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Age and Reproduction

Posted on January 23rd, 2013 by | 16 views
by Jan Roberts B.Pharm (Hons) Dip. Clinical Nutrition

The media constantly reminds women (in particular) that child-bearing at an “older” age means greatly increased chances of infertility and other problems. Since many women will continue to focus on careers before babies, may take a long time to find their partner and also probable that a significant percentage of couples will embark on parenthood in a second marriage, the benefits of preconception health care must be promoted ahead of instilling fear into older prospective parents.

Which raises the question, is age really the most significant risk factor? Indeed, many studies point to other risk factors such as, reduced hormone levels and number of ova, reduced mitochondrial function in ova and sperm, reduced nutritional status and increased exposure to toxins such as chemicals, heavy metals, radiation and drugs over a longer life span.

Therefore when addressing the greater risks of older parents, we must be mindful that many problems commonly associated with age, may well have significant other causes, which are treatable during preconception preparation. Furthermore, attention must be paid to the father - men, as well as women, have a biological clock when it comes to producing healthy babies. Numerous studies confirm DNA damage, accumulating mutations, a greatly increased risk of lower intelligence, schizophrenia, Down Syndrome, miscarriage, pre-eclampsia and infertility with increasing paternal age.

In women, age has long been acknowledged as a risk factor for infertility, miscarriage, premature and stillbirth and poor foetal and infant health. Problems are principally due to deterioration in egg quality, with uterine health less affected. However, all aspects of an older mother’s reproductive health may be affected by extended exposure to toxins and poor nutrition. Older women are more likely to be obese and hypertensive, increasing risks such as gestational diabetes and pre-eclampsia.

So what can be done about the growing problem of increasing age in either parent? There is hope! Comprehensive preconception health care has been shown to give significant protection against age-related sub-fertility, miscarriage and foetal defect. The University of New England is conducting an independent study of 67 couples on the NFM conception program at The Jocelyn Centre. Preliminary results have already shown that 52% of previously infertile couples can conceive within the first 4 months following completion of preconception care. Over the last 30 years, working with many thousands of couples, The Jocelyn Centre, despite a high proportion of patients being in their late 30s, early to mid 40s and beyond, has seen an insignificant number of age-related defects, with the following forming the core of practitioner support.

  • Mitochondrial support for ageing eggs and sperm is vital and also helps motility : CoQ10 (up to 200 mg), Lipoic acid, Coleus
  • Zinc status needs to be assessed and treated
  • Antioxidants essential for sperm health and DNA fragmentation: Zn & Se (both plentiful in semen), CoQ10, Lipoic acid, Vits C & E, Grape Seed etc.
  • Detoxification and methylation
  • Hormonal and adaptogenic support
  • Treat obesity, hypertension, stress, blood sugar issues
  • Increase Folate dose (1mg or 5 mg if MTHFR +ve and/or methylated folate).

Confirming the programs at The Jocelyn Centre, Foresight, the UK-based Association for the Promotion of Preconceptual Care, has also found incidence of age related problems to be significantly reduced with preconception healthcare for both partners.

Jan Roberts B.Pharm (Hons) Dip. Clinical Nutrition
Platinum Health
PO Box 580 
Mosman NSW 2088
P: +612 8206 1828 F: +612 9280 0042 M: +61 421 598 371
Skype: janroberts

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