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Case Study: Infertility - A Nutritionist's Personal View

by Midi Fairgrieve(more info)

listed in case studies, originally published in issue 144 - February 2008

Struggling with fertility is a huge personal hurdle to overcome in life. Not least, because fertility is something we see as a basic human right. Like puberty and ageing, fertility is part of our body’s natural rhythm and function. Infertility is becoming more and more of a challenge for couples as contributing factors combine to cause as many as one in four to fail to conceive.

Infertility was the most deeply saddening and challenging thing I have ever faced. I was 38 when I started trying to conceive and a year later discovered I had entered early menopause. Nine months of tests followed at the Edinburgh Royal Infirmary tracking my ovulation, or lack of it, to confirm that I was indeed in true menopause. I had no hormone profile sufficient to stimulate my ovaries to produce eggs. I had no words to voice my sadness.

What followed was an incredible journey through my own infertility to the creation of a child and a company dedicated to helping people overcome infertility using natural medicine.

After being told that we would never be able to have a child of our own, my partner and I decided that we would work on our health for as long as it took to see if we could shift my body into producing a last few eggs, and for him to ensure his sperm health was optimum if I did ovulate. Ironically, many of my clients at the time were having difficulties with fertility; this was becoming an area of increasing expertise and interest.

I followed a self-designed programme of detoxification (I had very high lead levels known to inhibit ovulation), and increased my intake of nutrients via an entirely organic whole food vegan diet, plus a variety and quantity of nutritional supplements. I also had specific mineral deficiencies, especially zinc and manganese (also known to inhibit ovulation) which needed to be raised.

Throughout this combined detoxification and optimum nutrition period of 14 months, I went for monthly acupuncture and reflexology to further optimize my health. I also looked at my inner self, my emotional and mental health, in search of anything that could bring greater health and harmony to my whole being and create a chance for my fertility to change.

I began to ovulate after 12 months, and on the fourth month I conceived. Despite being 40 at this point, I had a ‘text’ book pregnancy according to my GP and a natural, problem free birth.

This personal journey has taught me much more than just the incredible power of natural healing. It has also reconfirmed to me that taking a holistic view of every case and condition is essential to its understanding and potential healing. Be it infertility, bowel problems or diabetes, infertility is a signal, a sign, a cry that the body is struggling to maintain health. It is a manifestation of being out of balance as a whole, and the cause of fertility problems are often rooted far deeper than just on the physical level.

If I learned nothing else during my own fertility journey it was that the need to look into all aspects of our health is essential. Much has been documented by the work of Foresight (The Association for the Promotion of Preconceptual Care) regarding the importance of correcting levels of nutrients, the need to detoxify heavy metals, the need to avoid alcohol and coffee, etc., in order to re-balance hormones and raise the body’s fertility. It is also important to look at other causal factors and influences which affect fertility negatively, such as electro magnetic pollution, chemicals in the home and beauty products, and not least, what is going on in the mind, the emotions, and the spirit of the person not able to conceive. Emotional baggage from the past affects the present, and I believe is vital that people can be helped to heal their past to bring health and harmony to the now.

I can piece together many factors which combined to give me a ‘health picture’ of early menopause where no family history pre-existed. There was the smoking and drinking in my 20s, lead toxicity from city living, emotional baggage from past relationships, (some abusive), a lack of self-worth and, I think it was also, my life’s journey on some level too.

When working with clients now I always look for the route that an individual has taken, on all levels, to get to the point of their infertility. By understanding that, they can be taken back along the road to health with a far greater chance of a healthy conception than high-tech medicine can provide.

Working with individuals and couples on their fertility has become an area of work I love and inspiring me to create specialized pre-conception/ fertility detox retreats to help individuals and couples overcome their fertility issues. It was born out of my own painful and miraculous journey, and the knowledge that it makes more sense to enhance health and get the body prepared for pregnancy than to follow a highly technical medical route.

I consider planning for a health pregnancy and raising your health to its optimum to be the first and most important step anyone can take towards getting truly ready for a healthy conception.

My Programme

Infertility Treatment Programme
At age 38: Early menopause diagnosed firstly by my GP (High FSH as indicated in menopause) followed by confirmation by the Edinburgh Royal Infirmary after nine months of urine tests and scans.
Medical treatment: Donor eggs.
Programme of Natural Treatment:
Organic vegan diet with no gluten, sugar coffee, tea, etc.
Nutritional supplements: Mineral formulas and individual minerals to remove the high lead content I had as ‘diagnosis’ via hair testing. E.g. Magnesium, calcium, zinc, selenium, potassium, B-complex, Co Q 10, Vitamins C, A, E, Aloe Vera, Flax oil, Fish oil, Fresh juice twice daily, Coffee enemas once every alternate day.
Complementary Treatments: Acupuncture and Chinese herbs – monthly appointments plus daily herbs.
Reflexology – in the last five months prior to conception.
and on-going inner work
Avoidance of: Electro-magnetic pollution, e.g. mobile phone, water bed, electric blanket, no microwave cooking/food. Common chemicals, e.g. in body care products, washing powder, etc. Switched to non chemical products.
Treatment outcome:
Pregnancy after 14 months of the above programme. I began to ovulate after 12 months and then every month for four months until pregnant. Joe is now six years-old.

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About Midi Fairgrieve

Midi Fairgrieve DN Med DIridol Dip PCouns DThD Nutritional Therapist, (Member of the Federation of Nutritional Therapy Practitioners, Associate member, SRMHC) is originally from the Scottish Borders and in 1990 studied natural health and healing. She gained professional qualifications in Nutritional Medicine, Dietary Therapeutics and Iridology from the British School of Nutritional Medicine in London with Professor Lawrence Plaskett. Finding that complete healing needs a truly integrated approach she continued to train in other therapeutic arts, gaining qualifications in Progressive Counselling and Natural Spiritual Healing at the Self-Realization Meditation Healing Centre in Somerset, England.

Her experience of working with both cancer and infertility with specific detoxification regimes has given her great insights into the power of detoxification and inspired her to create a programme which is uniquely holistic in its approach. This was the inspiration for creating Detox International, where people could come and retrerat for a week, detoxify, nurture their bodies and minds and be supported to find better health and happiness. Midi’s personal experience of overcoming infertility using nutrition and detoxification has increased her passion for working with clients to regain the best of health. Midi has written for many magazines and health publications and is the author of The Natural Way for Dogs and Cats: natural treatments, diet and remedies for your pet.

Midi lives in Spain with her partner Steve and their son, Joe and may be contacted on Tel: 0845 1000247

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