Thursday, October 23, 2008

Dr. Toth's book

So I bought Fertile vs. Infertile: How Infections affect your fertility and your baby's health online last week, received it a few days ago, and just finished reading it today. I STRONGLY recommend that everyone read this book!!! What an eye-opener it has been, even for someone who is technically already a self-proclaimed expert on infertility, and almost a certified expert on cervical mucus and bleeding patterns :)

The basic idea of Dr. Toth's theories, testing, and treatments is that pathogens can be passed through our systems both vertically (from mother to child in utero) and horizontally (between sexual partners). These pathogens can lead to all kinds of health issues in our future, and may start to display themselves earlier in our reproductive health. All of his theories just make PERFECT sense to me. The immune system of a woman, for example, shuts off within the reproductive organs during pregnancy- - which it has to do in order for her body not to reject this new life growing inside her. While her system shuts down, it becomes much easier for pathogens to invade her upper reproductive tract, hence infecting the baby and her. Oftentimes secondary IF is caused by this very fact. Evidence is shown, for example, when a woman begins to have severe PMS only AFTER the birth of her child. Or maybe her cycles become whacky AFTER birth, etc.

It's very interesting to me, too, to see how much of Dr. Toth's philosophy is exactly like the philosophy of NaPro Technology. Of course, he does still refer for IVF in some occasions, but NEVER before he gives nature a chance for itself (and usually only in cases where both fallopian tubes are blocked. Not that I'm condoning his referring for IVF, but at least this is better than the way most REs and ob/gyns do it.)

Here, for example, is a section of the book that speak to the treatment of IF as a symptom of an underlying disease:

"The standard, most widespread method of medically treating infertility is first to identify the problem that the patient or the patient's partner is experiencing, according to set criteria for diagnostic grouping. The next step is to work toward correcting or OVERRIDING it, again applying group-specific recommended treatment regimens.

What is wrong with this approach? Why does it so often fail to yield satisfactory results?

I believe that the fault usually lies not in the treatment phase but in the identification phase. Too many times doctors begin treating a problem as soon as they detect one, instead of investigating the problem more thoroughly to discover its ROOT CAUSE. In effect, they wind up organizing treatment around a symptom rather than the illness itself.

For example, suppose doctors discover that the male partner's sperm count is low. Proceeding on this information alone, thei will often make a concentrated solution of sperm and inject it directly into the female partner's uterus. The truth is that the low sperm count may be due to an infection. If so, artficial insemination is very likely to transmit that same infection into the woman's upper reproductive tract, where it can wreak even more havoc."

Earlier in the book, Dr. Toth explains that pathogens are very often the culprit of a number of health issues, and that infertility (in any diagnosis), is also usually due to the transmission of infectious bacteria between the spouses (horizontally) or from mother to child in utero (vertically). He explains that nature already has a very sophisticated process in place for filtering out and fighting these infections. Basically, there are two reproductive "tracts" in the woman's body: upper and lower, separated by the cervix. The cervix and its mucus act as a natural barrier to infections passed horizontally (through the seminal fluid), by preventing it from entering the upper tract. It does this by making the mucus "hostile" to sperm. If untreated infection persists along with intercourse between the infected partners, often times the man's sperm will also be affected, and decrease in count, morphology, or motility. Again, this is nature's way of ensuring that those infected sperm do not eventually get past the cervix and start to work on the uterus, tubes, or ovaries of the woman.

In this explanation, it now seems very logical as to why IUI is not only a poor choice due to low statistics of success, but also a very poor choice for the woman's health and the health of the baby. In bypassing the cervix altogether, IUI basically bypasses the natural filter for infected sperm. I will admit, there has been more than one occasion where DH and I have just said, "This is NUTS! Let's just do IUI!"- considering it the lesser of two evils (no destroyed embryos), and with the temptation very real after many failed months. But after reading this book I realize that not only would my IUI attempts have failed, but they would have made us WORSE off than we are now; and our children's health would also be compromised.

Dr. Toth also addresses how more than 70% of ART procedures fail, and that the ones that do succeed statistically result in lower birth weight, and a number of other health issues in both mother and child. He attributes this not to the way in which the children of ART are conceived, but the fact that the children are conceived in an unclean uterine environment, NOT free of infection. He (radically, I may add) urges all couples to try a thorough antibiotic treatment as a FIRST LINE of attack in cases on infertility, no matter what the next step may be.

Going back to the idea that these infections are both horizontally and VERTICALLY transmitted, it seems very likely that I contracted some pathogens in utero. The most telling sign of this is the fact that I went from having very regular periods to very irregular periods and signs on u/s of PCOS at age 19. All of this was before I was genitally active. The pathogens that I contracted, after many years, worked their way to my ovaries :( But now I finally am on the path to having this treated and corrected, for my fertility, my future overall health and the health of my DH, AND the health of every child I may bear in my womb from here on in. In many ways, it is a blessing that I have not conceived before this point. I know that God lead me to this Dr. and helped me to NOT conceive an unhealthy baby.

My only regret is that I didn't find Dr. Toth at age 19. If I had my infection healed at that age, who knows where life would find me now? But then again, given the chance, I don't think I would change anything about my life to date. Everything that I have been through has lead to more personal growth and acceptance. And if the course my life has taken is good enough for God, then it's good enough for me :)

**Apparently, you CAN read his book online!! The entire PDF file for his newest book is at the website: (the same one I link to above on Dr. Toth's name). Check it out!!


Sew Infertile said...

This is amazing! I feel like we are apart of something WAY bigger than ourselves as choosing NaproTechnology/Creighton as a healing method for our infertility. In the past three years I have never felt more sure about dealing and correcting my IF as I do now! I hope this "honeymoon" stage last a while! Great Post!!!!!

Sew Infertile said...

That is so funny, I thought I might have said hey its me! I bet you thought, where did this crazy lady come from by my comments I left you! So funny!! I was going to mention AYWO introducting me to you, but then I didn't want you guys to pop up on my blog with your names there, that is never fun! If someone asks can I refer them to you? I don't think its unprofessional at all that you blog, I think it is great you are blogging!! I am reading the book online right now!