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Preconception Care: Improving Egg Quality for Natural and Assisted Fertility with Dr. Sarah Zadek ND

Education & Associations



  • Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine



  • Canadian Association of Naturopathic Doctors

  • Ontario Association Of Naturopathic Doctors

  • College of Naturopaths of Ontario

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

The period that it takes for a cohort of eggs or sperm to develop from an immature state to be ready to get fertilized is a very crucial time. For an egg, this period is about 100 days, and for sperm, 70-100 days. Preconception care focuses on optimizing the health of those eggs and sperm by ensuring that your hormones are working optimally, protecting your eggs against different assailants – things that cause oxidative stress and inflammation in the body – like fast food, charred foods, alcohol, drug use or smoking, and eating an optimal diet with antioxidants, vitamins, omega-3 fatty acids etc. So, when you try to conceive, that cohort is already in optimal health and will carry that egg on to be a healthy embryo and help that to develop, survive and end up into a pregnancy.

I think it’s never too late to start to make changes. But, certain things need more time than others, for example, people who need to lose a drastic amount of weight or are combating long-term habits like smoking. Even after you quit smoking, it might take your body more time to get those chemicals out of your system and get that damage taken care of. In those cases, you might even be looking at a year before trying to conceive.

For people without any serious issues, make little changes that have long-lasting effects, or that’ll even work short term. Something as simple as ensuring your hydration is adequate and getting enough sleep. Stress is another issue that can delay your period and prolong ovulation, so something as minor as managing anxiety and short-term stressors can significantly impact you.

At our clinic, we do initial consults and make recommendations depending on how much support is needed. Step one is checking in on your diet, health and lifestyle. Next, we look into toxins that could be detrimental to your fertility – everyday chemicals and toxins that we don’t think about too much, like, swapping out plastic water bottles for glass or stainless steel. Then, egg quality: we look at antioxidant and energy support for your eggs – they need enough energy and healthy DNA to replicate properly. We often use supplements, especially if someone is over the age of 35. There’s a lot of research out there on how different antioxidants and nutrients can affect egg quality. Sometimes we will do testing for patients where we look at ferritin levels, vitamin D, blood sugar and insulin levels. We also use hormone panels for our patients to get additional information as adjunctive care. Acupuncture is also an excellent treatment that can increase your endorphins and reduce the release of stress hormones in your body. It can help to regulate your sex hormones and improve circulation throughout the body to make you feel good while helping with fertility. Very often, stress could be a barrier when you’re trying to conceive.

Women with PCOS and Endometriosis are two demographics of people who would benefit from preconception care. They might need more time, depending on the severity of it and what’s going on. We help to improve follicle maturation into eggs, starting with improving insulin sensitivity and testosterone levels with naturopathic care. Similarly, we can help suppress inflammation and lesions’ growth for endometriosis. Whether you’re having surgery for them or whether they’re small enough or few enough that you don’t need surgery, there are still treatments we can do to help to give you a better chance of conception.

It depends on how long it takes for you to start your natural cycles once you’re off birth control. Many medical studies say that you can get off the pill and try conceiving the next month. However, I recommend you give it time to ensure that the synthetic hormones are out of your body. Allow your body time for a good hormone reset and at least one good, regular bleeding cycle with your natural hormones. Once everything’s on track, you can start trying from the next cycle.

The most important thing with a prenatal supplement is getting enough folic acid. I recommend the methyl tetrahydrofolate version of folic acid versus just regular folic acid unless you’ve ever had a reaction to B vitamins or folic acid where it makes you anxious. The standard is a minimum of 400 micrograms, but most of my patients are in their 30s or early 40s, so I recommend at least one milligram of folic acid. Make sure you’re using vetted brands and clean and optimal products without weird fillers or food dyes


Dr. Sarah Zadek, Naturopathic Doctor in North York

Dr. Sarah Zadek is a licensed naturopathic doctor in Ontario with a clinical focus on women’s health, endocrinology and fertility. Sarah graduated from Nipissing University with an honours degree in biology after completing her thesis on genetics, oxidative stress and immune function.

She graduated from the Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine in Toronto in 2014. With her own health issues unsolved by medical doctors and specialists, Sarah turned to naturopathic medicine to help solve many of the ailments she had carried for years, including endometriosis and other autoimmune conditions.

Dr. Zadek uses the latest evidence-based medicine, orthomolecular medicine, botanicals and antioxidant therapies to help patients correct hormonal imbalances and immune disorders including: endometriosis, polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), hypothyroidism, painful and/or irregular menstruation, and challenges with fertility.

As well, she has a passion for empowering women and their partners to take charge of their health, assisting them on their journey to reproductive success. This includes educating women to better understand their cycles, and improve health outcomes with diet and lifestyle factors, whether they’re looking to conceive now or in the future.

Her working background includes 14 years in pharmacy and experience as birth doula in the Greater Toronto Area. Sarah is an author and has written for multiple publications across North America including NaturalPath, Naturopathic News and Review (NDNR), Naturopathic Currents, and Eco Parent Magazine online.

Dr. Sarah Zadek is a naturopathic doctor with Conceive Health, practicing at Lakeridge Fertility in Whitby.