the life you want. Those who take responsibility for their health and the quality of their lives feel themselves as more fertile than those who feel they are victims of their life circumstances. Fear of becoming pregnant can become a habitual attitude that your cells continue to carry out, even after the fear is gone. • As Eastern practices encourage, accept yourself as you are, express your emotions as they arise, take charge of the aspects of your life that you can control, let go of the things you can’t control, and come back to the inherent knowledge that you were created to be healthy, and whole. • View yourself as inherently fertile. See yourself as preparing to open up to life, rather than focusing on what might go wrong. Those who see themselves as infertile, generally become so. Those who anticipate problems usually encounter them. Yet those who embrace life, live according to healthy guidelines, and see themselves as fertile are more likely to find themselves in the place where the miraculous can occur. Live the miracle now.