Foresight, the Association for the Promotion of Preconception Care, believes that a great deal of infertility results from poor states of nutrition or undiagnosed infections. They suggest that you undergo the following tests to determine your fitness before launching into fertility drugs. Although they have been criticized by some medical circles for not supporting their claimed results with scientific studies, founder Belinda Barnes boasts a wealth of case histories of formerly infertile couples who have become pregnant and produced healthy babies without drugs or with the minimal use of drugs. Her approach is also cheaper; most of the tests can be done on the National Health.
After taking a complete history of yourselves and your family, she suggests that you have the following tests:Blood pressure.
Blood examination, for zinc, copper and lead levels, also to check on venereal diseases, abnormalities of red and white blood cells, rubella immunity and abnormalities of thyroid function.
Basal temperature. This is supposedly a good way of testing your thyroid function, which affects your sex hormones and sex glands.
Urine analysis. To examine for diabetes or kidney problems.
Gynaecological examination. This would test for cancer of the cervix, a prolapse, vaginal infections, cervical damage and pelvic abnormalities.
(in the man) Genito-urinary examination and semen samples. Often overlooked as a cause of the couple's infertility, the man should be checked out from the outset.
Sweat test. This tests for mineral levels, particularly zinc, a low level of which is thought to contribute to fertility problems. A patch is placed on your back for an hour and the sweat examined in a lab.
Hair Mineral Analysis. This is a controversial test, which Foresight and its associated doctors believe is highly useful for assessing levels of minerals down to 0.l parts per million. It also supposedly enables doctors to check for toxic minerals, to determine poor diet patterns, allergies, poor absorption of food and the probable presence of Candida albicans. The Lancet criticized hair analysis in November l985. In Planning for a Healthy Baby (Ebury Press, l990), Mrs Barnes answers that criticism with references which she claims show over l,500 citations in the medical literature.
For further information on their approach to fertility through diet and nutrition, write with a self addressed, stamped envelope to:
Foresight, The Old Vicarage, Witley, Goldalming, Surrey GU8 5PN.