Dr. Shawna Darou: The Fertility Care™ program is a thoroughly studied, scientific method for achieving fertility. The program was developed by Dr. Shawna Darou, who has successfully treated infertility since 2004. It has shown great success in treating many situations including new patients who have just discovered fertility difficulties, as well as those who are currently undergoing other methods of treatment including IVF.
The program is broken into two stages: first the “Pre-Conception Stage” and second the “Ready to Conceive” Stage. Our clinical data has shown that success in fertility (as well child-birth) is strongly dependent on maximizing the patient’s overall health before conception. Below is a flowchart to the Fertility Care Program. Please note that, where needed, the program is adjusted according to the individual situation. There may be cases where we dive right in to support an ongoing cycle. Wherever possible, however a 3 month pre-conception preparation period is highly recommended.
For those of you who are concurrently undergoing assisted reproductive therapies such as IVF (in vitro fertilization) or IUI (intrauterine insemination), we have found great benefit by significantly increasing the probability of conception.
The Pre-Conception Stage:
This first stage can be considered a fertility boot-camp with the object of realigning the body from a negative, depleted state to a healthy, balanced one that is optimized for fertility.
The pre-conception stage of the program begins with a complete and thorough health assessment. This is extremely important, since the results of the assessment become the foundation for an individual’s program. The assessment begins with in-depth patient doctor interviews and the addition of lab testing to provide a comprehensive assessment of factors that may be inhibiting fertility. Testing may include: standard hormonal assessment (estrogen, progesterone, testosterone, FSH, LH, prolactin), testing for stress hormones (usually saliva testing), a thorough thyroid panel, food sensitivity testing. (If you have recently had such testing done through another practitioner, they do not need to be repeated).
Your health is mapped out to include variables such as: nutritional status; toxin exposure; presence of autoimmune disease and/or chronic illness; stress management and stress hormone evaluation; use of coffee, alcohol, nicotine, medications; energy levels; weight and body fat distribution; digestion; among other factors. In addition, specific markers related to fertility are examined: age, hormone balance, presence of conditions such as endometriosis or fibroids, ovulation status, hormone levels, among other variables, relative to an ideal state of fertility.
In many cases, treatment may start with a 10-14 day detoxification program with the aim to reset hormone levels, remove toxins as much as possible and remove inflammatory foods. Toxins may be an impediment to fertility and before the body can conceive it needs to detox various toxins that have built up in fat cells over many years of living in polluted environment and consuming unhealthy foods that contain fertility inhibitors.
Diet is crucial to fertility. The logic is simple here: Eating the wrong foods greatly decreases the chances for fertility while eating the right ones vastly increases it. Based on your assessment, a complete nutritional regime is prescribed and monitored to ensure maximum benefit. Adjustments will be made depending on each person’s constitution and diagnosis. The goal here is to remove the road-blocks to fertility and support the natural fertility drive within the body through nutrition.
Supplements and Herbs
Supplements and Herbs will be prescribed to support the constitution and stimulate vital fertility factors within the body such as: strengthening ovulation, lengthening the luteal phase and lowering FSH for example. The specific choice and amount of each will be subject to one’s assessment. These will include high-quality multivitamins and essential fatty acid supplements, as well as specific nutrients and/or herbal combinations depending on diagnosis and assessment. Clinical studies have demonstrated that appropriate use of supplements and herbs increases natural fertility. We strongly caution patients not to self-prescribe supplements during the program since this can bring on adverse affects. Any supplement/herb intake should be done only under the clinical supervision of a professional health care practitioner.
A number of major studies have clearly demonstrated that acupuncture increases chances of conception, both as a stand-alone treatment as well as in combination with assisted fertility methods such as IVF (in vitro fertilization). A specific fertility acupuncture protocol to match each patient will be prescribed to restore hormonal balance and reduce stress. Sessions are typically done weekly throughout the program.
Study after study has shown that negative stress greatly reduces fertility. In clinic research has pin-pointed which stressors are the major contributes to reduced fertility and we have responded by assembling a detailed approach to reversing this. Stress hormone levels will be assessed and specific treatments will be prescribed.
Homeopathy is a powerful aid in stimulating fertility. In 50% of our clinical case we observed a dramatic positive change in fertility directly related to homeopathic treatment. Each case will undergo a thorough homeopathic assessment and constitutional remedy recommendation.
Factors including smoking (second hand or otherwise), alcohol consumption, caffeine intake, the amount and type of exercise you are doing, and eating habits all have an impact on fertility. In this section, an in depth lifestyle assessment is made and adjustments are prescribed to bring it in line to optimal fertility.
Ready to Conceive Stage:
Once the pre-conception stage is complete, the body’s will be near or at it’s optimum, and ready to conceive. During this time, you are still followed by the clinic, so we can watch your cycle and continue to support stress management. An individualized conception schedule is prescribed and followed with specific attention to timing and other related factors. During this stage you will be closely monitored for fertility response. This period typically lasts three months (or 3 ovulation cycles). Within this time-frame conception is usually achieved.
Psychotherapy support for fertility:
Painful feelings can emerge when struggling with fertility issues that compound stress. Feeling betrayed by your own body and suffering silently in social situations are common experiences. For women who are over-achieving in other areas of their lives it can be frustrating to not be able to push through and make conception happen. Like many difficult life situations this can be a fertile time for personal growth. Find emotional relief and the support you need with one on one psychotherapy.