IVF Drugs Linked to Childhood Cancer [Article - Telegraph, UK]

"... Fertility-boosting drugs could more than double the risk of subsequent offspring developing childhood leukaemia, academics warn today.” – Telegraph, UK 4/24/12 - European researchers reported over a two fold increased risk in two forms of childhood leukemia, in children conceived with fertility drugs.

Almost a decade ago, the Wall Street Journal reported: Babies born as the result of IVF with ICSI are twice as likely to be born with major birth defects than those conceived naturally.

Whether or not these research reports can be proven is not significant to me. What I look at is what the drugs are doing. Any drug which stimulates the ovaries to artificially recruit follicles that the body naturally deselected, are already at increased risk. Further, forcefully injecting sperm that are incapable of penetrating the egg on their own, obviously puts the potential of new life at risk.

Nature knows what it’s doing. Our own body’s wisdom selects the follicle that it deems the healthiest to become the dominant ovulatory follicle. Reproductive medicine will sacrifice that one for the drug induced many; just to increase the statistical likelihood that fertilization will take place. IVF drugs cannot and do not increase the health of the germ cells; they force fertilization. If the underlying health is compromised and fertilization is forced, the starting point of the new life is already at jeopardy.

I doubt the procedures themselves are responsible. The drugs? Not so sure. I have always held to the irrefutable fact that nature knows best. When we can enhance the health of the reproductive system during the tonic growth phase of follicular growth when protein synthesis and chromosomal selection occur (months before ovulation), we improve the likelihood of healthy egg and sperm production, no matter what methods are employed.

I lectured on this topic at a workshop which was attended by patients and reproductive clinic staff, including reproductive endocrinologists. As I taught the participants the life cycle of the follicle and what could improve ovarian and sperm health, I asked the medical audience if anything I was saying was untrue. An RE responded, “We know what you’re saying is true; we just can’t do anything about it with what we have to offer, so we don’t pay attention to it. Your method seems to offer that missing ingredient.

Most of the patients I treat are over 40. Most are at an increased statistical risk for chromosomal abnormalities and poor response to IVF. Yet, when they take the time to nourish the health of the body, mind, and spirit, natural conception is more likely to occur. IVF success rates greatly increase. And those that have chromosomal abnormalities, birth defects, and childhood cancers are virtually non-existent. As one of my teachers asked, “What is the truth you are attending to – labs and medical results, or the potential of your own spirit?” To me the latter is where miracles occur; not in the laboratory. Let medicine intervene where it is meant to – after you have done everything humanly possible to improve your own health; not before or instead.

Free Conference Call Tomorrow - Tuesday, April 3 @ 9 PM EST

Free Conference Call Tomorrow - Tuesday, April 3 @ 9 PM EST

Pregnancy Enhancement during PeriMenopause

Q&A with Dr. Randine Lewis

This daunting term is almost meaningless. It simply means that hormones are fluctuating in women during their later reproductive years. Perimenopause can last for many years, during which time a woman is still capable of conceiving.  One study reported that when a woman enters perimenopause, she still has, on average, ten thousand eggs remaining.  It isn't until a woman has been without a period for one year that she is considered to be in menopause. Then she is no longer capable of bearing children with her own eggs.

This transition occurs at multiple levels - ovarian output fluctuates; blood flow to the ovaries diminishes, and the biopotency of the FSH molecule changes. The hypothalamic-pituitary-ovarian axis becomes more delicate.

According to Chinese medicine, this is one of the most rich times in a woman's life. Although she may experience symptoms of this transition - like reduced libido, decreased cervical fluid, irregular menstruation, moodiness, insomnia, hot flashes and night sweats, these are not considered symptoms of disease. They are an invitation as the energies shift from a focus on lower reproductive output to one where the spirit dominates.

Most all energetic transitions will produce symptoms. When you know that they are natural and necessary, they will become less problematic. When they are resisted, it exacerbates liver qi stagnation, aggravating the symptoms. Acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine can help ease this transition and reduce symptoms, while one is trying to conceive.

Reducing sugar, wheat and refined carbohydrates helps the metabolic changes. Supplement with essential antioxidants, minerals, CoQ10, and fish oil. Light exercise like walking, biking, or swimming helps reduce depressive symptoms, especially when performed out of doors. Inner body meditations can help ease symptoms of anxiety. Perform the femoral massage daily before ovulation if you are still trying to conceive. We also have formulated a Fertile Soul herbal blend to assist and enhance fertility during this time.

Stop the Problem Solving Approach!

Chinese medicine is based on the maintenance of harmony. Yet how can harmony be maintained?  I used to think of harmony as synonymous with balance - almost like walking a tightrope where the left and right sides have to be equalized. This is how many people approach healing and fertility, too. Moderation, balance, harmony. Not too much of this, not too much of that. While it is true that too much of anything will make the organism unstable, life carries a miraculous ability to return to equilibrium with or without our help. We do not have to keep ourselves walking the tightrope of life, too afraid to be set off balance. Life is meant to be lived, fully, vibrantly, and sometimes in excess.

You don't grow your hair, beat your heart or create skin cells. Nor can you create a baby through living a controlled life.

I recall a woman I treated who went through an IVF cycle just before the holidays. She carefully managed every controllable aspect of her life, yet her pregnancy test came back negative just before Christmas. So distraught at the unfairness of life when she did everything right, she went to the other extreme - eating and drinking in excess, smoking cigarettes, staying up late and partying until New Year passed. She never got her period. The next pregnancy test came back positive. And yes, the baby was just fine, adjusting to the excesses that are a part of life.

Remember when our mothers thought it was ok to drink, smoke and even diet during pregnancy? We turned out kind of okay. Obviously, I don't advocate this. Moderation and balance tend to induce health and well being. But what we can control needs to be balanced with what we cannot. We can't control life itself. Life is not a problem to be solved; it is an organic process to be lived. We try, we fail. We fall, we get back up. Sometimes life works out the way we expect it to, sometimes it doesn't. We go on and do the best we can, laughing, crying, and  making it up as we go along. Life is not composed of rules to be followed.

Life is the way it is, not the way we would have it be. Our individual life expression is always in harmony with the whole. It's laws are carried in the heart, subject to a higher law than imposed order. The Tao te Ching tells us that when man forgets the Tao, he creates laws and rules. Order is a poor substitute for the spirit's unimpeded expression

Life comes through the friction of opposites - the highest ecstasy of the lowest expression. Birth itself is violent, messy, and life threatening. yet from it comes a love so tender, nothing can threaten it. Stop trying to control, manage, or fix yourself. Give yourself over to life as it is. Let the spirit of life use you as you are, desires and all. You aren't a mistake to be remedied. You are life's expression, bursting with harmonious imbalance, longing to be expressed!

IVIG and Intralipid Infusion Treatment

Treatments such as intravenous immunoglobulin therapy or intralipid infusions are sometimes suggested for women with autoimmune conditions whose immune systems react negatively to an implanting embryo. An embryo, composed of “self” and “non-self” can confuse a weakened or stressed immune system, whose primary job it is to kill off the foreign (non-self) invador. When the immune system is confused, it often reverts from its highest directive, to differentiate, to its lowest default, which is to kill. The woman’s body can react negatively against the pregnancy itself, to components of the cell wall, and develop antibodies, which protect her from accepting in what her body perceives as threatening. She may have elevated antiphosphlipid antibodies, antithyroid antibodies, anticardiolipin antibodies, antinuclear antibodies, anti-lupus anticoagulant, or elevated (and activated) natural killer cells. The blood is often thickened so it can clot off the blood supply to the offending threat, and starve it.

The infusions of protein and blood products listed above are intended to bind the antibodies and deactivate them. While it can temporarily clear the blood of the activated immune system components, it is not curative.

Chinese medicine seeks to diagnose and treat the cause of the autoimmune reactivity, not its manifestation. When you look for the underlying cause, you are working at the level of energy; not strictly at the level of identifiable form, where it is more important to specifically identify and suppress the elevated marker of immunity. So, whether it is ATA, ACA, APA, ANA, PTT or elevated NK cells, we look at the energy that gives rise to the expression. Almost always there is a weakening of the Spleen system of energies, which governs internal recognition, and a strong sense of self.  The weak spleen energies will allow for some excess factor to be present, energetically expressed as dampness, stasis, stagnation, or heat.

When we can fortify the weakened spleen energies and reduce the presence of the excess factor, the conditions for the autoimmune reaction go away on their own. In my experience, it is much more potent to work energetically than to chase around the manifestation. Yet, the two approaches can be quite effective together; you don’t have to choose natural healing over those which are more invasive or vice versa.

I have worked with many women who had autoimmune infertility, who were concurrently being treated by Western medicine. When we can address the reason for the weakened spleen energies (diet, anxiety, over-thinking, poor sense of self), we can nourish them, and bring the body into a state where it doesn’t perceive components of self as a threat. We reduce the excess factors through herbs and acupuncture, and the internal fight abates. In the meantime, IL or IVIG treatments can bind up the circulating antibodies while the body is in a state of healing. We have treated the cause and the manifestation

The Spiritual Pivot

One of the earliest recorded works of medicine; the fundamental doctrine of Chinese Medicine is the Huang Di Nei Jing So Wen Ling Shu, dated approximately two centuries BCE. These two volumes (Su Wen and Ling Shu) comprise a dialog between the Yellow Emperor and his physician, Qi Bo, on the workings of nature as it pertains to the human body, the origin of disease and its cure. The second volume, called the Ling Shu or Spiritual Pivot, discusses the theory and application of acupuncture.  Chapter 8 of the Spiritual Pivot makes the recognition, “Before needling, one must be rooted in spirit.”  My interpretation of this sentence is that until one is in touch with one’s spirit – both the practitioner’s and the patient’s, the treatment will be ineffective.

All rue healing comes through the heart, the home of the spirit. If we take this all the way through, there are no healers, unless their primary motive is to bring one in harmony with one’s spirit, where all healing originates.

I teach and work with a community of practitioners whom I consider experts in Chinese medicine and fertility. I don’t call them healers; nor do I refer to myself or anyone else as a healer. We are so cut off from the healing power of our own spirit, if we place our healing in the hands of another; we potentially place ourselves at the mercy of someone who is one step further away from the healing power of our own heart. The word pivot refers to an essential turning point, where one turns away from outer help and toward the power of ones own inner wisdom.

Chinese medicine has shamanic roots where unless a turn is made to the spiritual source within, there will be no remedy, no cure. One will continue to be overtaken by what used to be considered evil spirits. These are no different than what we would consider origins of disease:

External pathogens;

Dietary or environmental toxins;

A posturing of anger that keeps one in a state of internal distress;

A state of victimhood, where one is at the mercy of another;

Unexamined, subconscious fear.

These can show up as chronic inflammatory conditions, hormonal imbalances, cancer, strokes, bleeding disorders, reproductive disturbances, heart attacks, you name it. Where disease has appeared, its origin is in losing ones resonance with ones own heart and place in the world.

Healing can be addictive, if one continues to rely on outside sources for ultimate healing. If there were a true healer, they would render their work irrelevant and put themselves out of business. So, in my view, real healing is helping someone to raise their energetic level to the point where they become their own healer. They transcend the need to be healed.

Can Women Make New Eggs?

A new study confirmed the underlying belief, unproven, that the ovary contains deep, hidden stem cells, capable of becoming new eggs. It was previously believed that a woman’s ovarian potential was determined before birth, and was incapable of being improved upon. While science hasn’t been able to study ovarian potential from healthy, living ovarian tissue, rodent studies have supported the idea that mammalian ovarian cells have a potential to produce new cells. Yet, the only tissue science has previously had to study was pathological or diseased tissue, removed from the body. It was previously proven that menopausal ovaries, when placed in a younger, healthier body, were capable of ovulating again. Science does not know how, why, or under what circumstances those stem cells can produce eggs. The ovaries respond to cues from the internal environment (the blood circulation, hormones, nutritional status, oxygenation, stress hormones in the blood., toxin and antioxidant levels…) and create a follicular environment to mimic the body’s internal response to its external environment. It is within that follicular environment that the eggs (which have been in a dormant state since before birth) undergo meiosis, and wait to see if they will be selected for maturation and ovulation.

Knowing that ovarian tissue is capable of producing new eggs, and knowing that primordial follicles remain dormant until called into circulation by communicating with the body’s internal environment (which is based on her emotional interpretation of the external environment), let me provide a couple of stories from women I have treated.

A woman underwent high dose radiation and chemotherapy, which “killed” her ovaries. She conceived naturally.

A woman in ovarian failure, with an FSH value over 100, conceived naturally.

A woman conceived during her 7th IVF at age 47.

A woman conceived naturally with ¼ of one ovary.

A woman conceived naturally with only one ovary on the left, and only one fallopian tube, on the right.

A woman gave birth to her first child, conceived naturally, at age 48.

The body is capable of miraculous feats, when provided the right cues. I am less concerned with how to manipulate stem cells in the lab ten years from now, than I am with providing the right environment where the body can call upon its deepest, dormant potential now. While the examples might be clinical anecdotes and not research worthy, the beauty of these stories is that each of the women above had to call upon a higher potential within. According to Chinese medicine, the energy that stirs this primordial potential comes not from the Kidneys (which govern the ovaries), but from the Heart (Spirit’s) interaction with the primordial potential within the ovaries. Energetically, ones highest potential must reach into one’s most basic potential. When an internal pressure cooker is provided (like the fertility journey,) an internal state of tension is produced, requiring one to call upon this higher level of interaction. If it isn’t accessed, the HPO axis continues on its previous (horizontal) pathway of decline. When a woman can access her heart’s highest potential, we can consider it an evolutionary jump, calling upon that hidden (vertical) potential to now manifest at a higher level.

Choosing Love Over Fear

Creation comes through love, not fear. Simply put, fear contracts and closes off the portal of creation. Love has an opening effect, and seeks more of itself. Love has a strongly magnetic effect, fear repels. Whatever your heart desires most, bring through love, not through fear of its absence.

There is a void at the center of your heart that connects you to all of creation. There is also a void in the center of the womb that opens to the life giving power that emanates from your heart. When fear of not getting what you want is stronger than the heart's desire, the contractive nature of fear energetically closes off the womb's receptivity to the life giving power of the heart.

Most of us have been conditioned to go after what we want out of fear of not getting it. Fear of financial insecurity can propel us toward great professional careers. Fear of being alone can move us toward relationships, both helpful and harmful. As our attention is directed outward, fear can actually serve us in  obtaining our personal effort based achievements. Fear moves us away from that which we most try to avoid.

Yet fear has only a fraction of the power of love. Fear has no ability to produce; it only drains. Fear produces a state of control, which lulls us into thinking we have power. Control is fear based, and depleting.

Love, which emanates from the heart, has no need to control. It simply moves toward opening to more of itself. Love is the creative power of the universe.

When our actions are based on fear of not getting a child, our behaviors are controlling and motivated by deprivation. Energetically, it is almost impossible to conceive from this state of being. This is a very infertile state, as fear begets more lack. Infertility is fed by fear and control. When our actions are motivated by love, we feel nourished and energized. Love is vibrantly alive, and seeking more of itself. Love is the most abundantly fertile state.

When your fertility challenge leaves you fearful, don't fight, resist, or control. Simply shift your attention to the heart, and focus on the love for life. Let life's longing for itself be the motivating force. In every moment, choose love over fear.

2012 - The Year of the (Water) Dragon

Beginning with the next new moon, we enter into the year of the water dragon, deep and fierce. There is a dragon asleep in the heart of humanity. From the depths of the ocean, this dragon rises to the surface, beckoning us into the most fierce approach to life - to awaken to the fire breathing magnificence of our own miraculous power. Some will heed it's power, and some will turn away from its call.

We are not the small beings we have taken ourselves to be; and are not, in fact, what we think we are. We are not victims of life, nor are we at its mercy. We are life itself, and as such are beyond such happenings as birth and death. Our own unfathomable being is so grand that it cannot be contained in a body or a mind. These are mere reflections, vehicles through which our divine magnificence peers through into this three dimensional existence. The face of your own divinity will devour all illusion.

When the power of this dragon is awakened, it will stop at nothing. It is propelled by the fiercest force in all of existence - to know itself as all. This force will consume you and all you have known until it comes to rest in the cave of stillness, knowing its source, containing the pure potential from which all arises.

If you dare to awaken this dragon, it will consume all of its manifestations. It will see past the illusion of the dream made self. It will face and devour all of your fears, angers, sorrows, and conditional love, joy, and happiness. It will not rest until it resides in the unborn grandeur of the unconditioned, in peace that cannot be understood; only lived.

This dragon cannot die. It has never not been. It has always been there, sleeping in  the cave of your own heart, waiting for your invitation. It brings you to the power many dare not encounter. Do not be afraid to come face to face with your own terrible magnificence. You are the life you have been longing for. You have taken birth for this chance. Dare to use the power of the dragon to awaken to the life giving powers of creation arising from the depth of your own being.

Free Conference Call - Monday January 30th at 7 p.m. EST

Happy Chinese New Year!

Free Conference Call Next Monday

The Basics of Fertility Enhancement

Q&A with Dr. Randine Lewis

Monday January 30th at 7 p.m. EST

I strongly believe that even just finding out about The Fertile Soul has a powerful, ripple, helpful effect, especially for those who cannot travel, but who nevertheless read -- and listen-- ask questions, wonder, benefit, and grow, grow, grow. L.H.

I am looking forward to a rich retreat in January, where we will focus on aging, overwhelm, and turning into the wellspring of deep inner guidance. In this inner sanctuary there is no aging or overwhelm. When we can reside in this place, a more fertile response to life is possible, which of course, is reflected in our reproductive response. Our New York session filled up quickly, but we do have openings in February in my hometown of Asheville, NC, February 17-20th, where our focus will expand to include welcoming in the year of the Dragon, a powerful and dynamic expression of the Chinese New Year. We will use this power to deeply connect with the life-giving source within. I love witnessing the power of retreat participants as they learn to live the miracle!

We will also offer a free conference call on Monday, January 30th at 7 p.m. EST. I will go over some fertility basics and open the call up to your questions and answers. I hope you will be able to join us - whether you are new to the Fertile Soul or have already embraced this process. I look forward to connecting with you.

To Join in dial 605-475-4000 then access code 794774#.  Those calling from Canada should call 805-360-1075 and then you will be prompted to enter the original number and access code.

Can Foods Make You Fertile?

I was recently interviewed for an article by The Daily Beast, entitled “Can Foods Make You Infertile?” The author wanted to substantiate some research claims about foods that were good and bad for your fertility. It is an interesting piece. I still take issue with the study on whole milk and ice cream being good for your fertility, but they were not looking for refuting evidence; only substantiating evidence. Milk is not good for your fertility, but fat is. Milk fat, butter fat, Omega-3s, coconut oil, flaxseed oil… I still advise avoiding cow dairy products, and including plenty of non-trans fat. Other than that, here is the list from the Daily Beast: 1. Men who drink at least a quart of cola daily have sperm counts almost 30 percent lower than men who drink no cola.

2. Women who eat lots of low-fat dairy products face an 85 percent higher risk of ovulatory infertility than women who consume little or no low-fat dairy products.

3. Men who eat large quantities of soy-based foods produce 32 percent less sperm per milliliter than men who consume no soy-based foods.

4. Women who consume at least one daily serving of whole milk are more than 50 percent less likely to experience ovulatory infertility than are women who consume less than one serving of whole milk per week.

5. Men who are exposed to large quantities of bisphenol-A (BPA), a chemical used in the manufacture of canned foods, have sperm counts about 23 percent lower than men with no BPA exposure.

6. Vegan women are only one-fifth as likely to have twins as are vegetarian and omnivorous women.

7. Men with high concentrations of trans-fatty acids in their semen have 96 percent fewer sperm than men with low concentrations of trans-fatty acids in their semen.

8. Women who consume at least one alcoholic beverage per day have a nearly 50 percent greater risk of ovulatory infertility than women who drink no alcohol.

9. Women who are exposed to large quantities of perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), a synthetic chemical used in the linings of microwave-popcorn bags, face an infertility risk ranging from 70 percent to 134 percent higher than that of women with the least amount of PFOA exposure.

10. Men who eat a traditional Dutch diet have sperm counts nearly twice as high as do men who eat a fish-and-produce-based diet.

11. Women who eat large quantities of omega-3 fatty acids are 22 percent less likely to be diagnosed with endometriosis—a common cause of infertility—than women who eat little or no omega-3s.

12. Women who consume large quantities of non-heme iron—the kind found in lentils, spinach, and supplements—have a 40 percent lower risk of ovulatory infertility than women who consume little or no non-heme iron.

13. Women who consume at least 5 percent of their daily calories in the form of vegetable protein rather than meat protein have a 50 percent lower risk of ovulatory infertility than women who consume only meat protein.

14. The sperm of men who consume very low quantities of antioxidants is only two thirds as motile as the sperm of men who consume high quantities of antioxidants.

15. Men whose mothers ate beef at least seven times a week while pregnant with them are three times as likely to have low sperm counts as men whose mothers ate less beef while pregnant.

For the complete article, see:


TCM Diagnosis

The Infertility Cure lays out some of the diagnostic parameters to assess someone’s patterns of imbalance, and thereby discover methods to bring one into harmony with life. The ancient texts of Chinese medicine state that disease states arise from being out of harmony with nature. When we lose our essential harmony with life, tension arises. Stress results. We enter states of “dis-ease”, at the level of the physical body, emotional resistance, mental patterns that do not serve us, and spiritual unrest.

The beauty of the system of Chinese medicine is that it allows us to delve deeply into each area of our life, and uncover areas where the way we have responded to our life situation, and how we interact with our environment, are the cause of all states of imbalance. These patterns of imbalance result in physical symptoms, including the inability to bring forth life, a natural and inherent tendency that we all embody during our reproductive years.

When we utilize this diagnostic system, we can chart our course in life without resistance. Our lives start to flow more freely. Unhealthy patterns fall away. I often hear from retreat participants, “This is the way I always knew life could be.” I remember in my own experience when I first felt a deep sense of well being, which preceded my ability to conceive. What a gift that was!

That sense of well being guides me now, and never lets me down. I no longer am at the mercy of life, anyone else’s opinions about my life, my health, or well being. I, and only I, am responsible for my life. How empowering… but, also, how daunting this was at times. I could no longer blame doctors, my past, life situations, or anyone else for any difficulty that arose. My response to life was up to me. Nobody else.

As I said in The Infertility Cure, this is not a process for the weak at heart. Nor is fertility; nor is motherhood. It is the most courageous journey you can take. It will never let you down.