When I first met my boyfriend, there was a placenta in a Coolwhip container in his freezer. It seems a friend of his roommate had borne a child and kept the placenta with the intention of serving it up at a dinner party. (Why she couldn't keep it in her own freezer I still don't know.) She never got around to her little fete, however, and we wound up just using it to scare people who came over to visit. (You haven't laughed until you've seen someone open a Coolwhip container and find a placenta inside.)
It seems unfair that someone who would serve afterbirth as an entrée should be able to breed while perfectly normal people have trouble conceiving, but that's the way of the world, I guess. It's the luck of the draw. There are 6 billion people in the world, and every single one of them had to be born out of someone. So why not you?
Failure to make a baby can have many possible causes, some of which are easily remedied, while others are a tad trickier.
There's really very little that is romantic or sexy about having your hopes repeatedly dashed, then trying to get in the mood at exactly the right moment... again. Stress can be a major factor. So chill out. If the problem persists, have both your partner's and your own plumbing checked for major health problems.
What the experts say
"If the female is not having ovulatory menses, there are tablets that will induce ovulation. A trigger shot can produce the egg, and then [the couple] can have timed intercourse. One step further would be artificial insemination . A detailed ultrasound with special dye will tell us if anything in the uterus might be interfering with implantation of the fertilized egg. Then there's the male factor. Men make sperm on a 90-day cycle, so there is always a mixture in there, good and bad, old and new. The man can produce a sample and the sperm [be made] to swim up a chemical gradient, separating the strong from the weaker sperm. After 37 for women, an increasing number of eggs in the ovaries have chromosomal problems."
ANNE CLAESSEN , assistant medical director, Toronto Centre for Advanced Reproductive Technology
"We would work with the ovulation cycle and the lunar cycle. The waxing moon is the time at which you do magic for increase. It is usually an all-women's ritual to remove any obstacle, emotional or physical, that is obstructing the ability to conceive, using air, fire, water and salt. We consecrate a talisman that she can wear. Fertility gems include amber, chrysoprase, moonstone and moss agate. Then there are emblematic things such as sheaves of wheat or seeds. There are things we can't do anything about. Rituals are not a substitute for doing whatever else is necessary."
TAMARRA JAMES , high priestess of the Wiccan Church of Canada, Toronto
"Trouble conceiving could be attributed to not getting enough nutrients. With so much emphasis on being skinny, people might miss essential fatty acids , which are important for hormone functioning. [Infertility] could also be created by overloading carbohydrates, which also affect the hormonal system. You could be over-exercising and over-exerting your adrenal system. Potentially, we ingest hormones with all the growth hormones they feed animals. Animals have their own endocrine system, so it could affect you.'
VIVIAN LEE , registered holistic nutritionist, Canadian School of Natural Nutrition, Toronto
"The planetary influences you want to watch out for are primarily the moon and Venus . Venus rules love and relationships. Have a professional chart done (based on date, time and location of your birth) and then check an ephemeris, which will give you the information for every single time of day. Say you and your husband have a date to do the twisted pretzel on Sunday at 8 and you discover that that time is ruled by Aquarius. Then you may not have an easy time conceiving. Try to conceive under water signs - Cancer Scorpio and Pisces - and within three days after the new moon . This is all assuming you've seen a doctor and everything checks out okay.
RICHARD RAVENHAWKE , psychic, spiritual guide and astrologer, Toronto
"Getting pregnant is like falling asleep or getting a date. The harder you try, the less it happens. For a woman's reproductive system to work well, it depends a lot on having healthy blood. You need your digestive system, your heart, lungs, water metabolism (kidneys) and hormones to be working well. In Chinese medicine, they say if you're overflowing with energy, it spills into your meridians that are in control of your uterus. Trees or plants don't produce flowers or fruit if they're stressed. Reproduction is lower on the need for survival. Acupuncture works well with stress."
KALEB MONTGOMERY , traditional Chinese medicine practitioner, Toronto