Archive for June, 2010

FA needed in India

Sunday, June 6th, 2010
My answer follows the question below:

I hail from India and came across the book 'Taking Charge of your
Fertility' when my Husband and I were in the US on an assignment.We were
newly married and I was so impressed with the fact that so much of
information is available , that I started researching more on these topics
and came across your webpage were very useful
for us when we planned to start a family and
I am pregnant and in my Third Trimester now.

   We are back in India now and I have noticed one strange thing here.I can
say that the information I gleaned in the US has opened my eyes and I have
ben able to realize how unaware couples are.They get married,plan to have a
child 2 years later and try for a few months. If they don't succeed,they
straight away get dejected and assume that they are infertile.Not to mention
the help other people in the family/friends circle give to improve on their
dejection by saying that its too late to start a family etc!!!

  In India,infertility has almost become a business.In the sense,there are
 innumerable organizations and small scale hospitals where childless couples
go and pay huge sums of money to try out IUI,IVF methods etc.In the end when
they don't succeed,it ends up in divorce,family problems etc.(Of course the
good ones are there too for people who really need treatment)

  One major need in India is counseling. Couples, especially the woman needs
to be aware of her own body.I have noticed many of my friends not believing
in themselves but believing in doctors who do not take a case history or
suggest natural ways of conception to the couple first before trying out
other methods to conceive.The doctors take advantage of the state of mind of
the couple and charge them left and right which they innocently pay and
complicate their lives when a normal knowledge of their own bodies would
have helped them conceive.

  I have been wondering for quite sometime,on the need for counseling and
spreading awareness in India and on the need for women to understand their
own body.Talking about all this is Taboo in India and this is another
disadvantage when I try to start a conversation on awareness with a
childless couple.It would be great if you can help me on this in any way.Any
websites,books which you can suggest would be helpful.I want to equip myself
with as much information as is possible before starting something.
Also if there are any online courses I can take on this,please let me know.

  Hope I haven't bored you with a lengthy email ;-) Do respond to me when
you are free.Thank You.

Thank you for your observations and insights about what's going on in India.
I think your description would fit many places in the world, including the 
United States. The first necessary step is helping women learn how much 
information their menstrual cycles give about their over-all health and their 
reproductive health. I like to say that I advocate for the menstrual cycle. I
want to see healthy menstrual cycles, and this requires that every woman have 
the support she needs to eat well and exercise and rest often.  It means that 
women aren't exposed to pesticides, pharmaceuticals, or microwave radiation from 
cell phones, Wi-Fi and antennas. This all sounds pretty, but living this way on 
planet earth in 2010 may actually be impossible.
  Let me recommend my books to you: The Garden of Fertility and Honoring Our Cycles.  
Both of them have information (that Toni's books do not include) about night-lighting
techniques, traditional remedies for strengthening the menstrual cycle, Fertility 
Awareness while breastfeeding and how your chart can serve as an introductory gauge 
of your gynecological health. Honoring Our Cycles is written in simple English. The 
Garden is much longer. I think you would get a lot from both of those books. I can also 
recommend that you buy my study guide for people who want to teach fertility awareness. 
 Last, a group of African women asked me to describe how the menstrual cycle is affected 
by female genital mutilation. The drawings and glossary might be very people to women in 
India. You can see them:
If you'd like a copy of the booklet, I could send it to you for $35 U.S. I could receive 
the payment to You would then have to e-mail your address 
to me at The Garden of Fertility and Honoring Our Cycles should be
available online.
Very best of luck to you,
Katie Singer


An interesting question about menstrual cycle health.

Wednesday, June 2nd, 2010
My response follows the question. Enjoy!

Hi Katie,

I wanted to write this morning and ask your advice on problems I have been
having with my cycles. 

I am 26, almost 27, and I'm having trouble with my cycles. I don't smoke,
have never had an abortion, and have no known gynae problems. My husband and
I decided that we were ready to start trying to conceive last April (2009),
so went to see my GP (general practitioner - we're in New Zealand!). My GP
recommended I come off of the pill, and gave me a pamphlet on Fertility
Awareness. I had been on a second generation pill, because I had had trouble
with my skin as a teenager. I had been on it since I was 16, but still I
assumed that everything would resume as normal when I came off of the pill.
That said, I have no real idea what my cycles were like before I went on the
pill. I don't remember ever paying much attention to them. 

Around the same time, I started a course with a pro-Weston A Price
nutritionist. I started eating this way and found that its really natural
for us. I have basically stuck as close to their principles as possible
since then - I make our own breads (mostly sourdough), eat home made
sauerkraut and kimchi, take cod liver oil, and we drink raw milk. I do my
best to soak our grains (though occasionally don't get there). We live in
the country, so we have our own free-range chickens, and because my husband
hunts, 80 percent of our meat is wild game. I also stopped drinking coffee,
and started avoiding sugar, though it does sneak in a bit, in the forms of
sauces, chutneys, chocolate and home baking.

It was also around this time that I came across your article in Nourishing
Traditions, and looked forward to using Fertility Awareness to track my
cycles. I was so excited about regaining what felt like my natural birth
right that I had been rejecting, without even being aware of it.

However, initially, my cycles did not return. I didn't have a period until
October. In October, I woke up one night and discovered that the phone
beside our bed was casting a light strong enough that I could see my hand. I
removed this, and three days later began bleeding.

Following this, I decided that night-lighting was clearly the way to go to
help regulate my cycles and to help us conceive. That said, it felt
unnatural to me to artificially light when we lived in the country, where
there is very little light around. So I left us in complete darkness, until
the time of the full-moon, when we opened the curtains. While this was a
long way into my cycle (Day 31) I ovulated, and then conceived.

I miscarried in December, at 6 weeks. Following the miscarriage, my husband
and I decided that waiting a few months was a good idea, as we were both
pretty upset. So we did, using condoms to prevent pregnancy. 

At first, my cycles returned, mostly normal. While I didn't really have a
period bleed with the miscarriage, two weeks later, though it was the dark
of the moon, I found myself at a friends house sleeping under a street
light. I ovulated (with lots and  lots of fertile mucus), and though my
luteal phase was short, my period followed normally.  In January I was away
from home, and slept under light right after my temperature rise, which came
on day 21.Though my temperatures were more erratic then the last time, I
ovulated with still some, though slightly less, fertile mucus and my luteal
phase was 11 days. I bled on the full moon. In February, though, I was at
home, and so instead of artificial lighting, I slept in complete darkness
until the full moon, four weeks later. I ovulated on Day 17, folowing 4 days
of scant egg white mucus. I bled two days after the full moon shinign in our
windows. My luteal phase was 12 days. In March, I didn't ovulate, and the
full moon brought on light, spotty, bleeding. The following cycle (April)
was short - I ovulated on day 14, (though with practically no show of
fertile mucus) and had the heaviest period I have had yet, with lots of
cramping and crying. I bled just before the full moon, and so left the
curtains shut. I have come to think that maybe I should just be sleeping in
darkness because my cycles are so out of kilter. This cycle, I have come
close to ovulating. I had a show of Fertile-quality mucus, though not a lot,
and my cervix softened and rose. But there had been no long temperature peak
- my temps have been all over the place. I am now at day 23, and have only
had creamy mucus for a few days.

When my ovulation stopped again in March, I considered my lifestyle, and
what I may have been doing to cause this. While I was continuing with our
traditional way of eating, and regular infusions of nettle tea, I had also
been drinking much more alcohol then in the six months previously. I had had
a few hangovers after large weekend nights. So I decided to stop drinking
again, but completely this time, and see if this helped. With the resumption
of my period in April, I felt like this was the right choice, even though it
was a difficult one to make. I enjoy wine, and think it is a natural partner
with good food and good company. So I miss being able to share the pleasure
of it in our lives, though going to the effort of forming new habits is
worth it if it helps strengthen my cycles and health. But now, this cycle, I
haven't ovulated again, and I feel frustrated and quite helpless. Why bother
stopping id it doesn't make any odds? In your opinion, how much of an effect
does social drinking have on fertility?

While we had been waiting to try for another pregnancy following the
miscarriage, we are both now ready, and not been using any protection since
March. I feel like by waiting, we have missed our chance somehow - as my
cycles have become increasingly irregular. Like I ignored the clear signs of
fertility following the miscarriage, and now they have slipped away. I'm
sure that sounds silly, since it's only been a couple of months, but it's
now been a year since we decided it was the right time for us to have a

Anyway, I know you're busy, but I'd love to know what you think -
particularly about the night-lighting. I am happy to try lighting mid-cycle,
but I do feel like introducing artificial light, when the moon is available
to shine in our windows, is somehow not right. i also worry that if I get
pregnant lighting artificially,  I would need to continue this monthly
lighting throughout the pregnancy - so that my internal rhythms would know
another month had passed.

Also, I have been taking nettle infusion, from local nettles. I've ordered
Susan Weed's book 'The Child Bearing Year' and will consider her advice on
other herbal remedies. Do you think this is a good idea, or something worth

Thank you Katie.
I salute you your goal of restoring the health of your menstrual cycles.
I've learned over the years that the menstrual cycle cannot be controlled.
We can nourish and support it, but it often doesn't go in the way we think
it should. We need to be gentle and patient with ourselves.

Given that you were on the Pill for so many years, the cycles you describe
sound pretty good to me. It also sounds wise to continue experimenting
with nightlighting as your intuition directs you, and to quit alcohol
consumption all together.

I am also suggesting at this point that people experiment with cutting
back on their use of mobile phones and WiFi. At least, turn the WiFi off
while you sleep and keep all electric appliances (including phones and
clocks) at least ten feet from your head. Unplug the devices while you
sleep  if you can. Try this for a few months and see if you notice a

Very best,

Katie Singer

Does pre-ejaculate contain sperm?

Wednesday, June 2nd, 2010
My answer follows the question below.

Hi Katie,

I'm not sure if you're still updating your website Garden of Fertility.

If you are, I'd just like to draw your attention to the "Test Your Fertility IQ"
page here:

At #8 you have put the following:

8. Pre-ejaculate contains enough sperm to cause a pregnancy
          or HIV. True or False. 

          A: True.

I'm wondering if you still hold true with this? I have found some other links that
say otherwise:

Just would like to hear your thoughts.

Thanks for your question. I see that several studies now show that

pre-ejaculate does not contain sperm UNLESS the man recently ejaculated

but has not urinated since the first ejaculation. I don't know what

current studies say about whether HIV can be transmitted by


I figure that these questions are relevant to people who want to use

withdrawal to prevent pregnancy. It still seems risky as a method of

preventing pregnancy.I would not recommend it unless the woman is having

an undoubtedly infertile day.


Katie Singer