By Ricardo Miranda, L.Ac.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the definition of infertility is: “not being able to get pregnant (conceive) after one year of unprotected sex.” If a woman is over 35, then the diagnosis time is reduced to only six months.
The blend of the newest science in medicine today (Genetics and Epigenetics) with the oldest medicine on the planet (Chinese medicine) gives us the latest weapon against infertility. Many researchers have shown that acupuncture treatments can significantly increase the success rates for conceiving. Most fertility clinics nowadays will refer to acupuncture to increase their chances of success.
What most couples strive for, is a healthy baby. Family history becomes very important as we want to look at what genes may or may not be transferred to the baby.
One of the tools being implemented is genetic testing. The most cost-effective way to get a comprehensive genome (DNA) analysis is through 23andme.com.
The first gene to look at is MTHFR (Methylenetetrahydrofolate Reductase). MTHFR is arguably the most important of all our genes, because MTHFR provides the main fuel for a complex biochemical process called Methylation. In short MTHFR metabolizes folate or folic acid into its useful form to ignite methylation.
This unique biochemical process controls many functions in the body including the two most important functions: Process Chemicals for Detoxification and Regulate Gene Expression (turns genes on and off).
Then look at other genes that might affect the baby’s health. It is important to look at both parents’ genome and ideally treat father and mother for what I call “genetic clean up.” Although DNA can’t be changed, genetic mutation “tags” caused by epigenetic factors, which can be passed on to the baby, may be removed for the benefit of the baby.
MTHFR has been associated in many studies around the world with infertility and recurrent miscarriages. If a woman has a mutation, depending on the location of that mutation she may lose her ability to metabolize folate/folic acid by up to 70 percent and that may become a real problem if not addressed.
The reason all pre-natal vitamins contain folic acid is because it prevents birth defects. However if a woman has a homozygous MTHFR mutation she might lose up to 70 percent of the metabolization of folic acid and not get the benefit of the supplement. They must replace folic acid for methylfolate to bypass such mutation. Dosage will depend on the position of the mutation and the amount of folate present in their blood. Consideration should also be given to other biomarkers and health issues current present.
I have found that when using the latest western science diagnostic tool in genetics combined with the oldest medicine of all time, Chinese medicine (acupuncture and herbs), the chances of fertility are greatly increased as well as the chances for having a healthy baby. For more information head to: www.acupuncture.cc