Sperm meets egg and baby is produced. Getting pregnant should be as easy as that. But it isn’t. The average ejaculation contains 200 million sperm, but within several hours, those vast numbers have dwindled to just 1/10th of that amount. So, what reduces those numbers so drastically?
There are a lot of things within the woman’s body that may be unfriendly to male sperm including cervical mucus. While cervical mucus is intended by nature to work as a guide, helping push sperm along through the vagina and into the cervix and beyond, as well as offer important nutrients to give the sperm the energy it needs for the long journey ahead, in some cases it can actually work against the sperm it is intended to help.
In some cases, a woman’s cervical mucus can actually go on the attack, killing sperm before it ever has a chance to make it to the awaiting egg. This is called Cervical Hostility.
When this problem arises, a man’s sperm is unable to penetrate the cervix and therefore a pregnancy becomes impossible. So, what causes the female body to become so hostile to the one thing she needs to fulfill her dream of motherhood?
Here are a few common things that may induce cervical hostility:
- An infection in the lower reproductive tract. This can cause the vaginal fluids to become tainted, killing or otherwise damaging sperm as they enter the vagina
- Too many anti-sperm antibodies in the cervical mucus. When activated, these antibodies actually work to immobilize sperm, preventing any from entering the cervix.
- A poor, acidic diet. Healthy cervical mucus is alkaline in nature. To have a more alkaline cervical mucus eat a diet high in vegetables and stay away from processed foods, soda, meat, dairy and sugar.
- Cervical mucus that is too thick or scanty. If the cervical mucus is too thick it will be hard for the sperm to travel. If the cervical mucus is scanty or not present it will also be impossible for the sperm to make its way to the egg.
If you suspect cervical mucus hostility as a cause for your infertility, there are some ways to test for it. You can have your doctor remove a sample of cervical mucus 8-12 hours after intercourse for closer examination. This will help show the physicians the degree of motility and number of live sperm.
If more than 20 actively moving sperm are found per field, cervical hostility is not a concern. If there is less, then further testing is needed to determine if the woman’s body is indeed attacking her partner’s sperm. If so, there are several options available:
-An herbal blend such as Women’s Best Friend may help to clear up any lingering infections.
-The Fertilica CM Pack may be used to help thin the cervical mucus and make it more manageable and friendly as well as promote the production of cervical mucus if it is scanty.
-Systemic enzymes have been used successfully in cases where there is an immunological attack on the sperm.
-If your cervical mucus is thin or scant you can also use a sperm friendly lubricant such as Pre-Seed which has been specially and scientifically designed to mimic the cervical mucus while not harming sperm.
– Diet and proper supplementation can also make a difference. Cervical mucus should be more alkaline, so eating a diet high in fruits and vegetables helps to keep the body healthy and more alkaline. Foods such as meats, processed foods, dairy and sodas cause the body to become more acidic. In addition, keeping hydrated and drinking 8 glasses of water a day will help to provide the body with enough water to produce cervical mucus in addition to its other millions of processes it uses water for every day.
-IUI and IVF: Intrauterine insemination (IUI) and in vitro fertilization (IVF) can be used if the cervical hostility cannot be sufficiently treated. These procedures allow pregnancy to occur by bypassing the vagina but can be very expensive with a relatively low success rate (15-30%). These procedures often require the use of hormone medications, as well, and may not be covered by health insurance. However, the rate for spontaneous conception per month is only 20% in those who do not have a fertility problem.
-Steroid treatments may help stop antisperm antibodies from developing in the first place. One warning here though: they can cause serious side effects in some women.
Cervical mucus hostility is often one of the last things tested for in infertile women, yet it can be quite common among infertile couples. Be sure to check for this common affliction if your doctor has been unable to find another cause for your inability to get pregnant.