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Fertility Myths

April 6, 2015

Dr. Fox responds to article below:

1.  Male Fertility:  The guys always think they are ok if they have a prior child.  We see guys who “get lucky” but have severe problems and we see declining fertility in men just like women.  Things can change in a relatively short time.
3.  Smoking:  We now believe that the egg that will ovulate to produce the pregnancy begins to develop 8-12 weeks before the cycle starts.  Therefore, if you wait until pregnancy to stop smoking, the egg developed under the influence of nicotine.
5.  Diminished Ovarian Reserve:  This is the most difficult problem we face in fertility medicine.  At present no real fix for this problem exists.  We can offer advanced treatments that do increase the chances, but the real problem is not being addressed.  For women who know they will be delaying pregnancy into their 30’s, a newer procedure, egg freezing (fertility preservation) is now available.  Eggs are frozen in the early to mid 20’s that later will allow for better fertility.  This is also important for women and men facing cancer treatments that could negatively impact fertility.
7.  Weight loss:  It is true that 5-10% makes a great difference to those seeking pregnancy.  However, we see exponential benefits when the method of weight loss also is directed at lowering insulin levels.  A low carbohydrate, high fat diet is key and can result in dramatic increases in fertility and much greater weight loss than 10%.  This approach in pregnancy is vital in aiding fetal development and preventing hypertension of pregnancy, diabetes of pregnancy and excessive weight gain seen in so many pregnancies today.  It is now believed by many that the babies future metabolic health (weight, risk of diabetes, heart attack, stroke, cholesterol profile etc.) may be determined primarily by signals from the mother during pregnancy.  These signals most likely relate to the mother’s diet and hormonal changes that occur as a result of certain foods (carbohydrates, insulin etc.).  So beware, there is a great deal more to the story than just “lose some weight!”
10.  Caffeine:  Personally, I think caffeine is one of the biggest elephants in the living room.  Caffeine, nicotine, cocaine, amphetamine, are all stimulants that send a life threatening signal to one’s brain.  The brain responds with other countermeasures that are not positive but designed to save one’s life.  Everyone knows that amphetamine and cocaine is bad on a chronic basis, but caffeine, like carbohydrates slip in there under the social norm and “legal” blessed status.  There have been numerous studies now that aren’t necessarily published but presented in poster format at our national meetings correlating decreased fertility with increased caffeine.  It is likely one of the most understudied toxins in our world…… 
Michael D. Fox, MD
Jacksonville Center
Reproductive Medicine 

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