Causes of Infertility [Interview][Transcript]

mary_wong_tcmp_pregnancy_issuesGuest: Mary Wong, TCMP
Presenter: Neal Howard
Guest Bio: Mary Wong, B.Sc., R.TCMP, R.Ac, is the founder of ALIVE Holistic Health Clinic based in downtown Toronto, Canada. A TCM practitioner and Registered Massage therapist, Mary has been in practice for over 20 years and has treated thousands of people, the vast majority of whom struggle with gynecological disorders, fertility challenges, and pregnancy-related symptoms or issues. She treats each patient as an individual – not just their diagnosis where she has made it her life’s mission to bring about change and improve people’s health by bridging the gap between Eastern and Western medicine.

Segment overview: Mary Wong, Traditional Chinese Medicine practitioner, founder of ALIVE Holistic Health Clinic in Toronto, Canada, and author of the new book “Pathways to Pregnancy: Personal Stories and Practical Advice for Your Fertility Journey,” talks about common causes of fertility and how to ready oneself to encourage pregnancy.

Health Professional Radio – Causes of Fertility

Neal Howard: Hello and welcome to the program, I’m your host Neal Howard. Thank you for joining us here on Health Professional Radio today. According to the Center for Disease Control, 1 in 8 couples or 12% of married women have trouble getting pregnant or sustaining a pregnancy. Now in addition to that, approximately a third of infertility is attributed to the female partner, a third attributed to of course the male partner and then there’s a third that’s floating around caused by a combination of problems in both partners or simply called ‘unexplained.’ Our guest in studio today is Mary Wong, traditional Chinese medicine practitioner, founder of ALIVE Holistic Health Clinic in Toronto, Canada and the author of the brand new book, “Pathways to Pregnancy: Personal Stories and Practical Advice for your Fertility Journey.” She’s here with us to talk about some of the common causes of fertility and how to ready one’s self to encourage pregnancy. Welcome to Health Professional Radio Mary Wong.

Mary Wong: Thank you for having me Neal.

N: Thank you. You’re a fertility expert, you’ve got 20 plus years of experience dealing with couples as a holistic practitioner. You’re the founder of ALIVE Holistic Health Clinic in Toronto, Canada. Talk a little bit about your background and how you gravitated toward fertility of all specialties?

M: Well it was by coincidence, by state, by accident, not sure which way to go but my professional domain as a traditional Chinese medicine practitioner and as such, we basically treat a lot of different, various types of problems because Chinese medicine is a whole medicine. However, my own personal interest was geared also towards fertility because I knew for myself I would delay trying to conceive, having a practice, running a practice and just to where my life is going at the time. So my interest was very keen and when we were also treating women with fertility challenges it was something that we’re really good at doing and in Chinese medicine and acupuncture we’re really good at working with fertility and pregnancy and beyond. So it just grew overtime from the work that we’ve done through word of mouth back in the day when it was word of mouth, now it’s by internet but yeah, that’s how it all started out.

N: You mentioned a kind of a whole approach to the fertility issues but are other services offered there as well?

M: Absolutely. So we have between myself and the rest of the group, there are 4 TCM, traditional Chinese Medicine practitioner and one registered massage therapist that does what we call Arvigo Mayan abdominal massage and that is really fantastic for fertility as well as any kind of internal issues and then we also have a hypnosis practitioner and in our clinic a lot of this is for fertility.

N: You’ve got a brand new book out called Pathways to Pregnancy. I mentioned we were going to talk about some of the causes of infertility and fertility but I also mentioned you want to teach us how to ready ourselves to encourage pregnancy.

M: As you had mentioned 1 in 8 couples have issues, it’s actually a more 1 in 6 have troubles in a lifetime and that is a very common problem yet it’s such a private issue, no one talks about it. So I want to be able to reach out and help all those couples that are trying to conceive or even thinking about conceiving one day and simultaneously to dispel the shame that often go along with infertility and just providing a voice for all those that are suffering. And the second piece is that I wanted to say that there’s no one right way of doing it, there’s not one cookie cutter method, there’s lots of pathways towards pregnancy hence the title of my book and personally I found that there’s a lot of gap in advice and support so I wanted to give really practical advice coming from research, coming from my personal as well as my clinical experience that will really help empower people to say ‘Hey, yes we can do this.’

N: Is your audience more of to women as on their fertility path or is this something that us guys can actually get into and understand?

M: Yes, that’s very interesting. So I did a little feel to my practitioners in North America and I said ‘Hey, just out of curiosity, how many of you are treating male factor fertility because as you had mentioned males are equally likely to have fertility issues. And what came back was 5%, some men just are not really ready open or willing to pursue fertility treatments typically and I’ll say even further that in just like a common myth as though that infertility is a woman’s issue and yet really men are equally likely to have fertility issues. But there is such a stigma around that as well, I think as we think about a man there’s this whole association with ‘I am man, if I am virile.’ So if you are not getting pregnant sometimes I have witnessed that the men are in fact unwilling to even go through clinic to get tested if maybe that’s an unwritten rule of ‘I’m okay’ but yet you don’t really know.

N: Surrounding a stigma is a huge shell of just misinformation and being uneducated about certain things. What are some of the more common causes of infertility? I mean I guess once we get out there in the open, then maybe we can be more readily able to address it?

M: Yeah and it’s wide and varied for sure and I do spend one chapter on male factor fertility itself and let me start with the men, okay? So things even like cystic fibrosis, so actual predisposition, certain genetic components can impact fertility or cancer in the past, you’ve done chemotherapy or radiation that can impact sperm in the future if you are young. Even the lifestyle I mentioned that, so if you are in anyway obese or even just overweight that can impact your quality of your sperm. What you eat, how you eat – that impacts your sperm. If you at any point overtime increase your scrotal temperature by even a near 1 degree, that can impact your sperm. But there’s lots of different things for male factor and that 1 degree thing that’s why we say ‘Don’t put your laptop or your computer near your scrotal area’ or saunas and hot tubs those kinds of things and you don’t want to be immersed in that too much either because that can impact your sperm. The good news is that when it comes to these lifestyle factors it can change and a male sperm cycle is about 72 days so you can produce new batch of sperm and it can be in a better place and I’ve seen for example a man who was smoking marijuana for 10 years straight had horrible DNA fragmentation in his sperm and his sperm count was okay but they’re all messed up so in the end when he quits smoking for even just a month, when he went back to get retested for his sperm…it became normal so it’s astounding.

N: Just that simple lifestyle change.

M: Exactly, right? So and then for women there are definitely lots of other things as well. So I always say be proactive, get tested for things like endometriosis, polycystic ovarian syndrome and blocked fallopian tubes and that can be caused by endometriosis or STIs, things like that and there are can be even diabetes in the family for both men and females that can impact, thyroid issues. So those are the most common things and of course I cannot overstate this, there is an actual age factor. However it’s not hard and fast.

N: Where can our listeners get a copy of this brand new book?

M: So you can go to or any bookstore near you and you can also check out my website,

N: It’s been a pleasure speaking with you Mary, I’m hoping that you will come back.

M: Thank you so much for having me.

N: You’ve been listening to Health Professional Radio, I’m your host Neal Howard in studio with Mary Wong, traditional Chinese medicine practitioner, founder of ALIVE Holistic Health Clinic in Toronto, Canada and also the author of the brand new book, Pathways to Pregnancy: Personal Stories and Practical Advice for your Fertility Journey. Transcripts and audio of this program are available at and also at and you can subscribe to this podcast on iTunes.

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