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Natural Infertility Treatments: Interview With Fertility Specialist Dr. Iva Keene


Robyn Openshaw - Jul 28, 2013 - This Post May Contain Affiliate Links


Iva King

Dr. Iva Keene

This is my interview with Dr. Iva Keene. She’s a Fertility Specialist and Doctor of Naturopathic Medicine. Find her on Facebook as “Natural Fertility,” and see her website natural-fertility-prescription.com. Please point your friends suffering with infertility to my last blog post (as well as this one). Last time I posted the flier on the upcoming Fertility Retreat at Sanoviv in Mexico, where I will be for a few days, and Dr. Keene will be instructing.

GSG:  What do you think of the current medical model for fertility? Twenty years ago, it was testing, drug approaches to hyper-ovulation or Lupron for manipulating hormones, IVF, lots of surgeries. It was a nightmare for me personally. Has it gotten better?

DR. KEENE: While I think the testing, procedures and drugs have improved somewhat, the general approach to treating infertility hasn’t changed significantly. It’s still focused on the reproductive system alone. The treatment aim is to jump over the problem, force a conception and then hope the pregnancy will be successful.

While in some cases, like severely blocked fallopian tubes, retrograde ejaculation, or missing Vas Deferens, the medical model is the only option available, my experience has been that most cases of infertility respond better to a holistic approach.

PCOS, endometriosis, unexplained infertility, recurrent miscarriages, irregular periods, ovarian cysts, and sperm abnormalities are all symptoms of some other imbalance in the body, which usually affects multiple systems such as the endocrine system, the immune system, liver and the digestive system.

fertile questionOur reproductive system is not crucial for our body’s survival. As such, in terms of the body’s priorities it is last on the list when it comes to nutrient and energy distribution. The heart, lungs, brain, kidneys etc are more important for your survival because if one of those organs had a problem, your life would be at stake.

Infertility should always first be treated holistically and IVF, ICSI etc. be reserved as the last options once the natural approaches have been exhausted and everything has been done to bring the body into equilibrium. Not only does this holistic approach reduce the need for those technologies, but it also increases their chances of success if they have to be used.

For this reason, I don’t see our approach as an alternative to IVF, ICSI etc., but rather as complementary to them.

GSG:  Do “standard of care” infertility treatments cause permanent or debilitating side effects?

DR. KEENE:  They can. This will very much depend on the treatment used, the individual, their underlying health and the number of times the treatment was used in close succession. In rare cases, some women develop life threatening conditions such as Ovarian Hyper Stimulation Syndrome.

Some studies suggest that repeated use of fertility drugs predisposes women to breast and ovarian cancer later in life. Unfortunately, many of my patients come to me once they’ve been through multiple IVF treatments. And because most clinics urge patients not to waste any time, the treatments are used repeatedly, sometimes for a year or longer.

Some of the more immediate side effects I’ve observed in some of my clients are hormone irregularities, irregular cycles, shorter cycles, cysts, thyroid problems, weight gain and mood disorders.

GSG:  What kind of natural treatments for infertility are effective?

circle and bloomDR KEENE: The approach I use has been shown to have an over 80% success rate when used for a minimum of 4 months and maximum of 2 years. The effective treatments focus on identifying systemic imbalances and correcting those with dietary and lifestyle changes as well as supplementing with nutrients that have been shown to be effective.

This treatment approach also relies on tests for toxicities and immune imbalances, as the two are linked, and when the immune system is out of balance, pregnancy is much harder to achieve. Acupuncture is also a great adjunct therapy to this approach, as are mind-body programs like those produced by Circle and Bloom.

GSG:  What book or resources should a couple read who are struggling with infertility?

DR. KEENE: We recommend Circle and Bloom mind/body programs in conjunction with our Natural Fertility Prescription program which is a step-by-step system explaining in great detail what practical steps a couple should take over a period of 120 days to maximize their chances of getting pregnant naturally. In addition to our core Natural Fertility Prescription (NFP) program, we also offer protocols specifically designed to address egg and sperm health issue as well as a program for IVF preparation to help couples who have decided on that path.

GSG:  Does diet influence fertility? What about consumption of animal flesh and milk that has hormones in it, if it’s not organic? What kind of diet do you recommend for couples wishing to conceive, and deliver a healthy baby?

DR. KEENE:  Diet is very important for fertility! Both organic and non-organic animal food products will have the hormones from the animal in them. One of the largest studies conducted on women, the Nurse’s Health Study by Harvard, with 17,544 participants over eight years, found that women who ate more plant proteins rather than animal proteins had better fertility overall and fewer problems with ovulation and infertility due to anovulation.

milk infertilityMilk, strictly speaking, is the breast milk of another species. And while you’ll find lots of information on the nutritional benefits of raw unpasteurized milk, the three main issues with milk for fertility are as follows:

  1. Milk is mucous producing and can predispose to blocked fallopian tubes.
  2. Milk is loaded with estrogen as cows are milked during their second trimester of pregnancy. In someone who already has estrogen dominance, like women with fibroids, polyps, endometriosis and PCOS, milk is only making the problem worse. Similarly, milk and all dairy products contain insulin growth factor, which is great for the young of the species as it helps them grow big and strong. In adult humans, it only makes us fat, predisposes us to acne, and in women with PCOS, where insulin resistance is already present, dairy only makes the condition worse.
  3. A very large portion of the population is lactose intolerant. We stop producing the enzyme lactase at the age of two, needed for breakdown of the main sugar molecule in dairy, lactose. If you are intolerant to dairy but keep eating it anyway on a regular basis, you are not only damaging your digestive system and preventing nutrients from being absorbed, but you are also setting up your immune system to become overly aggressive and predispose to miscarriage and ‘unexplained infertility’.

So while raw dairy products may be a source of nutrition for some people, like those who want to build muscle and who are not intolerant to lactose, it’s not a good idea for those wanting to get pregnant, and those who already have weight issues or hormonal imbalances.

This applies to both men and women, since in men, excess estrogen causes testosterone to be converted to estrogen, which negatively impacts sperm quality and quantity.

foods for fertilityOur fertility diet essentially focuses on fresh vegetables, especially dark leafy greens, nuts and seeds, legumes and beans, green smoothies, fresh fruit, wild fish and some lean protein from grass-fed animal sources for those who don’t wish to give up meat. And we emphasize the food being as fresh as possible and organic where possible. Eggs and meat should be grass-fed, organic and free range. Hormones, oocytes and sperm need good quality fats and protein. And this is the main focus of this diet, as well as providing high levels of vitamins, minerals, other nutrients, and fiber from plant sources. Fiber helps mop up excess estrogen and environmental toxins from the diet before those toxins get a chance to absorb into our bloodstream.

GSG:  You’ve said that the greatest gift you can give your baby is robust health, and this starts with the quality of the sperm and eggs at conception. How does one achieve healthy sperm and eggs?

fertility eggDR. KEENE:  Women are born with all their eggs. In fact, the eggs are older than the woman! However these egg cells are not mature. They are in their primordial form. From the onset of puberty, every 120 days, 5-6 of those primordial egg cells will be selected for maturation. At the end of this cycle, 1-2 of the best formed eggs will be selected for ovulation.

And while it’s true that you are born with a finite number of eggs, it’s not true that the quality of the eggs you ovulate each month can’t be made better or worse depending on your dietary and lifestyle choices. The Natural Fertility Prescription (NFP) program and the Egg Health program focus on providing your eggs with all the nutrients which have been shown to improve egg quality as well as removing/minimizing exposure to all the toxins shown to negatively impact your egg quality and hormone balance.

Similarly with sperm, men produce new batches of sperm approximately every 90 days. So it’s possible to improve the quality and quantity of the sperm in as little as 3 months, providing there are no congenital anatomical malformations or genetic abnormalities present, which are rare and do not apply to majority of men. We also created a Sperm Health program, which can be used in conjunction with the NFP program for improving sperm health.

Even if a couple have no fertility issues, we advise everyone planning children to prepare for pregnancy at least 120 days before conception. This ensures that you are conceiving with the best quality eggs and sperm, which means you are passing on the best of your genetic material to your child.

GSG:  What’s the best and worst part of your job as a naturopathic physician working with infertility?

body intelligenceDR. KEENE:  What I love the most about my work is empowering people and educating them about how their bodies work, how everything is interrelated, and showing them how a seemingly harmless dietary or lifestyle habit or nutrient deficiency can have wide-reaching effects over time.

I have great respect for, and am in awe of, the inherent intelligence and perfection of our human body. Trillions of cells working 24/7 enable us to have the life experience we enjoy. Our body is the most intelligent pharmacy in the world, and it is programmed to strive for balance and health. Which it will achieve, given all the right elements and an environment to thrive.

Once the mechanics of this wonder machine are understood, most of my clients are full of vigor again and ready to try for a baby again. Their faith in their bodies is restored and they feel much more empowered about their fertility. And this is key. After many failed fertility treatments, people often start to doubt themselves and their bodies because they are told by the medical profession that their eggs are old, their sperm is no good, they are too old, or their bodies are in some way ‘broken’.

And while it may be true that the body is currently in a state of imbalance, that does not mean one should give up on it, give up hope. It does not mean that the issues cannot be resolved and fertility restored without medical intervention. Instead, the traditional drug and procedural methods used so far should be questioned and doubted, because these methods are not providing the body with what it needs to fix itself! It’s not drugs or doctors who ‘cure’ the body—it’s the body itself that repairs itself when given the right materials to do so.

What I find most frustrating is the misinformation which is often propagated by the mainstream infertility treatment approach. Namely, that time is running out already at age 37, that the egg and sperm quality can’t be improved, and that if your AMH is low you should opt for donor eggs immediately.

These misconceptions and ‘fear tactics’ cause so much stress and despair, which is unnecessary, not to mention counter-productive to any fertility treatment. And while it’s true that fertility will decline with age and the risks of miscarriages due to chromosomal abnormalities are higher, if dietary and lifestyle factors are ignored and nutritional deficiencies remain unaddressed, the fact is that most of these factors can be addressed.

fertility loveIf they properly prepare for pregnancy, it is possible for women in their mid- to late-forties to have healthy pregnancies with their own eggs and give birth to healthy children.

GSG:  Dr. Keene, I hope those who read this will have renewed hope. Like you, I believe in the miracle of the human body, and I marvel at its innate ability to correct imbalances. We need to get heavy metals, chemicals, and toxic foods out of its way. Thank God there are practitioners like you helping people get on the right track. Thank you very much for serving my readers with this information and encouragement!

DR. KEENE:  Thank you so much, Robyn, for the opportunity to share this information with your readers. I hope more couples will look to natural infertility treatments first after reading this interview. It would be a great pleasure to meet some in person at our upcoming fertility retreat at Sanoviv in Rosarito, Mexico.

Posted in: Health Concerns, Natural Remedies

4 thoughts on “Natural Infertility Treatments: Interview With Fertility Specialist Dr. Iva Keene”

Leave a Comment
  1. Me says:

    WOW! Thank you Robyn for this series and especially for this interview. I am not necessarily looking into fertility right now, but I do have PCOS and insulin resistance and learned something here that no one else has told me, even my natural practitioners: milk is full of estrogen and IGF! Woah! Why has no one told me this before? My natural practitioner (whom I fired for other reasons) told me to eat as much animal fat (milk, cheese, butter) as possible to heal my productive system. If I had followed her advice, I would have been making the problem so much worse.
    Thanks for your time and efforts!

  2. Jen says:

    Thanks Robyn for this wonderful interview with Iva Keene. Very encouraging . This is what we need to hear esp.us who are struggling against infertility.

  3. Joey says:

    I just went thru her program. Me and my wife did the $8000 diamond package. Without getting into detail, to sum it up, Iva is strictly about the money. She just saw us as a dollar sign. My package said unlimited emails, I took one of her liquid supplements one day for the first time and my whole throat got puss inside, hard time swallowing. Emailed Iva for a time to talk and told her what happened. This was on a Sunday, she wrote me back that she was all booked up all week, to contact my primary doctor or that it could be covid. We never spoke about it till three weeks later on my scheduled video call. She was very non caring, telling me, is the throat better. She was born into money and she talks to you like she is above you. Aside from that, her educational videos are boring because Iva doesn’t put any excitement in her talk and she has a thick accent which makes it difficult and torturous to watch them. She is not a motivational talker and she will talk to you like you are another doctor in big terms and if you miss what she says, too bad. She moves thru your test results like a train with no breaks.

    1. Iva Keene says:

      I’m very sorry to hear that you had an experience that was both upsetting and disappointing to you. I truly care about our clients and about delivering a high quality service. I take great measures to ensure this.

I was surprised to read your feedback. I did not know you were having this experience, and had I known, I would have made every effort to speak with you, address your concerns, and clear up any misunderstandings.

      We had many calls and email exchanges, and on these calls, I wasn’t aware that you were unsatisfied with our services. In fact, during our last call, your wife spoke positively about the improvements she had experienced. She also said that she wanted to continue our work together.

I would like to address some of the specific issues you raised:



      1. The expense of the services:

      The package you chose included a thorough case analysis, test analysis, and close contact with me. As you may know, we’ve helped 100s of couples finally conceive and give birth to healthy babies, after years of trying IVF, ART, and other expensive procedures that failed; or being told their eggs are too old, their sperm was poor quality, or that they need donor eggs. 

When we look at the incredible breakthroughs we’ve gotten for 100s of our clients, including many women in their 40s—even ages 46 and 47—who were once told their case was hopeless, our prices pale in comparison to IVF clinics. The average couple  in the US pays $19,234 for the procedure, medication, and monitoring (Very Well Family).
      
Additionally, several clients have told us that the IVF clinics they attended didn’t offer the level of care, time, personalized attention, and support we give our clients, as our many testimonials can attest to.



      2. Driven by Money vs. A Sincere Desire to Help. Our mission is purpose based. The foundation on which we’ve built our business is to help as many couples as possible conceive and give birth to healthy babies. If we were all about the money, we’d be offering IVF procedures, which are far more profitable for doctors than fertility coaching. We offer our solutions because we honestly believe that they get better results, especially for women who’ve tried several rounds of IVF and ART and had them fail—and then finally get pregnant after using our method. I stand by the value we provide and the 100s of breakthroughs we’ve gotten couples. Were you to check out our volumes of case studies and testimonials, I think our results substantiate this.

      3. Your throat symptoms: When you experienced acute throat symptoms, I suggested that you see a GP who could physically look at your throat in person and take a swab if necessary. It was very important that you be seen by a doctor in person to rule out an infection or Covid. This cannot be done via Zoom, as it requires an in person visit and a swab. As a healthcare professional, this was my recommendation, and I believe it would be irresponsible for me to recommend otherwise. The hippocratic oath is “Above else, do no harm.” Any responsible health care practitioner would advise you to get checked for an infection in person. It is of utmost importance to catch infections early. I recommended this so we could rule out anything serious that would require immediate treatment, which could only be determined by a swab, which is done in person. 

      4. My recommendations via email. I looked over our email exchange and in there, I gave you many tips and suggestions on how to improve your symptoms. As this was the first time I have had any patient experience this reaction to this supplement, which is commonly used among my clients, I believed there was a high probability that your symptoms were caused by an unrelated infection. Although I was booked up the week you called, I did give you the earliest appointment possible the following week—in fact, the time we booked was for 6 business days later. Had I been available the week you requested to see me, I would have made the exact same recommendation—for you to see a GP in person and get tested.

      5. My background. As for my socio-economic background, I wasn’t born into money at all. I was born in relatively poor, communist Yugoslavia (Croatia), and I only moved to Switzerland as a teenager. My parents worked hard for everything they had, as have I. I take my client’s investment in my services quite seriously.  Had I known you had any dissatisfaction with my recommendations or my services, I would have made every effort to speak with you, address them, and clear up any misunderstandings.

      6. Our educational videos. Our educational videos are designed to provide valuable information for our clients to help them transform their fertility, conceive, and give birth to healthy babies. They are not designed to entertain. I share a lot of information and high quality documents packed with high value content. My role as a natural fertility specialist is to help my clients improve their fertility. I can’t change my accent, but many people find our information, educational videos, and services to be quite valuable in transforming their fertility and helping them have the baby they desire. As mentioned, this information has helped 100s of clients with challenging cases finally conceive and give birth to a healthy baby. 



      7. Ensuring medical terms are understood. I am always happy to ensure that our clients understand their medical results and plan. During our appointments, had you told me you didn’t understand a medical term I used, I would have gladly explained it to you. Similarly, if you had asked me to slow down and explain anything you wanted to know in greater detail, I would have been happy to do so. I would have taken every action to ensure you had absolute clarity about all medical information pertaining to your case. When it comes to your test results, sometimes the only way to cover all the details of test results is to focus on the most essential points that the patient needs to know. Most patients want me to use our time to focus on the major items that have a direct impact on their fertility, the red flags, and the action items.

      8. I care immensely. I’m sorry that you felt I was non-caring. This truly was the hardest part to read, because quite the opposite is true. I became a naturopath because my passion and mission is to help couples conceive and give birth to healthy babies with natural medicine. This mission drives me every day—not money. I care deeply about my clients, as so many of them can attest to. I’m truly sorry you had an experience that led you to believe I didn’t care and that was unsatisfactory to you. Had I known this during our work together, I would have made every effort to ensure that I addressed your concerns. I truly wish you all the best on your fertility journey.

      Kind regards, Iva

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