Guest Blogger: Stephen Bollinger, Founder and CEO of Rinovum Women’s Health, makers of The Stork ® OTC , the new FDA-cleared, over-the-counter conception aid for use in the privacy and comfort of home.
As we have been told over and over again, fertility is a young persons’ “sport” when it comes to success rates, yet some of us find in our 30’s, we are, now, just ready to build a family. Today couples are delaying childbirth due to career choices/later marriages. These are common foundations for many over-30 couples before beginning their journey to parenthood, for the first, or second time. Couples have taken the time preparing to be in the “right place,” yet this may have made it a bit harder to attain their family planning goal.
The statistics are daunting with respect to an aging couple, yet we must remember that even in the best-case scenario, we only have a 25% chance for conception per month in our 20s (four months of unprotected intercourse to conceive on average). So as we age, the chances per month of success naturally decrease. Women at age 30 have approximately a 20% chances of conceiving each month and about a 5% chance in their 40s.
The challenges apply not just to the female, but equally to the male. Men have lost some traction in the process as well, with evidence pointing heavily to environmental factors. Today, versus just 15 years ago, the male sperm counts have dropped by 30% percent on average. Logically, this does impact the success rates for the sperm to reach and connect with the egg, adding to couples’ frustration.
Ok, all the above might sound terrible, yet no need to panic. Fertility is a multifactorial moment in time. If we approach the process somewhat logically, we can take steps to nudge the natural process of conception along and take a few factors out of the complicated, yet wonderful path to conception.
As a reminder, just like we were taught in our sexual education classes many years ago, basically, it is all about the egg and the sperm reaching each other and connecting. If we take that into consideration, let’s look at ways to better our success rates in connecting the egg and sperm. Sexual pleasure through intimacy is part of the process in getting the egg and sperm together (I know we all know that, yet it is sometimes nice to remind ourselves).
Men can take positive steps in increasing sperm volume and motility that can have a greater impact on the chance of the sperm reaching, through attrition, the egg. The only thing that you should know, that was not likely taught in high school (Sex Education) is it takes about 90 days or three months for any lifestyle changes to reflect improvement to the sperm. Thus, if you make healthy adjustments, generally speaking, it will have a positive impact in the quality and quantity of sperm 90 days into the future, not tomorrow. Men can lose weight, wear baggy shorts, avoid hot tubs, stop or slow down bad habits (alcohol, smoking, etc…), eat healthier, and take some form of anti-oxidants (like CoQ10), to support their sperm quality and quantity. Logically, the healthier he is are the healthier his sperm is.
Women can also take a few holistic steps to increasing their chances of success. Beyond the obvious of a healthy female being more likely to have healthy eggs and to be a healthy host for conception, we must remind ourselves that a woman only ovulates 1-day per month or during a 24-hour window per month, leaving a fertile window of only 24-72 hours. Shockingly, few women know exactly when this moment actually occurs. According to the Journal of Fertility & Sterility, only 10% of women know when they are ovulating. There are diagnostic tools available to us today that aid in identifying this most fertile window of time. There are ovulation prediction mobile apps and well -known ovulation test kits that are sold at your local pharmacy that can nudge your odds of getting that sperm to the egg at the right time.
Also, to increase the number of sperm reaching the egg, the woman’s vaginal environment (vaginal fluid) needs to be “friendly” enough to allow the greatest number of sperm to reach the egg before the vaginal fluid absorbs the foreign body, the sperm. Many factor such as stress, infections, etc… have a negative impact on the vaginal pH for conception. If the body’s pH is off or is chemically “hostile”, the vaginal fluids are likely to attack the foreign body (known as the sperm) and dramatically reduce the number of sperm that will have a chance to meet the egg.
As we continue to understand the many variables of conception that we can control, we do know that getting the highest number of sperm past the cervical opening, into the uterus at the right time, is a very good thing.
As you prepare for your next conception window, keep in mind that getting as many sperm to the egg is what you can control. Our new product, The Stork OTC® is a very nice way of supporting you in what you can do and control on the path to conception. Once you have your ovulation timing down, The Stork OTC can collect the semen during natural intercourse, bypass some of the vaginal fluid, and deliver the collected semen and sperm to the cervix. As with all assisted reproduction methods like IUI and IVF, this is just another attempt to get the greatest number of sperm to the egg. Recently, FDA-cleared for over-the-counter use, The Stork OTC is an option you can use at-home today.
The added “niceness” of The Stork OTC, is you can maintain the privacy and intimacy of conceiving in the comfort of your home. For more information, visit www.storkotc.com.
 Age and Fertility. A Guidebook for Patients ASRM.ORG. Accessed October 2014.
 Male fecundity and its implications for health and disease across the lifespan. Human Reprod 29 (7) 1351-1352
 Optimizing Male Fertility. ASRM.ORG. Accessed October 2014.
 Fertility & Sterility doi: 10.1016/j.fertnstert.2013.11.033
 What is Infertility? Columbia OBGYN. www.columbiaobgyn.org. Accessed October 2014.