An Integrative Approach to Fertility

From the Show: Dr. Taz Show
Summary: Infertility is a "symptom" in a sense. Once identified, the investigation begins to determine the cause.
Air Date: 5/16/17
Duration: 20:05
Host: Dr. Taz
Guest Bio: Tina Koopersmith MD, FACOG
Tina-KoopersmithTina Koopersmith MD, FACOG, is a graduate of Duke university (BA Political Science) and received her medical degree (MD) from Duke Medical School.

She did her Residency in OB/GYN at USC Los Angeles County Medical Center, followed by a fellowship in fertility reproductive endocrinology at USC Los Angeles County Medical Center.

Dr. Koopersmith has been practicing gynecology and fertility since 1995 in the San Fernando valley and is presently doing a fellowship in integrative medicine.

She founded the West Coast Women's Reproductive Center in order to educate women and help them become the healthiest and happiest version of themselves. Not only is Dr. Koopersmith passionate about helping women, but she feels it is so important to feel the best about oneself.
An Integrative Approach to Fertility
Infertility is a "symptom" in a sense. Once identified, the investigation begins to determine the cause.

The most common underlying reasons include age, poor diet, weight (both underweight and overweight), nutrient deficiency, stress and anxiety, exposure to toxins, and decreased potency of sperm (due to environmental and lifestyle factors). Genetic issues or unknown birth defects may also contribute. 

Tina Koopersmith MD, FACOG, founder of West Coast Women's Reproductive Center, explains it's important to look at an individual's health in a holistic way, similarly to how autoimmune issues are identified and ultimately addressed.

Risk factors that can be focused on immediately include:

  • Achieving an appropriate BMI for height/build.
  • Incorporating a mostly plant-based diet with lots of vegetables and fruit (up to nine servings per day). 
  • Vitamin supplementation, especially vitamin D and folic acid (folate).
A deeper look into infertility may involve the following:

  • Egg quality and quantity
  • Ovarian age (which may not correlate with your biological age)
  • Pituitary hormone levels
  • Anti-mullerian hormone levels (AMH)
  • Pelvis (cervix, uterus, tubes)
  • Semen analysis
If it seems something is awry, Dr. Koopersmith explains the available options:

  • Erratic menstrual cycles: medication to help ovulation.
  • Sperm is abnormal: attempts to "fix" the sperm, such as IUI (intrauterine insemination) or IVF (In Vitro Fertilization).
  • Unexplained infertility: combination of fertility drugs and IUI or IVF.
  • Third-party reproduction: egg donation, sperm donation, surrogacy.
However, Dr. Koopersmith also advises a period of "trying." For women under 35, seek help after one year of trying, and women over 35, go in after six months of trying.

Finally, she says it's important to be an advocate for yourself. Know your body, treat it well, and be aggressive in understanding what your fertility status is. If you feel like it's taking a long time and your doctor isn't open to doing a full fertility work-up, ask for a consult.

And, if you're young now but don't plan on starting a family for a while, think about freezing your eggs.

Listen in as Dr. Koopersmith joins Dr. Taz to provide an overview of fertility causes, potential solutions, and alternatives should natural pregnancy not be an option.