Good nutrition is not only an integral part of your family’s wellness plan; it can also increase your fertility. Researchers at the University of Pavla, in Pavla, Italy showed a link between proper nutrition and levels of leptin, a hormone which regulates metabolism and appetite. Leptin is also believed play a part in menstruation and pregnancy by stimulating the hypothalamus and pituitary gland, parts of the brain that are responsible for signaling the body to release reproductive hormones.
If you are trying to get pregnant, there are several ways you can eat to support healthy leptin levels and boost fertility.
Get Enough Calories
Encouraging someone to consume calories may seem counter-productive, but the truth is that getting enough calories stimulates leptin production. A study by the Division of Endocrinology at the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center of the Harvard Medical School indicates that suboptimal nutrition can reduce leptin production and adversely affect fertility. Suboptimal nutrition can be caused by something as simple as crash diets and eating disorders.
The recommended daily calorie intake for moderately active women, aged 19-50, is 2,000 through 2,200 calories per day. Active women need between 2,200 and 2,400 calories per day. Diets that have you consuming half the recommended calories, or less, could adversely affect your fertility levels.
Get Enough Protein
Protein, in the form of amino acids, is the primary component in muscle tissue, and it also contributes to hormone production. Meats, fish, and dairy products like eggs and milk are a great source of dietary protein. Those who don’t eat meat, or animal products, can get their protein from plant sources like soy, or by combining whole grains with beans and legumes.
The recommended daily protein intake for women aged 19-70 is 46 grams per day.
Get Enough Fat
Fat, in the form of fatty acids, are another major component used in hormone production. Your body also uses fats to make cell walls, including the cells the line the uterus. You can find healthy, monounsaturated, fats in foods like cold water fish, and in avocados, nuts and seeds. Dairy products and meats are a source of saturated fats, which can also contribute to hormone production, but you should eat them sparingly.
The recommended daily fat intake for adults aged 19 and older, is 20 percent to 35 percent of your total daily calories. For example, if you consume 2,000 calories per day, your total fat intake should be between 400 calories and 700 calories of fat per day—or between roughly 45 and 78 grams of fat per day.
When Diet Fails
Diet is not the only factor that influences fertility. Your age, general health status also play a role. For example, there are diseases of the reproductive system, such as uterine fibroids, endometriosis, and polycystic ovary syndrome, which can all adversely affect fertility.
Diet could have an effect on some of the hormonal factors that influence these diseases, but it cannot undo the damage to the uterus and ovaries that these diseases may cause. Some diseases, like primary ovary insufficiency, do not damage the reproductive organs, but can prevent you from producing and releasing eggs.
If the damage is severe enough, you might have to resort to other means of getting pregnant, such as fertility treatments and in-vitro fertilization using donor eggs.
As the name suggests, donor eggs are eggs donated by someone else, which you can use for in-vitro fertilization.
The eggs are donated anonymously, meaning the recipient never knows who the donor is. Although the donor is anonymous to the recipient, the organization or egg bank keeps detailed records of their donors.
There are also several egg donation requirements that donors are required to meet. These requirements include height and weight specifications, health status and genetic history. Donors must also meet certain educational standards to qualify for donation.
Using Donated Eggs
In order to have access to donated eggs, you must apply to be a patient at the egg bank. You must also have a means of fertilizing and implanting the eggs. The donor agency can handle the actual process of fertilization and implantation, but you need to provide the material and the means of carrying the fetus to term.
If your uterus is viable, then you can have the fertilized egg implanted into your own uterus and carry the fetus to term. If your uterus is not viable, you can use a surrogate to carry the child to term.