evolution of the technology used in modern medicine over the last one hundred
years has successfully lead us to believe that we have the power to cure
mysterious illnesses and confront any challenges threatening our micromanaged
existence, including infertility. Our aging hips and polluted lungs are now
replaceable, and prescription drugs exist to prolong our lives: Why would
challenging infertility be any different?
When faced with the harsh reality of taking drugs to alleviate the side
effects of other drugs, we painfully question the true quality of our
prescribed lives. Attributing these factors to starting a family is no
different when considering the rising number of infertility cases worldwide.
Eager mothers are subjected to endless tests and invasive procedures and
disheartening side effects of injecting manufactured drugs and hormones could
easily discourage parents in waiting to proceed with the modern medical
wonderments of Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART).
there is more we could do with our valuable time that we describe as, ‘can’t
talk/working’, to improve the way we conduct our lives and start new families.
Often misperceived as ‘New Age’ medicine, the natural approach to medicine
sheds light on the beauty of slowing down and taking the time to understand our
bodies. Far from ‘New Age’, the natural approach to medicine shows how the
evolution of medicine allows us to better examine the true quality of our
health using principles of basic nutrition and biochemistry.
In this special interview with renowned fertility specialist and
naturopathic physician Iva Keene during her one-week visit to Kuwait, bazaar
explores the ideology behind “the natural fertility prescription”. Iva, an
ethical and compassionate practitioner of natural medicine, dedicates her time
in developing a universally applicable approach to challenging infertility.
Based in Switzerland, she has successfully aided hundreds of couples with
fertility problems towards overcoming barriers to pregnancy in an effort to
seek natural alternatives to invasive assisted reproductive technology
treatments like IVF (in-vitro fertilization).
Why would you advise parents in the Middle Eastern region
to opt for natural courses of treatment when Assisted Reproductive Techniques
like IVF could provide a faster solution for eager parents in waiting?
Eager parents in waiting sometimes fail to realize that by properly
preparing for pregnancy, with or without IVF, they are increasing their chances
of having a healthy baby. Essentially, this is about the baby and the health of
both parents at the time of conception is extremely important. Parents tend to
be impatient because they want to be successful or feel pressured, and for
success preparation is important. We meticulously prepare for everything in
life, like a vacation, buying a car or even a job interview so why not prepare
What are the main characteristics of Natural Fertility
treatments? Would you call your approach to treating infertility a holistic
The natural approach focuses on educating couples about their reproductive
systems and the factors that could impair the reproductive system and cause a
disruption when conceiving a baby. The reproductive system is linked with the
rest of the body and it is not treated as a separate entity as with assisted
reproductive treatments like IVF. The natural approach is more holistic as it
focuses on identifying and removing toxins and negative aspects contributing to
infertility or miscarriages and replacing them with nutrients that the body
needs to produce a healthy baby.
What are the main risks involved in conventional treatments
like IVF? Would you go as far as to advise against IVF?
IVF is a very technical approach as it isolates the reproductive system to
allow doctors to find a solution to a certain ‘blockage’. Risks are involved
because drugs are used to create what could happen naturally with a higher cost
to the mother and baby. Embryos are exposed to chemicals that could damage the
baby. In cases where the harvested egg and sperm are suboptimal in quality or
defected, the risk for malformation increases, predisposing the baby to
abnormal development. Emotional risks for women are also involved, with the
common factor of miscarriage, and the trying effect of the drugs used to
prepare for IVF. In certain cases of infertility, IVF is the only option
couples have. One cannot absolutely advise against IVF in such cases, however I
would advise to leave it as the last choice.
Are most infertility cases treatable with natural courses
Most cases are, as there exists only a very small percentage of true
infertility where conventional treatments like IVF is needed. The idea that IVF
is a solution for ALL infertility cases is problematic because with clear
investigations and giving pregnancy enough time, a natural pregnancy is highly
probable to occur. It normally takes women under the age of thirty up to six
months to get pregnant, and up to a year for women over thirty. If true success is to be achieved, then
improper preparation and rushing between treatments will not improve any
couple’s chances of conceiving a baby.
Are there any statistics for success rates of conventional
infertility treatments like IVF versus the natural courses of treatments?
There are various studies supporting natural fertility treatments. For
instance, a study by Foresight, the Association for Pre-conceptual care in the
UK demonstrated that without IVF and when natural treatment methods are
properly applied the natural method reversed over 80 percent of infertility
What are the main differences between conventional
infertility treatments and your recommended natural treatments?
The main differences consider the quality of treatments, and the technical
processes involved. With a natural course of treatment, the end result is
beneficial for everyone, preserving and enhancing health for the parents and
the baby. This is not a prioritized objective when considering conventional
treatments. Technically, natural treatment is based on principles of nutrition
and biochemistry, whereas conventional treatment utilizes drugs and invasive
procedures. One might think that a
natural course of treatment is unscientific, yet studies go back to thirty
years and longer; the effects of certain chemicals and foods are well
documented. A final technical difference is that natural treatment involves
both the male and female partners to be actively involved in creating optimal
fertility for the creation of a successful embryo, whereas IVF focuses mainly
on the mother.
Could infertility cases be treated naturally in conjunction
with a conventional form of IVF treatment?
Yes! In serious cases of infertility where IVF is the only option, the
natural treatment prepares the body, removing negative toxins and allowing for
the creation of optimal egg and sperm health from both parents for a successful
embryo to form. On average, the success rate for IVF is 25 percent, and is
elevated to 47 percent when aided by natural treatment methods. Also, the risk
for miscarriages to occur is highly reduced.
Before proceeding with any chosen course of infertility
treatment, natural or conventional, what is the recommended course of action
for patients in terms of preparing for their battles with infertility?
Patients must always think of the conception process as a whole, and
faithfully accepting any treatment without questioning and researching the side
effects is very risky.
Do you believe that the psychological state of mind of
patients plays a role in determining the success or failure of natural courses
The emotional state of patients is a continuous consideration of mine, as
the risk of miscarriages is reduced for women. The process of conception is emotionally challenging.
Meditation, visualization processes and emotional therapy is always advised to
reduce stress and provides support for couples. Some patients suffer from
extreme depression and a support system must always be in place when
challenging infertility. Even in cases where there are no organized institutes
or forums in place to provide support, we offer through our online program and
facebook group support which is available to everyone.
Women suffering from infertility also often experience
cases of repeated miscarriages. How does a natural treatment to infertility
affect these specific types of women?
Women who tend to suffer from recurring miscarriages often have partners
with suboptimal sperm quality. This is why it is very important for men to
optimize their reproductive health, as well.
Would you say that natural treatment to infertility ends
after achieving a successful conception and childbirth?
No, the diet can be followed indefinitely for optimal health and
wellbeing. It provides the mother with adequate nutritional support throughout
breastfeeding as well. Baby’s
eating habits later in life will be largely influenced by mother’s food choices
during breastfeeding. By adopting a healthy diet, such as outlined in the NFP
program, during breastfeeding the mother can help her child to develop healthy
eating habits in childhood.