• 4 Causes of Infertility You Can Investigate From a Fertility Naturopath

    Common Causes of Infertility

    What are some causes of infertility that you can investigate? If you’ve experienced infertility, you know the struggle. You have probably had the thought ‘how the hell does any one get pregnant?’. You know that it seems like the hardest thing in the world. And you’re right, getting pregnant is complex. It’s a wonder that all the factors align for people to get pregnant at all.

    Today I wanted to talk about 4  causes of infertility in the hope they can help you in your journey. Here are a few 4  causes of infertility that you can investigate if you’re having trouble conceiving.

    4 Causes of Infertility

    1. Sperm and egg quality

    Biology 101 is that sperm needs to meet your egg for pregnancy to occur. Sperm concentration, motility, morphology, and DNA fragmentation can contribute to infertility. Reduced egg quality can affect embryo development, meaning it may lack the energy to divide and develop after fertilisation. Investigating both sperm and egg quality is an important first step. You can look at ordering a DNA fragmentation test for men. Currently there is no way to test egg quality per se. In clinical practice I will look at your FSH, oestrogen, and AMH to get an insightful into your egg quality. This leads us onto the next thing to investigate.

    2. Hormone balance and metabolic health

    There are several hormones that influence a person’s ability to get pregnant. This includes oestrogen and progesterone, follicle stimulating hormone (FSH), luteinizing hormone (LH), androgens, insulin, cortisol, and thyroid hormones. When there is miscommunication between a few of these hormones it can impact your fertility. You can learn more about female hormones here. Investigating the communication between these hormones is so important to rule this out as a contributing factor. If you need help with your hormone test results book in for my pathology analysis service.

    Hormone balance as a cause of infertility

    Causes of Infertility

    3. Vaginal microbiome

    Hello endometriosis 👋🏼 This is a big topic and an emerging area of research. Endometriosis is a cause of infertility, or rather sub-fertility. If you have endometriosis, which is driven from an imbalance in the gut microbiota (also called dysbiosis). Then it’s likely you’ll also have dysbiosis in the vagina, uterine lining, and even in the fluid that surrounds your eggs. This can disrupt how your eggs develop, ovulation, and implantation. All of which are all foundational for getting pregnant. I will often order a vaginal microbiome swap for my fertility clients from nutripath which gives us great insight into healthy vaginal bacteria and others that can be impacting your fertility.

    4. Genetic abnormalities such as hemochromatosis

    The 4th cause of infertility are genetic abnormalities such as hemochromatosis, which  can impact both male and female fertility. There is a lot of literature on the effects hemochromatosis has on male fertility, but not so much on female. The fact is that it affects females just as much as males and is often overlooked as a contributing factor to female infertility.

    I’ll take a look at your iron studies and can pick up on hemochromatosis by looking at the transferrin saturation. Unfortunately this is often over looked in women who have a regular menstrual bleed because your iron stores of ferritin don’t indicate abnormally high iron stores. Which is a key identifying factor for hemochromatosis. 

    Hemochromatsis is more common than you think and can cause iron overload in the pelvis, which is not great for egg quality or your hormones. Luckily there are a number of things we can do to help reduce the impact of hemochromatosis on your fertility.

    Whether you’re trying to conceive naturally or through IVF these factors are still relevant and can impact your success. Your best option is to work with someone who will take time to investigate these contributing factors.

    If you’re ready to investigate your infertility then book in for my enhance your fertility package today.

    Lesley O'Connor Fertility Naturopath Blog


    Dcunha, R., Hussein, R. S., Ananda, H., Kumari, S., Adiga, S. K., Kannan, N., Zhao, Y., & Kalthur, G. (2022). Current Insights and Latest Updates in Sperm Motility and Associated Applications in Assisted Reproduction. Reproductive sciences (Thousand Oaks, Calif.), 29(1), 7–25. https://doi.org/10.1007/s43032-020-00408-y

    Wang, C., Wen, Y. X., & Mai, Q. Y. (2022). Impact of metabolic disorders on endometrial receptivity in patients with polycystic ovary syndrome. Experimental and therapeutic medicine, 23(3), 221. https://doi.org/10.3892/etm.2022.11145

    Marquardt, R. M., Kim, T. H., Shin, J. H., & Jeong, J. W. (2019). Progesterone and Estrogen Signaling in the Endometrium: What Goes Wrong in Endometriosis?. International journal of molecular sciences, 20(15), 3822. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms20153822

    Mazzilli, R., Medenica, S., Di Tommaso, A. M., Fabozzi, G., Zamponi, V., Cimadomo, D., Rienzi, L., Ubaldi, F. M., Watanabe, M., Faggiano, A., La Vignera, S., & Defeudis, G. (2023). The role of thyroid function in female and male infertility: a narrative review. Journal of endocrinological investigation, 46(1), 15–26. https://doi.org/10.1007/s40618-022-01883-7

    Salliss, M. E., Farland, L. V., Mahnert, N. D., & Herbst-Kralovetz, M. M. (2021). The role of gut and genital microbiota and the estrobolome in endometriosis, infertility and chronic pelvic pain. Human reproduction update, 28(1), 92–131. https://doi.org/10.1093/humupd/dmab035

    Tweed, M. J., & Roland, J. M. (1998). Haemochromatosis as an endocrine cause of subfertility. BMJ (Clinical research ed.), 316(7135), 915–916. https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.316.7135.915

  • What’s The Number One Forgotten Fertility Nutrient?

    Curious to know the number one forgotten fertility nutrient? Well it’s Iodine! Did you guess it right? Iodine isn’t often talked about so let’s get to know this important nutrient more. Iodine is actually a mineral that is important for your overall health. It helps to regulate the thyroid gland and maintain normal functioning of your pituitary gland, which produces hormones. What you might not know is that it’s essential for fertility and female hormone health. Research shows that Iodine insufficiency has been found to increase the risk of infertility by 46%

    What does this fertility nutrient do?

    Iodine is needed to make the thyroid hormones thyroxine (T4) and triiodothyronine (T3). These hormones assist with the creation of proteins and enzyme activity, as well as regulating normal metabolism. Thyroid function is increased during pregnancy as thyroid hormones produced by the mother and the baby, as the pregnancy progresses. A healthy functioning thyroid during pregnancy is essential for growth and development of the baby and to regulate the development of the brain and nervous system. 

    Additional to its essential role in thyroid hormone production, iodine directly acts on the ovaries. The ovaries have the second greatest capacity for iodine uptake outside the thyroid. Iodine is also an important fertility nutrient because it’s crucial for follicular growth, which occurs in the first half of your menstrual cycle before you ovulate.

    Fertility Nutrient Iodine

    You can get iodine from food sources like seafood, seaweed and iodised salt. The Australian recommended dietary intake (RDI) of iodine is 150 micrograms per day for adults and 220 micrograms per day for pregnant women. In fact, research has shown that women who suffer from infertility may benefit from supplementing their diet with iodine. It’s been found that supplementing with iodine >150mcg per day during the preconception period was associated with a reduced time to conception. If you’re further along in your fertility journey here are 4 causes of infertility to investigate.

    Here are some tips on how to increase your dietary iodine intake:

    • -Seaweed (like nori) is a great source of iodine! You can wrap it around sushi rolls, or use it as a garnish on stir-fries or salads.
    • -If you don’t like nori, try eating fish such as cod and tuna, shrimp, and other seafood. Seafood are generally rich in iodine. Make sure to limit tinned tuna to 2 cans a week.
    • -If you don’t like either of those options, dairy products (such as milk, yogurt, and cheese) and eggs, which are also good sources of iodine.

    Now you can see why iodine is an important fertility nutrient. It’s so important for your thyroid and hormone health. It’s often forgotten about and I always recommend testing your individual iodine levels. This is because supplementing with too much iodine can have negative impacts on your thyroid health. 

    If you want to know more about how I can help you with your hormone health and fertility then book in for a complementary 10 minute consultation to find out today!

    Lesley O'Connor Fertility Naturopath Blog
  • Case Study: Is It Really Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS)?

    Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS)

    Is it really Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS)?

    Last week, I hosted a complex hormone workshop for some students that I mentor. We discussed a complex ‘Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS)’ case study where no one could find the rot cause of the client’s symptoms (irregular cycles, acne, and weight gain). Things weren’t adding up.

    That is, until I helped the students to break down

    • The tests we had from her doctor
    • Tests we needed to complete the picture
    • Standard vs optimal blood results
    • How to interpret blood test results correctly

    From this it was clear that the cause of irregular cycles, acne, weight gain was not caused by polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS). But rather, high prolactin.

    This is just one example, I frequently have women in my clinic who tell me they’ve been diagnosed with PCOS, but when we really unpack the case 50% of the time they leave knowing they don’t have polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) and know exactly what is driving their hormone imbalances!

    Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS)

    Why is this happening?

    From this, it’s becoming clear that PCOS is becoming a ‘catch all’ for complex hormonal conditions when really doctors such be saying – “I’m not really sure” or “we need to investigate this further”. But instead it’s easier to give a PCOS label and move on!

    So why is this happening?

    • Medicare constrains limit what tests doctors can run without being questioned
    • Short consultation times doesn’t allow for proper analysis or education
    • Inadequate education at a tertiary level means some doctor don’t understand complex hormone conditions
    • Different diagnostic criteria that isn’t very clear and can make other similar conditions seem like PCOS

    This is why a Fertility Naturopath is your hormones best friend! I know exactly what tests to run, I have more time to analyse pathology, and I have a better understanding of the complexities of how hormones affect each other! This means I can offer a lot of education to help you understand your body and get to the root cause of your symptoms: have less acne, regular cycles, and loose weight.

    If you’re feeling like you’re not getting answers from your Doctor, if you’re feeling like you don’t understand why certain things are happening and want to re-establish a regular cycle then reach out today!

    If you want to share your story, comment below!

    Lesley O'Connor Naturopath Blog

  • Top 4 Fertility Benefits of Inositol for PCOS 

    Fertility Benefits of Inositol for PCOS

    Top 4 Fertility Benefits of Inositol for PCOS

    Wondering what the top 4 fertility benefits of inositol for PCOS are? Here I talk about the 4 key benefits and how they can help you improve your fertility, getting pregnant, and staying pregnant with PCOS.

    What is inositol?

    Inositol is found naturally in foods, but it most commonly used as a supplement by women with PCOS.  It is also referred to as vitamin B8, although it is not actually a vitamin. Inositol is a type of ‘sugar’ that influences the way the body uses insulin and hormones released from thyroid and adrenal glands. It is also an antioxidant that can help improve egg quality which is important when you are trying to get pregnant.

    Inositol metabolism has been found to be impaired in women with PCOS. This means that taking an inositol supplement can improve metabolic and hormonal markers of PCOS. Studies confirm inositol’s positive affects on the menstrual cycle because it helps to decreases levels of insulin and androgens (free testosterone), and significantly improves the rate of ovulation, egg quality, and pregnancy!

    So what are the top 4 fertility benefits of inositol for PCOS?

    Inositol helps to establish a regular and predictable cycle

    I have prescribed inositol to many of my PCOS clients who are trying to conceive and to establish a regular and predicable cycle. I’ve seen it work quickly, taking a 60+ day cycle to less than 35 days long! This is because inositol helps to address the two common causes of PCOS. That is insulin resistance and high free testosterone levels. Inositol helps improve both insulin sensitivity and reduce free testosterone levels, and regulate your menstrual cycle!

    Inositol helps to promote ovulation

    Women with PCOS commonly don’t ovulate. You need to ovulate (and have good quality eggs) to get pregnant. One study showed that over 60% of women with PCOS started ovulating again and 37% became pregnant after using 4 grams of inositol each day over 3 months. This happens because inositol helps balance hormones and improves ovarian activity!

    In addition to this, women with PCOS commonly use medications, such as clomid, to induce ovulation. Around 25% of percentage of women don’t response well to clomid and therefore don’t ovulate. This can be really difficult mentally. Using inositol along with ovulation inductions medication increases successful ovulation & pregnancy rates!

    Inositol helps to improve egg quality

    PCOS can negatively impact your egg quality. This is because there tends to be more inflammation within the ovaries where the eggs mature. This compromises the quality of the developing eggs. This can affect hormones like progesterone which is required to sustain a pregnancy, and also mean that the DNA stored within the egg isn’t able to keep replicating which can result in a chemical pregnancy.

    Inositol is specific for ovarian response & egg quality in women with PCOS. Moreover, inositol supplementation is also useful for women undergoing assisted reproductive technologies, by improving egg and embryo quality. 

    Inositol Reduces miscarriage rate in women with abnormal glycemic control (ie insulin resistance)

    Around 70% if women with PCOS have insulin resistance. Insulin resistance means that the amount of glucose and insulin in the blood can be higher than normal. This is a big contributing factor to miscarriages. One study found that supplementing with inositol reduced miscarriages by 27% in women with PCOS who were using assisted reproductive technologies such as ovulation induction, IVF with or without sperm injection (ICSI).

    Know to know more about the inositol?

    • – Inositol is more effective than metformin in normal weight women
    • – It can be used as an alternative treatment to metformin with ovulation induction
    • – Typically a dose is between 4 to 12 grams per day.
    • Inositol is safe to consume, but if you take too high dose then it can cause some digestive upset (this is how you know you need to reduce your dose).

    Over all inositol has several fertility benefits for women with PCOS. It helps to address almost every key element of how PCOS can inhibit a women’s fertility. If you’re interested to see if inositol works for you, check out Naturobest’s Cycle and Skin support from my online store.

    If you’re ready to improve your fertility then book in for an appointment today! Not ready for that yet? That’s okay! You can read more about how a Fertility Naturopath can help you get pregnant and purchase my Optimal Hormone Pathology Cheat Sheet so you can learn more about your hormone imbalances.

    Need help choosing the best Naturopath prenatal Supplement for PCOS?

    Download my 20 page guide that gives the 3 key ingredients that I look for in a prenatal for those with PCOS! I also give you step by-step instructions to ensure you know how much folate your prenatal contains.

    Download today!

    How to Choose the Best Prenatal for PCOS
    Lesley O'Connor Fertility Naturopath Blog
  • Busting PCOS Myths with Naturopath Lesley O’Connor 

    Fertility Naturopath

    Busting PCOS Myths with Naturopath Lesley O’Connor 

    Today I’m busting 3 PCOS myths. There is a lot of misinformation about PCOS out there that can be so tramatising to so many women! Here are 3 common PCOS myths I frequently hear that are actually not true! It’s harmful that these incorrect stories keep getting peddled around and can impact the mental health of women with PCOS. If you’re feeling confused about PCOS when keep reading and I hope you learn 3 facts about PCOS!

    Busting PCOS Myth 1

    Busting PCOS Myth 1: We don’t know what causes PCOS

    PCOS Fact 1: Research shows that guth health play a significant role in the underlying factors that drive PCOS

    Gut Health plays a central and essential role in regulating metabolism (blood sugar and insulin), nutritional status, hormone balance, appetite, and inflammation. Multiple studies have shown that women with PCOS have significantly lower microbial diversity, an altered composition of microbes and intestinal permeability. 

    Research now also shows that dysbiosis and intestinal permeability play a significant role in the underlying factors that drive PCOS (insulin resistance, high androgen levels, and chronic inflammation).

    In clinical practice, most of the women I help with PCOS have under functioning digestive systems. This can look like burping, bloating, irregular bowel habits, constipation, and stomach pain. Luckily there is plently we can do help improve your gut health.

    Busting PCOS Myth 2

    PCOS Myth 2: There is no treatment for PCOS

    PCOS Fact 2: Nutrition, lifestyle, and herbal medicine can put PCOS into remission. 

    For every underlying factor of PCOS natural medicine has a tool that can help!

    Some of the most common tools are:

    • – Herbal Medicine
    • – Lifestyle medicine such as stress reduction, and physical activity
    • – Nutritional Medicine including nutrition interventions and supplementations such as inositol

    Here are a few examples:


    • – Can improve both insulin sensitivity and free testosterone levels, improves ovarian activity and regulates menstrual cycles
    • – In women with PCOS who weren’t ovulating, over 60% of women started ovulating again and 37% became pregnant after using 4 grams of myo-inositol each day over 3 months.
    • – Myo-inositol increased pregnancy in infertile women using ovulation induction (such as clomid and letrazole)


    • – Has less side affects than metformin with a similar outcome 
    • – 1.5 grams daily taken over 6 months, significantly improved women having a regular cycle and inducing ovulation when compared with placebo.
    • – 1.5 grams of cinnamon showed improved antioxidant status and cholesterol profile which are benefical for women with PCOS
    Busting PCOS Myths

    Busting PCOS Myth 3

    PCOS Myth 3: You won’t be able to get pregnant with PCOS

    PCOS Fact 3: The path to pregnancy with PCOS can look a little different 

    I hear frequently from women with PCOS that they’ve been told they won’t be able to get pregnant, which is honestly heart breaking to hear. It’s also completely incorrect! Rather, we should acknowledge that the path to pregnancy with PCOS can look a little different that the ‘norm’. 

    Getting pregnant with PCOS is covered in my soon-to-be-released program: The PCOS Preconception Protocol! If you’re someone who needs help and wants to conveieve naturally then this is the program for you! 

    In this program we conduct a proper assessment of the driving factors of your PCOS so you can start ovulating sooner! We also cover how to improve your gut health, have more energy, and less acne all in a safe and supportive space.

    If you’re ready to feel confident in your body’s ability to have a baby then join the waitlist today!

    Thanks for reading this blog! If learnt something new from this blog then let me know in the comments below!

    Lesley O'Connor Fertility Naturopath Blog