Whether or not you have wanted children all of your life or have just begun thinking about trying, you can hardly turn on the television or radio without hearing infertility horror stories. Maybe you are focused on your career right now, or haven’t even found your life partner; sometimes, just the ticking of the biological clock causes the desire for parenthood to surface.Whatever your age whatever your focus, it’s always a good time to look at ways to preserve your fertility. The steps you can take to preserve your fertility also help ensure your hormonal health for the rest of your reproductive life. So, let’s look at some practical tips to preserve your reproductive health.

Eat Organic Reduce exposure to environmental toxins Reduce Stress Adopt a "spleen qi" diet Develop a fertile attitude

Dietary factors • 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 wheat and low and nonfat cows milk. • Eat natural and organic products as much as possible. Pesticides used to grow most non-organic produce have hormonal activity which intentionally keeps the pests from reproducing. Unintentionally, they have the same effect on the humans who consume these products. • Avoid tobacco and the excessive consumption of alcohol, over-the-counter medications, and caffeine, all of which can reduce both male and female fertility.

Plasticizers and body care products • 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. Wash with natural soap. Brush your skin to remove impurities. Try to get by without lotions, creams, oils, and synthetic scents. • Reduce the use of plastic containers for your food and water. Plasticizers, used in food wraps and water bottles, contain chemicals that disrupt the endocrine processes. • Think about installing a water purifier in your home and carrying your water with you in a safe plastic or metal thermos.

Stress Reduction • 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 daily routine? 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.

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, whole, and fertile.

Lastly, don’t make a baby into a goal. Goal oriented pursuits put our body into a state of stress which actually works against our fertility. Children don’t necessary come out of our desire; they come out of life’s longing for itself. We are the channels of life’s desire, not the makers.