Dr. Danielle Commisso is a licensed Naturopathic Doctor located in Ontario with a clinical focus on women's health and fertility.
My Naturopathic practice focuses primarily on women’s health, and a large part of that consists of women and couples wanting to start a family. Fertility concerns have been on the rise for years, which can cause couples to have heightened anxieties around growing their family. When seeing patients for fertility, I always suggest beginning treatment at least 4 to 6 months prior to conceiving, in order to improve overall health through acupuncture, lifestyle and dietary changes to create an optimal environment for conception. I have put together the ten most common fertility questions I get asked in my practice!
1. When should we start preparing?
It is never too early for you and your partner to prepare for pregnancy. Rule of thumb is at least 3 months, however I suggest between 4 and 12 months!
2. When is the best time to see a naturopathic doctor in our fertility journey?
I see patients who are wanting to conceive in the near future, as well as those who have been trying for some time. It is always best to be as proactive as possible, in order to determine any potential concerns early on!
3. How long will it take us to conceive?
There are so many factors that impact conception, that this is a difficult question to answer. Every couple is different depending on their health history and current health status. My advice? To improve your chances of conceiving, make sure to focus on eating nutritious foods, managing your stress, getting a solid 8 hours of sleep each night and moving your body regularly.
4. Can I see a naturopathic doctor while receiving support from a fertility clinic?
Definitely! It is common to seek Naturopathic support while you are receiving treatment with a fertility clinic.
5. What factors impact fertility?
It is important to remember that there are so many factors that come into play when wanting to start a family. You and your partner’s current and past health history, blood work, a female’s menstrual cycle, the male’s hormone picture, stress, the environment, cleaning products used around the home, diet, etc.
6. We are wanting to start a family in the next few years, is there anything we can do now?
Yes! Seek care with a naturopathic doctor to determine your current health status. I always do a thorough health intake, as well as blood work, to determine any vitamin or mineral deficiencies, hormonal imbalances, underlying autoimmune conditions, etc.
Once these are determined, we treat the root cause in order to optimize health and maximize your chances of conceiving in the future. There are also several things that can be done to improve health and sperm quality prior to conception!
7. Does acupuncture help with fertility?
Acupuncture is one of my favourite modalities when it comes to fertility.
Acupuncture treatments can be used in addition to lifestyle and dietary changes to reduce stress, improve sleep and balance hormones for optimal fertility. It can also be used to complement IVF treatments, in order to increase chances of implantation.
8. Is there blood work to determine fertility?
My top fertility blood work consists of: AMH that can determine ovarian reserve, Sperm sample (we sometimes forget that men are 50% of the equation!), Vitamin D, Thyroid panel (this includes not only TSH, but also T4, T3 and Thyroid Antibodies) and hormones like estrogen, progesterone, LH and FSH.
9. Is there anything my male partner can do to help our chances of conceiving?
This is a question I don’t get often enough. As women, we tend to take on most of the responsibility when it comes to conceiving. We often forget that, as I said above, men are half of the equation! There are a lot of things men can do to increase the chances of pregnancy. I always suggest improving diet, making sure to get at least 8 hours of sleep, decreasing alcohol consumption to 1-3 times weekly, exercising at least 3 times weekly and avoiding recreational drugs. There are also supplements that can help improve sperm quality such as Zinc, CoQ10 and Vitamin D. *Always seek care with a naturopathic doctor or other health care professional before self-supplementing.
10. What can I do right now to improve my fertility?
- Start tracking your cycle, including how you feel leading up to your period, how heavy or painful your cycles are, headaches, energy, etc.
- Determine if you are ovulating through tracking your basal body temperature and/or purchasing LH strips - my favourite are OVRY :)
- Find a naturopathic doctor to work with!
- Get the right blood work done
- Take a high quality prenatal vitamin, emphasis on high quality!
- Focus on eating nutrient dense foods
- Manage stress
At the end of the day, every couple’s fertility journey is so unique. If you are thinking about starting a family in the next 6 months or even 6 years, a naturopathic doctor can optimize you and your partner’s overall health, and in turn minimize the chances of concern when it’s time!