378. The Myths Of Infertility + Primemester Power & Creating Superbabies W/ Dr. Cleopatra (& Alyson)

Dr. Cleopatra (& Alyson)

DISCLAIMER: This podcast is presented for educational and exploratory purposes only. Published content is not intended to be used for diagnosing or treating any illness. Those responsible for this show disclaim responsibility for any possible adverse effects from the use of information presented by Luke or his guests. Please consult with your healthcare provider before using any products referenced. This podcast may contain paid endorsements for products or services.

Scientist and Fertility & Pregnancy advocate, Dr. Cleopatra Kamperveen, guides mothers-to-be and their partners on the power of the Primemester and gives tips on creating the superbabies of tomorrow. 

Dr. Cleopatra is The Fertility Strategist and Executive Director of the Fertility & Pregnancy Institute.

The mission of the Fertility & Pregnancy Institute is to see what others can’t using the best of love, science, and commitment to help ensure that your fertility keeps up with your high-achieving life so that you get to have as many superbabies as your heart desires.

Dr. Cleopatra is a scientist and university professor specializing in fertility, pregnancy, and how health is transmitted from one generation to the next. To date, she has received nearly $3 million in grant funding from the National Institutes of Health, the National Science Foundation, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and others. Dr. Cleopatra has been cited over 1,000 times in the past 5 years alone. Dr. Cleopatra teaches women about the primemester—the magical and powerful window of opportunity before pregnancy—when we literally have the power to change the quality and expression of the genes that we pass down to our babies and grandbabies. 

Using the science-based, big-hearted PrimemesterTM Protocol developed and refined by Dr. Cleopatra over the past 24 years, the Fertility & Pregnancy Institute helps women all over the world reverse reproductive aging; get pregnant quickly and easily; reduce miscarriage risk; and finally have the superbaby™ they have been dreaming of for as long as they can remember. Dr. Cleopatra is the author of the forthcoming book, Primemester to Your Superbaby™.

DISCLAIMER: This podcast is presented for educational and exploratory purposes only. Published content is not intended to be used for diagnosing or treating any illness. Those responsible for this show disclaim responsibility for any possible adverse effects from the use of information presented by Luke or his guests. Please consult with your healthcare provider before using any products referenced. This podcast may contain paid endorsements for products or services.

Dr. Cleopatra Kamperveen’s groundbreaking formula of science, love, and empathy has resulted in a plethora of superbabies, often delivered by women who faced fertility challenges in the past. 

In this episode, she explains how she did it (Dr. Cleopatra has conceived three superbabies naturally after the age of 35) and others can, too, with the Primemester Protocol. The magical 120-day window can holistically prepare the body and mind for giving birth. And guys, listen up because this concerns you too (you can start by taking your phone out of your pocket). 

There is no black and white right or wrong way to get pregnant, give birth, or parent a child. Dr. Cleopatra’s respect and balanced perspective for the infinite possibilities during the journey created such a sacred and safe space for my life partner, Alyson, and me to navigate this new territory with curiosity, grace, and excitement. 

We’re just about to embark on Dr. Cleopatra’s blueprint and we invite anyone who feels called to become a parent in this lifetime to join her Primemester Protocol. Use the code “Luke300'' for a $300 credit.

18:29 — A Middle Ground For Science + Spirituality 

  • Losing a mother during childbirth and how it has shaped Dr. Cleopatra’s purpose 
  • Pregnancy through the ages 
  • How the modern world is mismatched to our innate biology 

28:50 —The Primemester Protocol

  • Why Dr. Cleopatra suggests preparing the body 120 days before ovulation 
  • How older moms can feel empowered during the pregnancy process 
  • Creating a magical window of opportunity for optimized epigenetics 
  • Why creating superbabies requires both men and women 
  • Guiding your partner while trusting her independent choices

49:50 — Three Things You Can Do For Your Fertility 

  • The complex network of fertility 
  • Why is fertility declining for men and women in the modern world?
  • The difference between fertility challenges and infertility
  • Releasing yourself from the label of “infertile” 
  • How stress slows down the pregnancy process 
  • Babies as the 7th sense
  • Going public with your pregnancy experience vs. staying private 

01:17:10 — Choosing Your Birth Story 

  • How Dr. Cleopatra chose to deliver her superbabies 
  • Dealing with trauma during birth 
  • Wild birthing and receiving support from the community
  • Why “The Red Tent” is one of Dr. Cleopatra’s favorite books
  • The superbaby boom that’s happening right now

01:31:28 — Biohacking in Pregnancy 

  • Is there a place for lab testing?
  • Creating diversity in the microbiome: the mother of fertility 
  • Vaginal births and feeding your baby 
  • How the food pyramid created Type F diabetes
  • Boosting mitochondrial function to overcome reproductive ageing 
  • The disruptive effects of EMF and broken circadian rhythms 
  • How IVF syncs with Dr. Cleopatra’s work 

2:06:33 —  Conscious Conception 

  • The rituals involved in partnership
  • Security, safety, and sufficient resources 
  • Why the female orgasm can help you get pregnant quicker 
  • Creating a family vision with your partner 

More about this episode.

Watch on YouTube.

[00:00:00] Luke Storey: I'm Luke Storey. For the past 22 years, I've been relentlessly committed to my deepest passion, designing the ultimate lifestyle based on the most powerful principles of spirituality, health, psychology, and personal development. The Life Stylist podcast is a show dedicated to sharing my discoveries and the experts behind them with you. Dr. Cleopatra, here we are, you made it to Austin to hang out with me and Alison.

[00:00:30] Dr. Cleopatra Kamperveen: I'm so excited to be here. I haven't been to Austin in over a decade, so it feels good to be here.

[00:00:37] Luke Storey: Cool. Yeah, I'm so excited to have this conversation. It's been a long time in the works since you don't live here and you're passing through on your way to somewhere, so thank you so much for making the stop. I find that the conversations are always so much more meaningful when we can sit down and share the air of the room, so thank you for making the time.

[00:00:55] Dr. Cleopatra Kamperveen: It's my pleasure. Thanks for having me.

[00:00:57] Luke Storey: Yeah. And thank you, Alyson, for being my co-host today.

[00:01:01] Alyson Charles: Yeah. I don't know if co-host will end up being the right term, but I'm here and I'm here to learn. And I did want to preface by saying that, oh, gosh, how do I start this? And I won't take too long, I promise. But this is a really special, sacred chat. And so, I do want to start just by sharing that I really had to feel in if I wanted to sit in on this, and I knew I did with you, but I'm 42, to the best of my knowledge, I've never been pregnant this lifetime. And so, to now be with Luke and to have us, to be having these conversations personally within our home, I have never spoken to a doctor about this.

[00:02:00] I have never gone to a doctor's appointment about this. I have never asked questions about this. Like this portal that we have just started to open up and that we're going to be diving into is a whole new world for me. And part of me wanted to just stay in my little isolated cocoon, because I trust my relationship to Source, and Great Mother Earth, and my own wisdom and body, and I was like, you know what, let me just be with that, but I thought, if there's one doctor that I do want to hear from and hear an opinion from, its you, so I'm here. But yeah, I just wanted to be honest out of the get go, it's a bit of a vulnerable place for me to be in.

[00:02:45] Dr. Cleopatra Kamperveen: It's so vulnerable. Thank you so much for sharing that. And I talk with my hands a lot, and I don't want to mess up the microphone, and I feel so much emotion listening to you, because thank you for the honor and privilege of being here in this cocoon with you, and stepping into this for the first time. And I'm so excited for you, and I'm here to follow your lead and go wherever you want to go. I have zero agenda, so you can ask anything. There's nothing that's off limits to ask, and you are safe here with me, and thank you for allowing yourself to be in this vulnerable place here with me. It means so much to me.

[00:03:36] Alyson Charles: Thank you for sharing that. And that's that safe space that you hold is why I decided to say yes, because Luke and I had chatted about it and I said yes. And then, I was like, let me feel into it a little bit more, let me think about it. And so, it's a bit of a journey for me to get here, and then I promise I'll let you talk and have run your show, honey, but the last little thing that came up for me is I also really felt in when we both got clear that it was a yes for us.

[00:04:03] Yeah, of course, we're still a little nervous about some things, but it was a yes from him and a yes for me to, we haven't actively started trying yet, but we decided we wanted to begin to try to have this experience soon, is my point. Then, the next feeling in for me is, did I want to share about this publicly at all? Because that's a whole other big decision. I got some clarity that I did, but what I started to notice, I literally only shared like two Instagram stories about getting my first box of prenatal vitamins, and I know that people mean well, but the influx of do this, don't do that, I actually have a better brand.

[00:04:43] And I said to Luke, I'm like, oh, my gosh, if I do share publicly about our journey with this, I'm just going to have to kindly, with just pure heart, let people know that I'm really good with my own navigational system, and for the experts who I do want to hear from, I'm already with them, and thank you, but no thank you, because I didn't know when it comes to pregnancy, oh, child.

[00:05:12] Dr. Cleopatra Kamperveen: There is no place, so we all know that this happens in every single part of our lives, right? It doesn't matter what it is, business, your health, your wedding, your relationship with your mother, many people have opinions, and I would say that there's no place where this happens more than with pregnancy, and giving birth, and parenting. So, this is the moment in life, where you lean on your own internal navigational system, as you call it so beautifully, even more than ever, and you say, thank you, I love you, I appreciate that, and I'm really focused on where my heart and spirit are telling me to go, because you will be inundated and overwhelmed.

[00:06:01] And so, there's no time like this that's more important than to turn inward. I completely support you on that and agree with you on that. And Luke, when you introduced this episode, you talked about the importance of learning how to conceive, and be pregnant, and birth in a healthy way. And as you said, that I was thinking or remember how to do it, right?

[00:06:29] Remember how to do it, because our ancestors knew, and we, today, are learning how to remember and to bring in that wisdom, but also, how to do it in a way that's healthy in the world that we live in today, because we don't live in the same world that they lived in. So, it's a remembering and it's learning anew, and you deserve to have the right to learn anew on your own and through your own lens, rather than through the lens of all of the opinions and perspectives coming at you. And you will feel it even more once you are pregnant, and then you'll feel it even more as you prepare to give birth, and you will feel it even more as your child is here in your arms.

[00:07:18] Alyson Charles: Why is that? Why is it when it comes to pregnancy, specifically, there are more opinions than ever?

[00:07:26] Dr. Cleopatra Kamperveen: It's such a great question. I think it's for a lot of different reasons, and one of them, you touched on already, which is that it's very vulnerable. And when we feel vulnerable, we are more likely to look outside of ourselves. So, I think that not everybody trusts themselves as much as you do. And when we don't trust ourselves, we look outside of ourselves for answers and for solutions.

[00:07:53] And it's also for many people, the first time they're doing it, we all have a first time for doing it, many of us don't do it very many times in our lives. We don't get pregnant many times. We don't give birth many times. And so, it just feels so vulnerable and it feels so critically important to get right, because we're laying this incredible foundation that doesn't just impact us, it doesn't just impact the children were having right now, it impacts generations of our lineage.

[00:08:25] It impacts generations of this planet. Everything that we do as we're primemestering, as we're preparing to conceive is going to be impacting the state and the soul of our planet well beyond our time here. And even if people don't know that to that extent or don't have the words for that, we understand the gravity and importance of it. And I think that that's why we feel so open to people's opinions, we feel so open to looking outside of ourselves, and we feel so sensitive and rattled by the opinions. It's hard to trust ourselves in a world where we're not taught to do that.

[00:09:10] Luke Storey: I think you touched on something with the piece about remembering, and I think this is the—conflict might be a strong word, because we're in such an early stage of starting to move in this direction our life, but at the same time, I mean, it's one that's going to happen soon, but looking at things from a Paleolithic perspective in how all human beings got here, I lean more into the free birth homebirth, F the medical system totally, we've been doing it this way forever, we don't need all the things that are going to traumatize the mother, and maybe the father, and most likely, the baby in the process. I'm just being dramatic about it, of course, obviously, I might not even be here if I wasn't born in a hospital, for all we know, we don't know that, right?

[00:10:01] Dr. Cleopatra Kamperveen: Yeah.

[00:10:02] Luke Storey: But I think you said something that's really key in that sort of division of thought, because a lot of people that follow my podcast and I've interviewed a couple of people that are avid proponents of doing everything as natural as possible, but we do live in a different time. That's the thing. Genetics are different. Epigenetics are different, because of the way we've been living for the past few hundred, if not few thousands of years.

[00:10:26] So divorced from nature and in a world now, where there are so many things that just regulate our hormones and neurotransmitters, and our entire biology is being affected, sometimes, quite negatively by the environment, EMFs, toxins, whatever. So, kind of we're in an interesting time right now, because there's a remembering, well, the woman knows her body, she's going to know what to do when it happens, right?

[00:10:51] Dr. Cleopatra Kamperveen: Yeah. 

[00:10:52] Luke Storey: But we're also not living on the land, we're also disconnected, and there's been a lot of interference with our biology going back a few generations. So, I think that's what's intriguing about it for me, but also pretty complex, because I see both sides of it. And I want to do the right thing for us, and a kid, if we have a kid, if that all works out, if it's in the stars, but also for the people listening, because there are very polarizing ideas about the right way to do this, and it's such an individual thing, and we're in an unprecedented time. There just isn't one way to do this thing, called having kids. So, that's my two cents on it to set us up for the conversation.

[00:11:32] Dr. Cleopatra Kamperveen: I love it. Can I just go with that?

[00:11:35] Luke Storey: Yeah, please. Yeah.

[00:11:35] Dr. Cleopatra Kamperveen: So, the first thing I want to say is that if someone can be objective, I'm objective. I'm a scientist, I'm trained to be objective, obviously, I have my own personal preferences, but I really make a point of teaching from a place of objectivity in the way that I was trained. And there's no more heart-centered scientists in the world. I'm probably the world's most loving scientists, and yet my brain is trained to work in a certain way.

[00:12:05] So, everything that we teach, for example, at the Fertility and Pregnancy Institute and in the primemester protocol, which is our system for conceiving, is all science-based. It's not about my personal experience, it's not about my opinion, so I just want to say that this is a great position from which to have a conversation that weighs both sides. And in addition to that objectivity, I have really integrated both extremes into my own life and understanding. And so, there's a lot to say. There's a lot to say.

[00:12:45] When we think about what we've done historically as a human race, it's really important to remember that pregnancy and childbirth were among the most risky things that we could do and that women died all the time in pregnancy and childbirth. And I have goosebumps. I know this. I study this. I've been doing this for almost 25 years. I lost my own mother at birth. My own mother died giving birth to me. And my mother was only 27 years old. I mean, I just turned 43 at the time we're recording this just a couple of days ago, and I have outlived my mother, soon, it will be by 20 years, and I feel like my life is just starting.

[00:13:34] I cannot imagine how short her life was. It's so devastating to think of. And this was not hundreds of years ago. This was 43 years ago, and this was also not in the developing world. This was in America. My parents had just gotten to America, and there were a lot of things working against her. She was a woman of color. We didn't have health insurance. She didn't speak English. So many things. But it's really important to remember that, historically, this was a very risky thing because I think it's very easy to romanticize how we did it in the past, and yet our bodies know how to get pregnant.

[00:14:23] Our bodies know how to be pregnant. Our bodies know how to give birth. And our bodies know how to nurse our children and raise our children. And so, we have to be able and willing to hold both of those things when we have a conversation like this, when we're making these decisions for ourselves, and for our own children, and our own families, and when we are providing information that may inform or guide another person's decisions. We know our truth, and I am sure that if my mother had been asked her truth, she would have been able to articulate in her language that she didn't have the knowledge, education, support, or resources to have her healthiest pregnancy or birth, which is a vastly different experience than the one I've had.

[00:15:25] Thank God, birthing my own three super babies so far, three of them, that I do have the education, knowledge, support, and resources to have my healthiest pregnancies, my healthiest chances of getting pregnant easily on the first try, even as an older woman, and older mom, and having healthy births, even though still today, women of color in the United States are so much more likely to die giving birth.

[00:15:58] So, we hold both of these things and we pay attention to what is our truth. And there's nothing that can overshadow that truth for us. And I think that that's really, really important to remember. So, I don't want us to romanticize how things were, because we can forget a lot of the detail of how things were that at the turn of the last century, the average life expectancy for a woman was 48 years old, and that's if she didn't die in pregnancy or childbirth. We have to remember that.

[00:16:35] And also, there are so many things about our modern world that are mismatched to our reproductive biology that make it harder to get pregnant, stay pregnant, have a healthy pregnancy, have a healthy birth, and nurse the way that we want to for as long as we want to, and raise our children the way we want to. So, it is a remembering of that innate wisdom of our own truth and our own knowing, and it's also a learning of a new way in this world that is so mismatched to our innate reproductive biology.

[00:17:13] Alyson Charles: Wow.

[00:17:13] Luke Storey: Yeah, makes sense.

[00:17:15] Alyson Charles: That was so powerful. I did not know that story, your mother, what was her name?

[00:17:21] Dr. Cleopatra Kamperveen: Miriam.

[00:17:22] Alyson Charles: Oh, Miriam. Oh, gosh. I feel the power of that so deeply. Oh, my goodness. Do you think that that happening in your life, I mean, I can't imagine many more profound or powerful experiences to have your mother transcend into the other realm as you are incarnating into this earthly realm, that's, beyond words, powerful. Do you think that that experience played a role in shaping your calling and doing what you do? It's so intriguing.

[00:18:01] Dr. Cleopatra Kamperveen: It was like God saying like, here you are, this is what you were meant to do. Don't get distracted. Keep going. We need you to be willing to be that insanely dedicated and devoted that only you could be coming from the beginnings of that experience to invest 80,000-plus hours of your young life, in your fly 20s and 30s, not dating, not doing anything, being very just right there, focused and so committed, 100%.

[00:18:35] And it's really interesting, I was at the dentist recently, and she came, and she's telling me about the story she's reading. And she was like, can you imagine if you were the reason your mother died? In the story, the mother died giving birth to the child, and then she stopped, and she looked at me, and she's like, oh, my God, you do know. She knows my story. She had forgotten in that moment.

[00:19:01] She said, I'm so sorry, and we laughed about it, and yet there is something that words can't describe about knowing that you getting to have your life took your mother's life. And people ask me, is your birthday happy or is your birthday sad? And I would say, my birthday is mostly happy, but for sure, there's that recognition and awareness, and that you are born with a deep sense of responsibility when you come into the world in that way.

[00:19:41] And my stepping into that responsibility has been a commitment that no other human being, no other child, no other mama, and no other family has to know that responsibility of being responsible for losing the woman who was bringing them into the world. And that's how my work started. And when my work started, I didn't immediately know it was by focusing on the primemester, the time before we conceived, that we can be more likely to intercept any of these other negative things that could happen. I was just looking for the answers, and soon came to understand that before is when we have much more power, because we have so much more plasticity during that critical developmental window before we conceive, which we call the primemester. So, yes.

[00:20:41] Alyson Charles: How long is that window? Because like I said in the beginning, literally, I've never been pregnant and never consulted a single person about it, so I am starting from my first toe on the first step in this conversation right now. So, what is the primemester window?

[00:20:59] Dr. Cleopatra Kamperveen: Yeah, it's such an honor to be the person with you, and the both of you, in this moment, because it's so sacred. It's so sacred to me, obviously, given the beginnings of my life, but it's so sacred for all of us. So, the primemester, we want to be 120 days. There are a lot of different scientific reasons for that specific number, including the process of egg maturation and how our eggs complete their maturation in the 120 days prior to being released in ovulation, or if we're going to be doing IVF or freezing our eggs, then in the egg retrieval process.

[00:21:41] So, we wanted to be 120 days minimum. We have lots of people who come to us very anxious, who don't want to wait 120 days, we do an accelerated primemester for them, but for most people, we want it to be 120 days. We see a dose response relationship of primemestering to fertility, and pregnancy, and birth outcomes, so if you want a primemester for longer, because you know you won't be ready to conceive for a year, two years, five years, then you can primemester for longerm and that's wonderful.

[00:22:20] And I basically have been primemestering my entire adult life, and I'm always primemestering. I step it way up when we're actually primemestering for our super baby. We don't primemester, because we expect to have fertility challenges. We never had fertility challenges. I just turned 43. My husband just turned 50. Our three super babies turned eight, six and three in March, which I planned for them all to be born in the month of March.

[00:22:50] So, I conceived on the first try with every single one of them as a "older mom", I was turning 40 when the youngest was born, and I expect that same thing if we go for super baby number Four, which I've been campaigning for. My husband hasn't gotten on board yet, but I'm still campaigning. And so, it doesn't have to be that just because we're farther along in our reproductive span, where what the world considers to be older for parents, both female and male parents, it doesn't have to be that it's going to be hard.

[00:23:27] And the primemester, we want to really regard as the magical and powerful window of opportunity that it is, because it's during this time that we have this malleability, this plasticity to change the expression of the genes that we pass down to our super babies, and also, our super grand babies. So, we use these epigenetic modifications to overcome fertility challenges if we're concerned about fertility challenges, and we have a lot of people who come to us because—the majority come to us because of fertility challenges.

[00:24:06] So, these same epigenetic modifications allow us to overcome fertility challenges or simply reproductive aging to slow and reverse our reproductive aging, which is possible, but we also use it just because it is that important to lay that strong epigenetic foundation for our super babies and for our super grand babies. And we know from the scientific data that this process of passing down not just our genes but our epigenome, our genetic expression crosses at least two generations. We think, likely, more than two generations, but we know, for certain, two generations.

[00:24:49] Alyson Charles: So, what do Luke and I need, because we both play a role in this and I know it's not just on my end?

[00:24:57] Dr. Cleopatra Kamperveen: It's 50-50.

[00:24:58] Alyson Charles: Yeah.

[00:25:00] Luke Storey: Well, that's funny you mentioned that, because there are so many directions I want to go and I have like 20 pages of notes here, too. It's just a topic I'm so passionate and curious about. First question is, why did you choose March?

[00:25:13] Dr. Cleopatra Kamperveen: That's such a good question, and people ask me that all the time, are march babies smarter. What is it? So, it's nothing that sexy. I promise. It's actually a very practical decision. I'm a tenured professor at the University of Southern California, and it works well with the academic calendar, so that's the only reason.

[00:25:33] Luke Storey: Got it.

[00:25:33] Dr. Cleopatra Kamperveen: And in fact, there are data that show that there may be better or more ideal months for our children to be born. Malcolm Gladwell talks about this in his incredible book, Outliers, in how when we gave our children such that they will be among the oldest in their age group, it gives them all of these developmental advantages so that they look like they're smarter, stronger, taller, better at everything that they try. 

[00:26:06] And with being reinforced as being better, stronger, faster, you actually start to get better, because you become more confident. So, if you want to give your children those advantages, then you may want your children to be born around September 1st. They've just missed the cutoff for school, and sports, and other activities for the younger age group, which means they are the oldest in the next age group—or for that age group, then they're the oldest for the next age group, which means that they're going to be the tallest, smartest, strongest, fastest, most coordinated.

[00:26:47] And that will be reinforced for them, because that one year difference or even six-month difference is huge when it comes to the development of children from one month, to the next one year, to the next. So, if you want to give your children advantages by choosing when they're born, you may choose September. But then, if you have super babies, even when they're the youngest, they still are among the tallest, smartest, strongest, fastest, most coordinated, as is the case with mine, I don't say that in a bragging way at all, but just that it is. I mean, you see it, it's incredible.

[00:27:28] Luke Storey: That would make them Virgos or Scorpios, too, right?

[00:27:32] Dr. Cleopatra Kamperveen: So, they're born in March, so they're-

[00:27:34] Luke Storey: No, no, not yours, the September timeline.

[00:27:37] Dr. Cleopatra Kamperveen: Oh, the September.

[00:27:38] Luke Storey: Yeah, sorry.

[00:27:38] Dr. Cleopatra Kamperveen: So, I believe it's Virgo. I believe it's Virgo, yeah.

[00:27:42] Luke Storey: Because I go along with Virgos and Scorpios really well. I was thinking about that the other day when I was listening to some of your interviews, and you had them all on March. I don't know what sign March is, but-

[00:27:49] Dr. Cleopatra Kamperveen: So, the first two are Aries. The third was supposed to be Aries, but he arrived a couple of days early, so he's actually on the cusp, but he's got so much Aries in design and they're super athletic, which is very much an Aries thing.

[00:28:05] Luke Storey: Well, it's funny you mentioned September, because I was thinking about that after hearing you did it in March, and I was like, okay, so what sign would be cool if you could pick? And I thought, not to be narcissistic, but I really get along with other Scorpios very well and Virgo. So, I'm like, oh, cool, that actually is a good window there, astrologically, for whatever that's worth. But back to where Alyson was kind of leading us there, for me, it's a little bit—I don't know if it's a conundrum, but definitely something I have a lot of curiosity around, when you have a partnership, and there's a male and a female-

[00:28:40] Alyson Charles: I know where he's going with this, I think.

[00:28:42] Luke Storey: Yeah.

[00:28:43] Dr. Cleopatra Kamperveen: Well, that's why you two are such an awesome pair, because he doesn't even have to finish the sentence.

[00:28:47] Luke Storey: Well, let me finish for the audience that's not clairaudient or whatever you're using on me. It's the woman's body, right? She's going through all the things, like I don't want to have a goddamn baby, like physically. Like I mean, I have so much respect for females. I can only guess that I've been female in a few lifetimes. Maybe I remember that and it was rough, but I'm just like, whew, thank God, I only have to make the donation, really.

[00:29:12] I mean, physiologically speaking. But being so into health and biohacking, I mean, I've been into this, as long as you've been doing what you're doing, I've been doing what I'm doing in a different way, but as devoted to all things alternative health, and healing, and detoxing, and biohacking, and all the things. Twenty-five years. And I've fixed so many things in myself, and I'm so vital, and feeling awesome in all the ways as a result of all the things that I've done.

[00:29:38] But in thinking about a man who's really into health knows a lot of stuff, but yet he's not the one having the baby, it's like the boundaries there are a little ambiguous to me, because it's not like the male, in my case, can have no say or no rights, like, oh yeah, just eat McDonalds and smoke cigarettes every day, and like it's your body, your choice, right?

[00:29:58] Alyson Charles: Because that's how I lived my life.

[00:30:03] Luke Storey: No, I'm just saying it. I'm using an extreme example of like what my worst nightmare would be, like aspartame, GMOs.

[00:30:07] Alyson Charles: Go, get me a new carton of Marlboros.

[00:30:10] Luke Storey: Sleeping with your cellphone on your belly while you're pregnant. I mean, I can think of all the nightmarish things that would freak me out, but it's like I find personally, because I'm super controlling. It's something that I work on. It's also like a superpower and makes me control things that matter, and often, as neurotic as getting there might be, the outcomes are pretty awesome most of the time.

[00:30:33] So, how does a couple find balance when they both deeply care about the outcome, yet one of them kind of is more entitled to certain decisions, right? Like if I had it my way, I just say, if Alyson said, whatever you want, honey, we'll do anything you want, I would likely have a totally different plan than she would if I gave her that same opportunity. So, it's kind of a totally meandering question/statement, but it's something, I'm just like, how does this work?

[00:31:02] Dr. Cleopatra Kamperveen: I love it. So, first thing I want to say is I don't know many people who are super effective in themselves and in their lives who aren't very controlling. So, that's number one. I think that being more relaxed works for some people, but most people who are living the kind of life they've dreamt of for themselves are really going for it and really deliberately creating it. And I'm a strong proponent of that for creating our super babies as well.

[00:31:33] So, when someone comes to me, and says, well, we're not expecting fertility challenges, can't we just have sex and have a baby? I'm like, you can, but let's talk about what it's looking like in our world when people do that. It's not looking the way that we wanted. The present isn't looking the way we want it, and the future isn't looking the way we want it, and we can talk more about that.

[00:31:57] In terms of what do you do as a couple when you might have different visions for an ideal pregnancy or how you get to the shared outcome of your super baby, because you share that in common, you want that, you want your super baby, we all want our super baby, because when we get to have our super baby, it doesn't mean that my baby is better than someone else's or your baby will be better than someone else's, it means that we get to have our super baby.

[00:32:27] We get to have the healthiest, happiest, brightest, most well-adjusted baby that we can possibly have given our genome and our epigenome, our gene expression, and that of the other person providing DNA for our super babies, and as we said, our super grandbabies. And we know that the egg and sperm are equal in the determination of that, but we also know that the epigenome continues to be shaped in utero, and also, in the birth process and in early childhood.

[00:33:01] So, at different points, the mother may, the person providing the egg and the womb may have more impact at certain points, but the overall impact is equal. And I just want to point out something that I think is really important, because not everybody listening identifies as either male or female, and not everyone listening is in a heterosexual relationship.

[00:33:27] And so, it's really important for me to say that at the Fertility and Pregnancy Institute, we love, and honor, and celebrate all gender identifications, all faces of love and family. And when we talk about egg and sperm or male and female, it's because we're talking about the biological process of conception, which requires egg and sperm, regardless of whom we love and how we identify. 

[00:33:55] So, I just want to be really clear about that. When it comes to the union of egg and sperm through a loving relationship, so if you're in a relationship, where you can come together with the other person to create a baby, if you're in a same sex couple or you're single, then you might be using an egg donor or a sperm donor, that's a different kind of situation, right?

[00:34:21] But when it comes to the union of egg and sperm in the context of a loving relationship, number one, the good news is that we often choose a partner who has similar values, especially when it comes to the most important things in life. So, it's not likely that you, Luke, would be falling in love with and having a child with someone who smoke cigarettes and eats McDonald's. I mean, that's just the bottom line, not that we're knocking on anyone's choices, but it's not likely that you would-

[00:34:54] Luke Storey: There wouldn't be compatibility.

[00:34:55] Dr. Cleopatra Kamperveen: Exactly. And even if you have, the details are different-

[00:34:59] Luke Storey: I used to smoke cigarettes, by the way, for the record, for like 15 years. So, love me some cigarettes.

[00:35:05] Dr. Cleopatra Kamperveen: Exactly. And so, we evolve, right? And you are partnered with the person who fits you today, and it's probably a good thing that you're not partnered with the person who fit you 15 years ago, because they may not fit you today, especially if they didn't evolve with you, right? So, we started out, more than likely, we've chosen someone who is compatible, whose values are compatible with ours. And if the process to getting to that same value of our super baby, for example, would look different, it's just like anything else in life.

[00:35:44] It's a process of compromise, and really trusting each other, trusting yourselves. So, you trust this beautiful mama, Alyson, to make great choices for herself and for your super babies. That's one of the reasons why you fell in love with her and decided that you actually want to have a super baby or you want to have a baby, whereas in the past, you may not have felt very inclined to have children at all.

[00:36:14] Part of it is your love and trust for her that makes you want to have a baby, so that you can trust in her, you can trust in yourself and the choice that you made in her, and you can also trust in your own instincts to know what is yours and what is not yours. So, you will know and you will be right the majority of the time, maybe not 100% of the time-

[00:36:37] Luke Storey: It's debatable. I'm just kidding.

[00:36:39] Dr. Cleopatra Kamperveen: Majority of the time, you will know when it's your domain that you want to speak up about and when it's not really your domain, and you need to just trust in this beautiful human you've chosen, and trust in the instincts and choices that she has and makes. And I think most of the time, you will trust yourself and you will know there might be a couple of times you don't get it right, and you overstep, and she says to you, I got this, baby, just trust me.

[00:37:13] Alyson Charles: Yeah. And I mean, I think part of his hesitation, which I know about time and space to get into my whole backstory, but part of him wondering about this is because I come from a childhood, where, and again, let me preface, wouldn't change a thing, all is divinely perfect, but my childhood, my dad was my distance running coach, was really extreme. I was national champion athlete and like, so I was told what to do with my body, what to put on my body, how to train my body and like.

[00:37:45] So, after my body started to break down after being a college athlete and I didn't want anyone to tell me what to do with my body, it took me the pendulum swinging from extreme athletics, then went to the other extreme side of like I need to let my body totally rest, and I did that for a very long time. I'm just now starting to exercise again. So, I imagine, in his mind, it's like, okay, we're co-creating this super baby, and he knows my sensitivity, especially to a male telling me what to do with my physical vessel.

[00:38:19] So, let me just tell you, I love that you have all of your sublingual squirts, and you should see him in the morning, I mean, 10,000 vitamins and like all these things, and I'm open to it, I'm not closed off, like I'm very much open and I will be excited to learn from you in this primemester what are three examples of like, is one example taking certain vitamins? Is another example starting to do certain exercises? Like I don't even know within this 120-day window, what are a couple of examples of things I need to start doing to prepare my body? And what does he need to start doing? But I'm open to things, I'm open to taking more stuff, because I talk to God and I'm good. I don't know.

[00:39:15] Dr. Cleopatra Kamperveen: I love that so much. I love that you talk to God and you're good, and I want you to keep doing that. I want you to do that now. I want you to do that when you're pregnant. I want you to do that when you're preparing for giving birth, and when you're nursing, and when your super baby's here, and you're deciding on the best way to raise him or her, and that will guide you so well. And because of that, you will be protected from all of the opinions coming at you. And I think that's really critical.

[00:39:48] And the other thing is I think that one of the most beautiful parts of primemestering in the primemester protocol is that you don't have to tell each other, because I tell you, and then you've made a decision that you're going to trust in the science and the guidance that you're receiving, and you're just going to take the steps that feel right for you, and you're not going to take the steps that don't feel right for you. And then, you don't have to take responsibility, and you don't have to take responsibility, and you can walk together in that trusting. So, I think that that's really helpful, too. And so, when you ask, what are three things that people can do? So, I think that when it comes to our fertility, so we think of our fertility as a complex network. 

[00:40:36] It is a complex network, like the neural network in the brain. Our fertility isn't just our eggs or our sperm, or what's happening in our ovaries, or our uterus, or hormone balance. I mean, our most important fertility organ is the brain, and nobody tells us this. And so, it's really important that when we think of fertility, the first thing that people think of is what we call the bioecological level of fertility.

[00:41:04] We use a fertility pyramid. So, those are things like, what supplements should I take? What should I eat? What do I do if my hormones are imbalanced? What do I do if I've received a particular type of fertility-related diagnosis, like polycystic ovarian syndrome or diminished ovarian reserve? So, that's a hugely important part of the fertility system, but it's so much more than that.

[00:41:33] So, yes, we provide guidance about core nutrients that everyone will want to have when they're primemestering, and they're pregnant, and they're postpartum. And then, we also provide guidance on nutrients, micronutrients, and macronutrients. So, both food and supplementation for specific cases that are very common, like polycystic ovarian syndrome, I just mentioned, PCOS, which is one of the most common fertility conditions, like endometriosis, like fibroids, like hormonal imbalances, including low estradiol, low progesterone, if someone has a short cycle, meaning that when people hear a cycle, they think, I mean, the days of their period, but what I really mean is a full cycle from the first day of the period until the day before the period starts.

[00:42:29] Again, that's a full cycle. And one of the first signs of reproductive ageing for many people is that their cycle, their full cycle, will start to get shorter and shorter. You might see it go down by a day or two. And when that starts to happen, the luteal phase is what's usually getting shorter. Sometimes, the follicular phase, the first half, but usually, it's the luteal phase, which is the second half, which means that it can be harder for a fertilized egg to implant in the uterine lining and for that to be sustained and to grow as a pregnancy.

[00:43:08] So, these are common cases and also just accelerated reproductive ageing, because we are not only waiting longer to meet our person, have our children, because of the world we live in today, but also, we are seeing the reproductive system age much faster. So, in general, a woman in her 20s is considered less fertile today than our grandmother's generation at the age of 35.

[00:43:39] Let's put this in context. Our grandmothers' generation only lived to the age of 59. So, our grandmothers' generation was staying fertile so much longer in her lifespan, so her reproductive span was so much longer relative to her lifespan. We're living much longer today, but our fertility is aging much more rapidly today on average. And so, today, compared to our grandmothers' generation, which only lived until 59, but was considered more fertile at the age of 35, an American woman, a woman living in the United States of America, which is where we live, is, on average, will live to the age of, well, actually, last year, it was 81.

[00:44:31] It declined by a full year in the past year, likely due to COVID. So, on average, 80 years old, but is seeing diminished fertility already in 20s, 30s, and in the 40s as well. And so, it's really important for us to be aware of this, and this has to do with that mismatch between the world that we live in and our reproductive biology. And so, this is, again, why I said it's partly a remembering, and it's partly learning anew way.

[00:45:08] Luke Storey: Wow. Heavy. Super good information. God, there are so many directions I could go here. Well, let's do this, because I kind of wanted to go down Alyson's road, and like, okay, so let's talk about like the things to do. But before that, I think it would be useful for people to get an overview of some of the most common misconceptions around fertility, right?

[00:45:31] Dr. Cleopatra Kamperveen: Yes.

[00:45:31] Luke Storey: I've heard you define infertile, and it's kind of a term that's just thrown around, but the way people use it isn't actually factual. So, maybe you could just give us some of the myths there to give us the good news after the news that you just gave us, of like we're tanking in our reproductive ability, but at the same time, perhaps because there's an industry built around this, and it's monetized and incentivized by that, in some ways, that many women and couples are led to believe that they are infertile, and therefore, like it's just over for them. So, break some of that down.

[00:46:03] Dr. Cleopatra Kamperveen: This is so important. I'm so glad you're bringing this up, Luke. Thank you. So, I want to say that it is scientifically documented that fertility is declining for both males and females, and if we had studies in all genders, we could probably say all genders, but we don't really have those data. So, in the last 40 to 60 years, we've seen significant declines. I could spell that out more, but then that is the bad news.

[00:46:28] So, fertility challenges are, number one, real, and number two, very common. However, there's something really important to understand, which is that there's a big difference between fertility challenges and true infertility. And you hear all these statistics being thrown around, one in eight couples are infertile, and if you actually look at the scientific data, which is what I'm trained to do, then you know that up to 16% of couples are experiencing fertility challenges, and they're seeking fertility help.

[00:47:07] So, it's even more than that one in eight. However, what's really important to understand is that from the perspective of human biological fact, only approximately two percent of the human population plus or minus one percent, so three percent on the high end are truly infertile or truly sterile. The vast majority of people who are experiencing fertility challenges are experiencing just that challenges that are temporary and that can be overcome.

[00:47:45] They are not truly infertile. There's a statistic in science that we use, which is called involuntary childlessness, and this is one example of what we know about what is true infertility or true sterility. So, involuntary childlessness or non-voluntary childlessness is the percentage of people between the ages of 15 and 49. I know it sounds crazy to talk about 15-year-olds, but this is how we measure in science, because this is a statistic that's measured all over the world, not just in the United States or the developed world as a whole.

[00:48:27] So, you have to remember that there are different cultural norms and practices surrounding childbearing throughout the world. And in lots of places, it's not unusual to be having children at the age of 15. My mother started having children at the age of 17. When my mother passed away at 27, she was giving birth to her third and fourth children, because I'm an identical twin, and she had already had two children. So, this statistic is measured in individuals between the ages of 15 and 49 who do not have children, and they do not have children, and it's not by choice. So, they're childless and it's not by choice. And this number is approximately 3%, and it's approximately 3% in pretty much every country that you look at it in. 

[00:49:23] And that's because it more closely approximates human biological fact of sterility or true infertility. There are other similar types of data. For example, the distinction between primary "infertility" and secondary infertility. At the Fertility and Pregnancy Institute, we don't use the word infertility, because we know that it doesn't apply to very many people in the world at all. We use the term fertility challenges. 

[00:49:55] But essentially, primary and secondary fertility challenges are if you want to have a baby, and you're having difficulty getting or staying pregnant, and you don't have any other children, or if you have already had children, and you're having difficulty getting, and/or getting pregnant. That's secondary. Again, those data show us that only approximately 2% plus or minus 1% in every place you look in the world of people are truly sterile or truly infertile.

[00:50:27] So, if people are going to use the term infertile, I want them to make sure that they're using it in the most accurate way, which means to refer to someone who is believed to be truly sterile or known to be truly sterile. And if there's anyone walking around this planet thinking of themselves as infertile, because they received a diagnosis of infertile, I want them to know that the overwhelming odds are that they are not truly infertile, that they are not truly sterile.

[00:51:04] We have to remember that the term infertile started being used so commonly as a diagnosis. And diagnoses are a necessary evil of the medical system, because without putting a code on someone's chart, their insurance is not likely to cover testing or treatment. That label has been attached to that person for the purpose of mobilizing resources, mobilizing testing, mobilizing treatment.

[00:51:41] It was never intended to become the way that we referred to each other out in the world, and most importantly, the way that we define ourselves. Think about how it feels to have received a diagnosis of infertile, because you've been trying to get pregnant for either six months or 12 months, depending on your age, and now, you are walking around this Earth thinking of yourself as infertile, as broken, as your body isn't working the way that it's supposed to, your body has failed you in some way.

[00:52:17] It is so psychologically and socially damaging, and it is very hard to overcome that self-definition and that self-identification. It is so hard to overcome identifying oneself in that way. So, for me, it is very important that health care providers be clear that if they are putting infertile on someone's chart, that they are doing it for the purpose of insurance kicking in for treatment and testing, and not for that person to identify themselves through that label.

[00:53:02] Luke Storey: Super important. I mean, think about the epigenetics of belief, right?

[00:53:05] Dr. Cleopatra Kamperveen: Yes.

[00:53:05] Luke Storey: Like you tell me you can't do something, you're broken, therefore if I believe that strongly enough, the physiology is going to comply with that belief, or it is likely or possible to do so, right?

[00:53:18] Dr. Cleopatra Kamperveen: So likely. 

[00:53:19] Luke Storey: So, if a woman is like, oh, I'm infertile, it's telling her body like, this is our truth now, so that's crazy.

[00:53:25] Dr. Cleopatra Kamperveen: It is so hard to overcome, and I would say that one of the biggest things that we need to do in the primemester Protocol is overcome that belief that the body can't do it, that the self can't do it, that the body is broken in some way. And it is magical what happens when we manage to overcome that. I'm not saying that fertility challenges are in someone's head. They are very real.

[00:53:56] What I'm saying is that there is this cascade that occurs within the body with our thoughts that reinforces biology, that makes it more and more difficult to get and stay pregnant. There are also intimate feedback loops between our psychology and our fertility, so much so that as our sex hormones go down, our stress hormones go up, and vice versa. So, the more that we are living in a state of emergency in a state of stress, in a state of trauma, even if it's that we're being traumatized by the belief that we're "infertile", the more it is difficult for us to get and stay pregnant, because the central nervous system is registering that information.

[00:54:50] The brain is constantly sending messages to our bodies and to our future super babies about the availability of resources, about what the conditions are like and whether it's the right time to get pregnant, to be pregnant. Reproduction is hugely costly for human beings, and especially for female human beings, because as you said not long ago, men, in a way, get to just be the donor, the rest of the work happens within the female body.

[00:55:26] So, that's incredibly, incredibly costly from an evolutionary perspective. And our brains evolved to be so incredibly wise, and to prioritize our safety and our survival above and beyond everything else. So, if our brains are registering the message that it's not safe, that we're under threat, that there are not enough resources, our brain is going to send that signal to the body into our future super babies. And I like to refer to our super babies as our seventh sense.

[00:56:02] And the reason why I referred to them as our seventh sense is because they've been with us our entire lives. They have been with us since we were a 20-week-old fetus in our mother's womb. That means, sadly, in a way, that my super babies were in my mother's womb with me and experienced all of her distress with me, but also, they know me better than anyone in the entire world. They know me better than anything in the entire world. They know the tendencies in my thought patterns. They know the tendencies in my psychological hygiene. They know the tendencies in what I consume, what I eat.

[00:56:49] Alyson Charles: Is that why your kids are your greatest teachers, because they know you that well?

[00:56:54] Dr. Cleopatra Kamperveen: Oh, my gosh. They know you better than anything or anyone. Your super baby who you are going to have knows you better than Luke, which is hard to believe and imagine, but it's true. And so, we want to remember that they're there, like eavesdropping. They're there watching. They're there taking all the messages and signals. It doesn't mean that we have to be perfect, but we want to remember that they're getting the message, that this is a good time, this isn't a good time, it's safe here, it's not safe here. And if we are living in a state of fight or flight of chronic stress and chronic emergency, they're experiencing that right along with us, and our brain is sending the signal, body, super babies, this isn't a good time, there are not enough resources.

[00:57:47] Alyson Charles: The only little thing I'll share with that is that is exactly why I have been so hesitant, and just staying dialed in to my body and God, because I don't want any extraneous noise to unconsciously or consciously start to affect me or weigh into this sacred process. Like all that you've just explained is why I haven't spoken to anyone about it. 

[00:58:14] Dr. Cleopatra Kamperveen: Yes. And I want to say you can always change your mind and not share. You don't have to share. In fact,I have shared when I've been going all in on my primemester. I always live primemester life, I would say, 90, 95%. We just spent a month in Mexico, where we swam in chlorine every day. I drink water that wasn't nearly the quality I prefer. We ate food that wasn't organic, even though they tried to accommodate us when I never eat out and I only eat organic food. 

[00:58:50] Some of what I drink was from plastic. I even drink coffee from plastic. I mean, things I would never do. And so, if we were going to have our fourth super baby in March coming up, we would have conceived her and I'm fairly certain she'll be a her, I already know her name and everything, we would have conceived her two weeks ago. And at that time, when all my signals, which I'll teach you how to collect data on your body, so that you know all the signals and you can go for it, when all my signals turned positive, and I normally wouldn't say this even in front of a man, but in my cervical fluid, which is the queen's signal, I call the queen of all body data, was positive, and there was even more than there normally is.

[00:59:36] And I always have plentiful cervical fluid, which is a good sign, and I thought, oh, my gosh, maybe I should just convince my hubby, like let's just do it. I can convince him in this moment. I'm sure he'll want to do it. But then, I thought to myself, but I'm so out of my primemester, and those are kind of the more superficial aspects of primemester life, but I felt I was so out of my trimester life in a way that I never am, that in good conscience, I didn't want to do that to her or for her.

[01:00:09] And so, I was like, okay, well, we'll revisit this at this time next year if we want her to be born in March, or maybe we'll have her at some other time of year if we decide, maybe we'll go for September this time around. But the point is that these things are constantly shaping our epigenome, because it's not fixed. And so, just because I live primemester life 90%, 95% of the way all the time doesn't mean that one month, especially the month leading up to conception doesn't matter.

[01:00:45] It does. It's the same thing for your longevity, right? You can't, just because you did years of pouring into your longevity doesn't mean that you can stop pouring into your longevity at any point, right? Because it's the same epigenetic process. Our reproductive longevity and our overall longevity are actually intimately tied to one another, which is something that we can talk about if you're interested in.

[01:01:12] So, I have shared my primemester when I'm going to go all in case I convince my hubby that we should have another super baby. But when I'm primemestering and I'm in my early pregnancy, I don't share. That is a sacred time. It's mine to experience how I wish, and in the emotional state that I want to be, I was already dealing with the life of being on the tenure track and being a tenured young woman of color, the first in history to be hired on the tenure track in the school where I started at USC.

[01:01:54] That was enough of emotional burden that I carried into all of my primemesters and throughout all of my pregnancies. And I didn't need to add to that. So, you can always change your mind and do this as privately as you want to do it. And even if you don't, you are a powerful being and you can insulate yourself even when you are sharing publicly. And I highly recommend doing that. I do. Throughout your semester, throughout your pregnancy, and throughout raising your children, I don't listen to anybody about how I should raise my children. I do not.

[01:02:35] Alyson Charles: Boom. Great. I like it.

[01:02:39] Luke Storey: I like the piece about kind of the negative affirmations, right?

[01:02:43] Dr. Cleopatra Kamperveen: Yes.

[01:02:44] Luke Storey: And I'm assuming this is true somewhat for the male in the equation, too. I mean, I'm just thinking about myself and when I'm in a limbic system, dominant fight or flight paranoia about having a baby, and it has to be this way, and like, ah, and all that, like hanging on and controlling, ,on a spiritual or psychological level, that's imprinting on Alyson and on the baby that she's potentially going to create, right?

[01:03:12] Dr. Cleopatra Kamperveen: 100%.

[01:03:12] Luke Storey: So, it's like on the energetics of it as a whole other level, I think, is really important to be aware of. And as Alyson said, I mean, I've, from time to time, like, oh, listen to this podcast. And then, she's actually like, no, no, no, I don't want to know anything. I'm like, we got to learn about this stuff. She's like, I don't want anyone putting anything in my head, basically, that I might not be able to get out, something that that wouldn't serve her.And I don't know that the same is true for me, because I'm just taking in so much information all the time and just constantly filtering out what doesn't fit, but-

[01:03:43] Alyson Charles: Or, even like we were in the car, and on my podcast, I interviewed a dear sister, who has had a hospital birth, and also, a complete wild birth, 100% wild birth. So, she knows both avenues. And then, just within our community, there are plenty of people that have also had both. And it's like, I'm not even going to try—like I can tell I'm not even at the place at all where I can tune in or access what feels right for me right now, because we're not even actively—I'm not even officially in the primemester yet, because I don't even know what your protocol is, which, FYI, we need to get going on it. If it's 120 days, we need to get her going.

[01:04:35] Luke Storey: I would vote for longer, but that's just me.

[01:04:38] Dr. Cleopatra Kamperveen: Well, we can start with 120 days, and we can go from there, but I agree with you. And you know what, you won't know until you're there.

[01:04:49] Alyson Charles: Yeah. 

[01:04:49] Dr. Cleopatra Kamperveen: And then, you'll know, and then who cares what anybody else thinks? And when I was doing my dissertation, I was my early mid20s, and I felt, okay, we have all the science in the protocol already, but there's something more. There's something more that we haven't captured with the science. So, I went to study with a Kundalini prenatal yoga teacher named Gurmukh, and I started to learn with her.

[01:05:21] And when I started to learn with her, and to this day, you can see infusions of what I've learned and what I've trained in the primemester protocol. And as I was learning, I saw beautiful examples of home water births or even water births and bodies of water like the Black Sea. And I thought, for sure, I'm going to have water births with my super babies. And then, my husband was like, oh no, no, no, I don't like that idea.

[01:05:56] I think you should give birth in the hospital like everybody else, and I really didn't want to, but I also wanted to honor his desire to know that we would be in a place, where he had never experienced this before, where I would be safe and his child would be safe, and we had a beautiful hospital birth. And when it came time for Super Baby Number Two, he was open to a water birth, because he saw everything was fine, no big deal, we could do this, and then I was like, well, actually, I'm going to give birth again with ROB at Cedars, where I gave birth the last time. 

[01:06:39] Because I had such a beautiful birth, I'm going to birth again in the way that I now know to birth. And my second birth was a dream birth. I got to the hospital an hour before she was born. My doctor almost didn't get there in time. This beautiful nurse who was the most perfect nurse for me, the right amount of love and firm, and she was just so perfect for me, was there with me, and she was preparing briskly to catch the baby on her own, because she didn't know if the doctor was going to get there in time.

[01:07:16] And my super baby girl came out on the first push, purring, like so satisfied with herself, and she smelled so good, and she was so soft, and she had this long hair, and just like everything was perfect. And so then, when it was time for a super baby number three, I'm like, I'm doing that again, and it was a completely different birth that I haven't talked about very much. He came a little bit early.

[01:07:43] I had a very traumatic experience at USC with a very severe discrimination, and I had been studying for decades how discrimination can lead to preterm birth in women of color, and there I was, becoming a statistic, and it was so traumatizing for me. And I've never talked about this before in public. And there was a team of experts in the room waiting for my super baby when he came out, because there were any number of things that could be wrong with him and they had to be there to be ready.

[01:08:23] And he came out, and here I am thinking, I'm just going to have my hubby, the doctor, and the nurse, and hopefully, it's the same nurse as the last time in a dark room with my meditations and my music, and then there are nine strangers standing there while I'm about to push out my super baby, whom I'm so excited to meet, and yet terrified, because there are any number of things, and I'm a scientist, and I know all the number of things that can be wrong. So, excited and terrified.

[01:09:00] And I say to myself, don't look at them, don't think about anything, you just focus right here, tunnel vision, he's going to be perfect. And this baby is so super that even though he's early and this team of people is here, he comes out, and they're like, there's nothing wrong, he's full size, he looks everything, like are you sure you didn't get her due date wrong? And he's perfect and everything is perfect. Thank God. We don't need anybody. We get to leave before 24 hours, like nothing, as if he came out on the second push, everything was perfect. And I really credit all we do pouring in before to having that outcome, which was so unlikely.

[01:09:49] And so, there are so many things that can happen in a birth, and yet almost every single time, everything is okay. And that's the thing that I want you to remember and that's the part of the remembering that I was talking about earlier, that the body knows and it's very rare that things are not okay. And that's the thing that I want you to remember. You won't know until you're pregnant, and you won't even know until it's almost time to give birth how you want to birth.

[01:10:26] And I didn't know until I had the first one that I would continue to go to the hospital to give birth with my OB, whom I had come to be comfortable birthing with, who is really hands-off and just lets me do my thing, and now, because we'll be living in a new place if I have another, which I'm hoping we will have another super baby, I'll probably have the home water birth that I always wanted, because I won't be birthing with the same person and in the same way anyway.

[01:10:58] And so, you just don't know until you experience it and it doesn't matter what anybody else's opinion is, because you get to have a beautiful birth whether you decide to give birth in the hospital, whether you decide to give birth in a birthing center, whether you decide to give birth at home or you decide to give birth at home with only Luke there and no assistance whatsoever.

[01:11:27] And I will say that I think that wild birth on a first birth is a really interesting concept that wouldn't fit most people. One of my favorite books, I would say my second favorite book is The Red Tent. And in The Red Tent, they talk about how, long ago, women used to all bleed together at under a certain phase of the Moon, because we weren't affected by hormonal birth control and all of the things right, and it was a time of rest.

[01:12:03] And not only did women bleed together, but when they birthed, they birthed together and how it was sad to be among the wealthy in the moment that you were giving birth. Because when you were among the wealthy, you were in a home that was closed in and no one could hear your cries. No one could hear your cries for support, but everyone else, they lived so close together and the homes weren't insulated, when a woman goes into labor, everyone hears, and all the women come out to support her and be with her.

[01:12:43] And obviously, it's a very different world we live in today and we're all wealthy enough that we have homes, where we could be crying and no one would hear us, right? But what is still present today is that most women, when they're birthing, want support and comfort, and want support and comfort from other women. So, that may not be the case for you. You'll know when you're pregnant if you want to give birth by yourself with just Luke there, or if you at least want the support and comfort of another woman whom you never feel judged by, whom you never compare yourself to, who never looks at you funny, who never says the wrong thing.

[01:13:29] I have kicked nurses out of my birthing room because of how they've talked to me or looked at me, because we can't have people in our birth who cause us stress. Because then, we have an adrenaline response and that actually slows the birth process, just like it slows the conception process. Because when we lived out among the animals, if we were being chased by an animal, our adrenaline spiking, well, the brain gets the signal, it's not the time to stop and give birth right now, you got to keep moving, the same sort of thing is happening, and the brain and body are interpreting it in the same way when we have someone in our birthing room who stresses us out. 

[01:14:13] So, you don't want to have your mom there or your mother in law there just because you're supposed to. You don't want to have your sister there just because you're supposed to, or your best friend there just because you're supposed to if they, in any way, cause a stress response in you. You want someone who you don't owe anything, their presence is gentle, supportive, you don't have any reactivity to them. That's what you want in your birthing room.

[01:14:43] Alyson Charles: That's a very helpful tip.

[01:14:44] Dr. Cleopatra Kamperveen: If you decide to have any one at all there.

[01:14:47] Luke Storey: I love your balanced, open-minded, wise approach.

[01:14:51] Dr. Cleopatra Kamperveen: Thank you.

[01:14:51] Luke Storey: Yeah, thank you for sharing all that. I cleared up a lot, I think, for so many people listening, especially people that are kind of in the debate of the black and white, it has to be this way or that way, and there's no gray area or middle ground. It sounds like there's just almost an infinite number of ways that this can happen.

[01:15:08] Dr. Cleopatra Kamperveen: It's all gray. It is all gray, because in pregnancy, and in birthing, and as in parenting, there aren't right or wrong answers. I mean, in the extreme, there are some right and wrong answers, but for the most part, it's what's right for us, what's my truth, what's right in the conditions, and circumstances, and with the resources that I have available to me, and what's right is what's right for you, because a happy, calm, grounded, peaceful mama, just like the woman I'm looking at right now today.

[01:15:48] And you can continue to be her no matter what's flying around you, and there will be a lot flying around you, and some of it will get in, but you can continue to be her. And that is the most powerful. and healthy. and important thing for your super baby, and your super baby's epigenome, and for the health of your conception, the health of your pregnancy, the health of your birth, your ability to nurse for as long as you want, and having the most amazing child you could imagine having. It's true. It's true.

[01:16:26] Alyson Charles: That's nice.

[01:16:28] Luke Storey: Good stuff. I have so many thoughts and feelings going on right now.

[01:16:36] Dr. Cleopatra Kamperveen: I have them, too. I'm getting such super baby fever. I always have it, and we've been having a boom, because for so long, I did this work, I worked with two or three dozen couples or mamas one-on-one, and not that many people knew about the primemester. And in the last two years, it's been amazing. It was my always my dream to get the primemester to everyone I could on the planet, and now, we're on six continents, in 23-plus countries.

[01:17:12] The part that I didn't fully anticipate or comprehend was what would happen to my soul when the frequency of this, we have a new positive pregnancy test, we have a new super baby, like here's a new ultrasound, the frequency of that has grown exponentially, and I could not have anticipated what it would be like. I heard you say on a podcast, I've been listening to you and heard you say, what a privilege it's been in your life to get to live a life that does more good than harm. I think those were the words you used and I understood you so deeply.

[01:18:00] I never, ever thought I would do harm anywhere, but to have the ability to do that much good, that in the world that we're having this incredible super baby boom this summer, I think because just the sheer number of people who now primemester. And there's not a moment when the appreciation and awe doesn't dawn on me. Like I still cry every time tears of joy, jump up. It doesn't matter if we get them five or 10 times in a day, this feeling will never become less for me. So, I feel it too. I always have super baby fever for myself and for everybody else, but sitting here, I feel it so much, too.

[01:18:57] Luke Storey: Well, with that, I want to get a little more tactical.

[01:19:00] Dr. Cleopatra Kamperveen: Let's do that.

[01:19:01] Luke Storey: There's a number of things in terms of the primemester, just the preparation before conception that I just intuitively have a sense would be a good idea, and I want to run a few of them by you, see if they're in your protocol. And I'm thinking of like, if I just had my way and I could do everything exactly how I think it should be done, and we'll go through them one by one, so it's not too overwhelming, but the first order of business or one of them to me would be, well, for both parties, really, but because I'm already doing all this stuff and I've been doing it for a long time, I think I would just keep doing what I'm doing, and again, not that Alison is sitting around, smoking cigarettes, eating McDonald's, but she feels good and has energy, she just lives her life. 

[01:19:44] Alyson Charles: I did have Chick-fil-A last night.

[01:19:46] Luke Storey: And I didn't say anything, I was like, oh, you go Chick-Fil-A, honey, and she's like, yeah, it's delicious. I was like, great, and inside, I'm like, no.

[01:19:54] Alyson Charles: It was good.

[01:19:56] Dr. Cleopatra Kamperveen: That's hilarious.

[01:19:57] Luke Storey: But I don't know the order of them, but it seems like one of the first things to tackle with me would be lab testing for things like glyphosate, heavy metals, gut biome testing for parasites, dysbiosis, et cetera, and then detoxing things that you find that you don't want to be there by whatever protocol is most appropriate. But it seems like kind of seeing where you are, biomarker-wise, and cleaning out anything that's jacked up, and then rebuilding what was perhaps in an imbalance, which could include, I'm assuming, like hormone testing, doing something to correct those if you're estrogen-dominant or some of the other problems that can happen. But maybe some of that would just be worked out if someone's like, hey, I've been living in an industrialized nation for X amount of years, let me just see what's going on, clear things out. Would that be one of the first things or even part of your protocol?

[01:20:57] Dr. Cleopatra Kamperveen: So, first of all, I love this. This is so awesome. And I would say yes and no, and here's why, because the primemester protocol is going to address all of that anyway. If you are somebody who's going to be totally freaked out by what you learn, because you're going to learn that there are things in there that you don't want to be in there, because that's the case for all of us, no matter how clean we live.

[01:21:29] Luke Storey: I know that to be true. I did a metals test like five years ago, and I was like, what? I've been detoxing for 20 years. 

[01:21:38] Dr. Cleopatra Kamperveen: It's 100%, I'm the same. I'm like, if you are going to be freaked out and psychologically impacted by what you learn about what's in there, what's not in there, what hormones are doing well, which ones aren't, then I say, don't start there, because that's not a great place to start psychologically. And we think of the psychosexual level of the fertility system or the fertility pyramid, as we call it, as being foundational. It is the most important foundation. So, anything that is going to throw us off on the psychosexual level of the pyramid, we don't really need to focus on, that we're not being in denial in any way. We're just being wise about what's true for us. And we also know that 99% of what you would do to address what you learn were already going to do in the primemester protocol.

[01:22:40] Luke Storey: That makes sense. 

[01:22:41] Dr. Cleopatra Kamperveen: So, you can or it depends on who you are.

[01:22:45] Luke Storey: Right. Like for me, if I was the woman, I could get all the testing done, it wouldn't freak me out at all. I would just be like, oh, I can totally fix this, and then I would just fix it. You know what I mean? But I would want to know just because I think I would want to fine tune my strategy and my tactics for fixing whatever it is, I would want to, oh, okay, lead, I know what to do for lead, versus just like do a general metals detox, thinking, well, I probably have some metals, I don't want to know what they are, I'm just going to do a detox. But if I found something specific, I would probably go a million different ways to sort it out, but that makes a lot of sense.

[01:23:19] Dr. Cleopatra Kamperveen: I'm like you, Luke. I'm like you. I'm always testing. I'm always checking. I'm always experimenting and tweaking. And for people like you, we do have one-on-one services that are that additional level of precision in creating those epigenetic modifications. They are not necessary. They are for people who really want to be able to go as far as they could possibly take it and see what their current biochemistry is.

[01:23:54] So, that's the lab part of it and testing part of it, and then also to know their genes. So, we map out their genomic data and we give them very high level tweaks based on their unique genome, because we have our own genome and we have the genome that we're always going to have. So, that never changes. So, I'm like you and I go to that level, but it's not necessary to go to that level to have your super baby, whether you're experiencing fertility challenges or you're doing your primemestering to optimize.

[01:24:36] Luke Storey: So, essentially, if you're someone that's not intrigued by or interested in knowing all the details, or you're someone that could potentially get freaked out and that would actually damage your chances of having a super baby, you could just jump right in to doing all the right stuff, basically, and have the same outcome.

[01:24:54] Dr. Cleopatra Kamperveen: Yes, exactly.

[01:24:55] Luke Storey: So, would the right stuff include just, hey, let's just do a solid detox, or let's just take probiotics, even though we haven't looked at the gut, or do we do a parasite cleanse, or like what are the kind of foundational things that one would do at the outset to start preparing for that?

[01:25:13] Dr. Cleopatra Kamperveen: So, you're like a dream to work with because of your questioning and because of your knowledge. So, one of the things that we teach people is that our microbiome is our second genome. And so, it is so critically important for our fertility and for the epigenetic foundation that we're passing on to our super babies and our super grand babies, it's one of the reasons why a vaginal birth is ideal, because a lot of our microbiome is picked up not only in utero and in the primemester. 

[01:25:54] But also, in the act of going through the birth canal. And a lot of that is missed in a cesarean birth. Now, if someone needs—if there hadn't been such thing as C-section, I wouldn't be alive today, because I would have died with my mother, my twin sister and I would have died with our mother. And so, when we hear like C-section is bad and vaginal birth is good, we have to remember, it depends, right?

[01:26:23] Like we were saying, there are all these gray areas, but what we do know is that if we can go through the birth canal, we want to, because it's actually really good for our second genome, our microbiome and has long-term lifelong health implications. We know that babies born via C-section are more likely to have a number of different health conditions as adults, including more likely to be obese. And we think that it has to do with the lack of exposure to the microbiome, at least partly due to that. So, I just wanted to point that out.

[01:27:05] Luke Storey: Yeah. And also, for those listening that end up having C-sections, now, many doctors know that you can swab the vaginal canal, and then inoculate essentially and seed the biome of a baby, which is huge. I mean, imagine how many babies were born—my two brothers were born C-section. I doubt, at that time, they were like, oh, hang on, let's swab the baby.

[01:27:28] Dr. Cleopatra Kamperveen: They didn't, and most still don't, but that's something that you can request or basically do yourself. And the same thing happens when we nurse and when we not only breastfeed, because you can pump milk and feed from a bottle, which if that's the only way you can do it, because your baby can't latch or you're at work, then that's perfect, too. But there's an additional benefit of the baby actually being on the breast to the microbiome.

[01:28:00] There are also other benefits, including brain development and crossing the hemispheres, which is one of the reasons why, even if you aren't able to breastfeed your baby, you want to make sure you don't always feed on the same side, which we tend to do, because we have a dominant hand, but you want to make sure to alternate the side you're feeding your baby on just like you would if you were breastfeeding. And even when breastfeeding, you might find that you have a breast that is like the producer breast, which is the one that provides most of the food and the other one is kind of more like the pacifier, it doesn't have as much milk. So, when your baby's hungry, you might tend to put your baby on the one that's more of the producer side, but you want to remember to alternate.

[01:28:53] Luke Storey: That's really interesting. Yeah, I didn't know that. So, with the microbiome, if the mother lacks biodiversity, and she has a finite number of strains of bacteria, and say, the baby's born naturally vaginal birth, that baby's immune system and whole biome is only going to be seeded with whatever diversity the mother has. That's right. So, is a good idea for the mother to be increasing diversity by eating probiotics, and fermented foods, and resistant starch or whatever they're doing to like really get a robust gut life going on?

[01:29:34] Dr. Cleopatra Kamperveen: 100%. So, one of the things we focus on in the primemester is increasing the richness and diversity of the microbiome. And for that purpose, for the sake of our fertility, we consider digestion to be the mother of fertility. So, nobody ever talks about that. No one ever says you've been having difficulty getting and/or staying pregnant. How's your digestion? That's a huge area of focus for us. So, we focus on it for overcoming fertility challenges, but we also focus on it for the sake of making our super babies, right? So, we have what we call the fertile food pyramid. It's very different from the standard food pyramid, as you can imagine.

[01:30:20] Luke Storey: I hope so.

[01:30:20] Dr. Cleopatra Kamperveen: Yes.

[01:30:22] Luke Storey: That's what got us here in the first place, that damn food pyramid.

[01:30:24] Dr. Cleopatra Kamperveen: Exactly. Well, that is so true. So, today, we have these epidemics of obesity, metabolic dysfunction, type two diabetes, type three diabetes, which is Alzheimer's. And in my work, I've shown that there's a type F diabetes, F for fertility, the same underlying constellation of root causes and symptoms that show up as type three diabetes or type two diabetes in around the fourth decade of life and type three diabetes around the sixth decade of life already starts showing up as fertility challenges, as early as the teens, but at least in the second and third decades of life, they all have the same root causes.

[01:31:16] Luke Storey: Does this have to do with insulin resistance and that whole thing?

[01:31:18] Dr. Cleopatra Kamperveen: Yes, absolutely. And so, that's a part of it, and it's a big part of it. So, that's another piece of the primemester protocol is ensuring the stabilization of blood sugar and insulin, increasing insulin sensitivity, decreasing insulin resistance. All of this is a part of it. And so, you talked about how the standard food pyramid got us here and it is true that these epidemics were set in motion decades ago, in our parents' primemester, in our grandparents' primemester, and they will continue and continue to worsen just like what we've seen for type F diabetes fertility challenges and what scientists predict for fertility challenges, which is some scientists predict that within 30 years, the vast majority of couples will need some form of intervention in order to be able to get pregnant.

[01:32:21] That's crazy. And so, it is our opportunity to intercept these processes that were set in motion, and we have so much power to do that during that magical, and malleable, and powerful window of opportunity that is the primemester, whether we're expecting to have fertility challenges or not, I wouldn't get pregnant without primemestering, because I understand what it means not just for my own longevity, but for that of my children and my grandchildren.

[01:32:57] And I want to make sure that I leave the most positive imprint on their genome, on their epigenome, and also, on this planet that I possibly can. So, yes, that was a long way of saying yes. We are really focused on the microbiome and on increasing the richness and diversity through the use of the fertile food pyramid. So, that does include things like eating leafy greens. That includes eating probiotic foods. 

[01:33:31] That includes eating prebiotic foods, resistant starches are among them. That includes supplementing with different strains of prebiotics. If we're okay with testing, then we do the Prime Labs, and we do a DNA-based stool test, and other kinds of testing to see what kinds of strains are plentiful, what kinds of strains are lacking so that we can be really targeted in the strains of friendly bacteria that we're introducing, because these things really matter.

[01:34:09] Luke Storey: Wow. Badass.

[01:34:10] Dr. Cleopatra Kamperveen: Yeah, it's fun. It's awesome.

[01:34:12] Luke Storey: What about the mitochondria? As I understand, mitochondria is passed down on the maternal side, just from mom, from grandma, et cetera.

[01:34:19] Dr. Cleopatra Kamperveen: You're absolutely right.

[01:34:23] Luke Storey: Up the line. If the mother's mitochondrial function is in less than optimal shape, is what you do in the primemester, is that built into repairing that or at least getting that to the most optimal levels so that that baby then has the most robust mitochondria it can?

[01:34:45] Dr. Cleopatra Kamperveen: So good. So good. This is so important. So, this is a huge focus of the primemester protocol, along with boosting DNA repair, cellular repair, autophagy. All of these things are really important. So, we know that the mitochondria are passed down from the mom. We know that the mitochondria are the powerhouses of the cell, and it's really important, especially if we're experiencing fertility challenges that we do everything that we can to boost our mitochondrial function.

[01:35:18] And in both people, providing DNA for our super babies, but especially in the mamas, this is hugely important. We want to do this to overcome fertility challenges. We want to do this to overcome reproductive aging, to help to slow and reverse reproductive aging just in the same way we would want to do this to help to slow and reverse our aging process, right?

[01:35:43] If we think of the mitochondria as like our cellphone battery, and when our cell phone is new, and we plug it in, and it charges all the way up really quickly, and the charge lasts a long time, and as our phone gets older and older, we see that it doesn't charge as quickly, it doesn't hold the charge for as long, a similar process occurs in the human aging process. And so, we want to do everything that we can to be supporting our mitochondrial function for the sake of having that tremendous amount of resources that we need to have to funnel to getting, and staying pregnant, and then, also, to growing, and birthing, and breastfeeding, and sustaining another human being. It's critically important.

[01:36:37] Luke Storey: Is mitochondrial dysfunction one of the common root causes of fertility issues?

[01:36:43] Dr. Cleopatra Kamperveen: I would say so. I mean, I think of this as a little bit of a controversial statement in the sense that the data are clear, that this is an important aspect of our reproductive function and reproductive health, but it's not easy to assess mitochondrial function in the average person. So, to be able to say to someone, your fertility challenges are likely due to poor mitochondrial function, that's a hard thing to be able to say. What's not hard to say is that if we can do everything that we can to optimize mitochondrial function, that is going to be supportive and beneficial for your fertility,

[01:37:27] Luke Storey: Got it. Makes sense. Going back to the very beginning of the conversation, where we were talking about the way that we've done things thus far, pre-industrial revolution or even agricultural revolution. Everyone was doing great. Some babies died. Some moms died. But we didn't need all these interventions. But we live in a different time now. One of the things about our modern world that it seems to be so mismatched to our biology, well, there are two, really, they're kind of in the same category, but one ,and I'm sure my audience knows what I'm going to say, drum roll, EMFs.

[01:38:03] Dr. Cleopatra Kamperveen: I was going to say, I think I know

[01:38:05] Luke Storey: I mean, to me, it's always the elephant in the room. Everyone's arguing about whether we should eat legumes or not. I'm like, dude, you're sleeping next to a Wi-Fi router, like eat whatever. And also, blue light, non-native light, another form of EMF, really. So, for the first time ever, over the past couple of hundred years, I guess with the advent of electricity, and now, all of the things, we're not living in an energetically natural environment, it's extremely non-native and unnatural. What impact do you think this has? Like say, a mother's circadian biology, right? She's watching TV until 2:00 in the morning under bright lights. I'm not talking about Alyson. She goes to bed early like a normal person. I'm the one up late at night with my red glasses on. But you know what I'm saying?

[01:38:52] Dr. Cleopatra Kamperveen: Totally.

[01:38:52] Luke Storey: So, that woman's gut biome, mitochondria, everything's going to be jacked up, because of circadian biology mismatch. We're not living with the Sun, let's just say it like that, right?

[01:39:03] Dr. Cleopatra Kamperveen: 100%.

[01:39:03] Luke Storey: So, would it be supportive for a mother in the primemester or during pregnancy to follow circadian biology and mimic the sun by going to bed at a certain time, waking up, or blocking blue light in their life? And what about the exposure of EMF of someone living next to a cell tower or working in an office full of Wi-Fi routers, et cetera, or keeping their cell phone in their bra or whatever? You know what I mean?

[01:39:30] Dr. Cleopatra Kamperveen: Yes.

[01:39:30] Luke Storey: I might see women do that, I'm like, don't say anything, Luke. They didn't ask your opinion. So, my moral conflict, I'm in Home Depot going like, oh, my God, she's pregnant, and like I can see her cell phone right in her hip pocket, like shut up, not in your business, it's their karma. So, what's your take on kind of the blue light and EMF things as a potential way to improve the success?

[01:39:53] Dr. Cleopatra Kamperveen: This is a huge part of the mismatch between our modern world and our reproductive biology. And I've actually written an article for Mind Body Green about this, and I talk about how sperm count has declined by more than 50% in the developed world. We don't have enough data on the developing world to say, for sure, if it applies there, and this is, in the past four decades, sperm count has declined by more than 50% in the developed world.

[01:40:26] And we don't know for sure what accounts for that, but the suspects are these things that have to do with this mismatch between our modern world and our reproductive biology. It's really important to take data in context, because it's easy to sensationalize data. It's easy to use them in the wrong way. It's easy to blow them out of proportion. It's easy to not look at them in a very nuanced way.

[01:40:57] In the same way that I said, yes, there are all these statistics out there, one in eight couples experience "infertility", 16% of couples are using some form of assisted reproduction or medical intervention for fertility, but you have to look at data in a careful and nuanced way, which is how I can tell you that approximately 3% of people are truly sterile or truly infertile.

[01:41:27] I want to use that same nuance, and careful, and objective lens when we talk about what we're seeing in terms of these drastic declines in male and female fertility. Male fertility in the last 40 years and female fertility in about the last 60 years. And what I want people to know is that even with this huge and rapid decline, this decline of 50% and over 50% in four decades, sperm count is still within normal range, according to the World Health Organization. Now, a couple of things to take this nuanced view even further.

[01:42:09] Number one, this is in the general population. This is not in the population of people experiencing fertility challenges, so that has to be a massive wake up call for us. Number two, if that rate of decline continued, the average sperm count would very quickly fall out of normal range. So, I just want to make sure that we contextualize all of this, because it's really easy to sensationalize a statistic like that, and I don't want people to hear that and be so afraid, and yet I want people to hear that and understand, this is important to stop and pay attention, too, that this is happening.

[01:42:50] Luke Storey: And the distinction between correlation and causation, too, right? 

[01:42:55] Dr. Cleopatra Kamperveen: 100%.

[01:42:55] Luke Storey: Because I can look at data and be like, oh, fertility went down or sperm count went down in men on such and such date. That's when cellphones came out, right?

[01:43:04] Dr. Cleopatra Kamperveen: Yes.

[01:43:04] Luke Storey: And maybe there's a correlation, but you can't unequivocally prove, in many cases, that it was causation, like you can point to that as being the thing, right? It's, oftentimes, many contributing factors and a cascade of consequences that come after that we're really at the root cause.

[01:43:22] Dr. Cleopatra Kamperveen: 100%. And that's exactly why I said that we don't know, for sure, what the cause is, because in order to have true causation, to be able to say this X causes Y, you have to conduct a true experiment, including random assignment. What that means is you would have to randomly assign some men to being exposed to blue light all day long and some men to not, and see if there was a difference in their sperm count.

[01:43:57] You'd have to randomly assigned men to living next to a cell tower and men to completely living off the grid in a way, and see the difference. In the absence of that, you can't say that one thing causes another. What you can say is there does seem to be a correlation that as one goes up, the other goes up, or as one goes up, the other goes down. And so, we believe that these factors are related to this change, but we can't say that for sure.

[01:44:30] And I will say that EMF, there's not a lot of research. We do think that cellphone usage and especially proximity to the male reproductive organs when guys carry their phones around in their pockets is part of what's contributing to declines in sperm count, but we don't know that for sure. And there aren't really studies on EMFs and fertility. This is not something that is well-studied.

[01:45:06] I would say in the scientific world, this is probably considered very controversial, and the way that we treat this in the primemester protocol is that it cannot hurt to protect yourself as much as possible. We just don't know. We know that this is one of the changes that has co-occurred or coincided with these changes in fertility. And so, we want to protect ourselves to the extent possible.

[01:45:38] I will say that I'm a scientist and there's not enough data to turn to, to be able to say anything definitively. And when I see my children put a device on their bodies, I completely freak out. Like the rule is if you're going to be on a device, it is not on your body. Like I do not want to see my precious human beings, who are carrying other precious human beings with them already in their ovaries and their testicles, I do not want to see them having devices on their bodies. And if it were up to me, I would love for them to not ever be on devices. And so, I will say that.

[01:46:26] Now, light, that's a different story. It's very clear, the circadian rhythm has been grossly disrupted by our exposure to all these different lights, to blue lights, to being on devices. We know that melatonin plays a very important role in our fertility and that melatonin is disrupted by these exposures. And so, as much as possible, we want people to live, and eat, and sleep in accordance with their circadian rhythm. That is going to always be so huge for fertility and also for longevity. I mean, not sleeping and being exposed to light is, you could be eating beautifully and your blood sugar is going to be all over the place.

[01:47:21] And we know that blood sugar has a direct impact on fertility, has a direct impact on egg quality and our hormonal balance. I mean, we cannot get around this. We cannot exercise our way out of this. We cannot green juice our way out of this. This is really serious. We cannot IVF our way out of this, by the way. And I think this is a really important thing to say. I was born in the year that the first IVF baby was born, which I think is so appropriate, because I think IVF is one of the most important advances of the last half century.

[01:47:59] Most people assume that because we have a protocol that doesn't require medical intervention, doesn't require testing, if you don't want it, you can have it. If you want to know what your genomic data are, we're the nerds who will give it to you and tell you exactly what your genome says you should eat so that you have the best epigenome and exactly what your hormones need based on your genes. We can give you all that, but you don't have to have it to have amazing ignited fertility even in your 40s, and you don't need to have it in order to have your super baby. I like it. I think it's awesome. I've done it for my super babies, because I'm optimizing as much as I can for their life. I did it before when I primemester.

[01:48:48] I did it in pregnancy and I'm doing it as I'm raising them. You don't have to have it, but it's really important to know that we have this power to continue to shape our epigenome. And again, that the expression of our genes impacts our fertility in the immediate sense, but also is inherited across generations. And so, when it comes to something like deciding whether you're going to use medical intervention, you're going to use IVF, or you're going to conceive naturally, most people would assume that because we can do everything that we do naturally, that we're not supportive of IVF, and that's actually not true.

[01:49:39] There are many people who benefit from doing IVF, and there are a lot of things that are really amazing about doing IVF. For example, I keep telling my hubby like, maybe we'll decide to have another wave of super babies in 10 to 15 years. Well, even with my amazing fertility, I'm not going to count on being able to conceive naturally in 10 to 15 years. I might be able to. I don't know.

[01:50:07] The oldest verified natural conception was to a 59-year-old woman, and I don't see any reason why I can't do that, but if I'm serious about that goal, about that desire, I won't leave that to chance. If he buys into it, which he thinks I'm completely crazy, because in 20 years, he'll be 70 years old, and he's like, I'm not going to be like waking up at night with an infant, I want to just be like chilling somewhere.

[01:50:35] But I also think like, what's more fun, more meaningful, more awesome than raising these amazing humans? Like to me, there's nothing better in the world. So, if I want to do that, then what I'm going to do is go and freeze embryos for later so that we have that option to have another wave of super babies in 10 to 15 years. That wouldn't be possible without IVF. And there are a lot of people who have diminished ovarian reserve.

[01:51:06] We work with them to be able to bring their ovarian reserve, their AMH level up, their egg quality, improve it. And I say, what size family do you want to have? It might be a good idea to freeze embryos now so that you don't have to rush and have your children back to back, which comes with its own set of potential issues. Take your time so that you're physiologically healed, you're psychologically ready, and then you can space your children how you want to.

[01:51:39] So, there are many reasons why I think that IVF is an amazing option for people, and I'm so thankful that it exists. And I think that people have the belief that if they are going to use IVF, either because they've been told they have to or because they want to, for whatever reason, they want to test their embryos and make sure they end up with a healthy baby or whatever it may be, they think that IVF is the solution, and I always say, you cannot outsource your fertility.

[01:52:14] That is your work to do in the primemester. Because even if you're going to use IVF, all IVF can do is prompt your body to produce as many eggs as possible, and then go in and retrieve all of those eggs, fertilize them, and then put them in the right conditions to develop. But if none of those eggs are healthy, if none of those eggs fertilize, if none of those fertilized eggs become embryos, if none of those embryos test as being chromosomally normal, you're left with nothing.

[01:52:52] You won't be able to transfer anything. There's no baby there. IVF cannot give you a chromosomally normal embryo. It can just make sure you don't transfer any embryos that are not chromosomally normal. That's our work to do in the primemester. I get a lot of people who come, and they have resources, and they just want to let the money take care of it, but that's not how fertility works, just like that's not how longevity works.

[01:53:23] So, just like I said, we can't green juice our way out of not living in accordance with our circadian rhythm. We cannot green juice or even IVF our way out of having to do the work to make sure that our raw material, our eggs, and our sperm, and also, our uterus are as healthy as they possibly can be. That's our work to do. It will always be, no matter how plentiful our resource is.

[01:53:51] Luke Storey: Wow. Good information. I do nothing about any of that, so I was just like, okay, I'm learning a lot today.

[01:53:58] Dr. Cleopatra Kamperveen: Let's do a check-in with this beautiful mama here?

[01:54:00] Alyson Charles: I'm just learning and I want to—especially because it's his show and-

[01:54:06] Luke Storey: It's our show, dear. Please chime in.

[01:54:09] Dr. Cleopatra Kamperveen: This so exciting for me to be here with the two of you.

[01:54:12] Alyson Charles: Yeah, he nerds out on mitochondrial stuff, and I like to learn, everything you said is new information, so I'm definitely receiving, but in my mind, I'm like, let's talk about sex rituals, let's talk about ceremonial tantric.

[01:54:34] Luke Storey: Let's do.

[01:54:35] Dr. Cleopatra Kamperveen: Let's do it.

[01:54:35] Luke Storey: I'm right there with you, because I was like reviewing my notes, my God, is there anything that I really, really wanted to cover in here? And then, I got to, where was it? I was like, what are your thoughts around conscious conception? 

[01:54:46] Alyson Charles: Yeah, I love it.

[01:54:47] Luke Storey: Mine was a bit more tame than Alyson's like, how do you have the hot tantric super baby?

[01:54:53] Alyson Charles: Yeah.

[01:54:54] Luke Storey: But it's a really good point. I mean, I think for most of my life, I didn't find the spiritual value in sexuality, and definitely never thought of it like, oh, maybe the whole point of this is to usher in the highest soul possible by the degree of love that you're sharing with the person you're conceiving with. I mean, those are all very new concepts, but as I've evolved over the past few years, hopefully, I'm still evolving, I see that as, maybe as Alyson, too, to some degree, as a mysterious part of it, and kind of like, oh, yeah, there's that part, because I'm kind of jumping into this stuff we've already talked about and there's just such a vast amount of wisdom there to get a grip on. But yeah, what about the actual energetics of the time you have sex when you conceive? How do we make that more meaningful, special, amazing, magic, and epic in every way?

[01:55:50] Dr. Cleopatra Kamperveen: I love this question so much. So, first of all, in other languages, there are sayings to the effect of when you see someone and they're remarkable in some way, especially if they're remarkably beautiful, just because that's the thing that we can see, that you say, wow, your parents must have really been in love when they made you. And I think that we have this understanding that that matters a lot, that how much we love each other when we're creating our children really becomes reflected in their soul in some way.

[01:56:30] And I think a lot about how—it's interesting because I've listened to you say how in love you are with this beautiful human being. And wow, she's easy to be in love with. I mean, I can so feel that the moment I saw her today and how being that in love with her was the thing that made you want to have a child. I think if I'm remembering that correctly, that you didn't necessarily want to have a child before and it was in falling in love that you wanted to have a child.

[01:57:09] And I had kind of the opposite experience. I'm like obsessed with super babies. I have been all of my life, like since I can remember, literally, since the age of five or six, I've known that reproduction is the most important thing in the world. And I waited a long time, because I was in it. I was doing the work. I wasn't out dating and having fun in the same way that most young people are. I was in the lab doing the research and applying it in the world. 

[01:57:47] And I used to go to Mexico for vacation by myself every year. I started doing that when I was in grad school. And I would end up at these resorts where I was the only single person, and it's all couples and families, and I would look around, and I would think. I want that. I feel I'm supposed to want that, and I do, I really want that, I want to have children, I want to have a family, but that doesn't look very fun. They just don't look like they're having that much fun together.

[01:58:23] Luke Storey: And I didn't necessarily mean the children, but I meant the couple. And so, I always wanted to get married, because I wanted to have a family, but I wasn't totally convinced that the partnership part was very fun. I thought that it looked like—I have an example of it. My dad was single and he was very popular with the ladies, let's just put it that way. And so, I felt that it looked a little bit suffocating. It didn't look joyful. And so, I was excited to have a family, but I wasn't that excited about the marriage part of it.

[01:59:10] Dr. Cleopatra Kamperveen: But I was going to get married to have my family. And when I met my hubby, I knew he was the person, because I wanted to hang out with him just to be with him. It wasn't that I wanted to be with him to have children. I would have wanted to hang out with him even if we weren't having children. And that's how I knew that he was the person to have my family with, that he was the person to spend my life with, and I'm so thankful I made the right choice.

[01:59:41] I mean, raising a child, raising children, raising a family with someone whom you love being with and whom you really like is a revelation. And I get a very up close and personal view of what it's like to raise children with someone who you don't get along with very well through the work that I do, and it's not fun. It's really hard. So, I think that that is so huge.

[02:00:07] So, this saying, I think it does reflect reality to some degree, that the love, and friendship, and kindness, and desire between two people does seem to become reflected in the souls of their children. And when I look at my super babies, the thing that dawns on me is that I knew that this partnership was life changing for me, but I didn't realize that my partnership with my husband would be life changing for the world, because we would bring these amazing humans into the world, who would do such amazing things in the world and be such an amazing presence in the world.

[02:00:55] And they are. And that's really powerful to see your love ripple out in that way. And it feels really, really good. And it shows you how our love, and conception, our fertility, and our families are so deeply personal, but they are so deeply communal as well. And so, I think that that is very powerful. So, getting into like, what do we do? So, I think I had never really thought about ritual as being part of the primemester protocol, and yet it's only a difference in language. 

[02:01:34] Because so much of what we do in the primemester is ritual, the ritual for how we take care of our mouths, because of how connected our mouths are to our reproductive organs, especially as women, our uterus, and our vulva, and our vagina, and the way there are rituals around our digestion, because of the microbiome being the second genome, and because when we can't process and extract nutrients, and we have all of these nutritional deficiencies despite having plenty of body fat or being outside of the fertile zone and BMI, which is the thing. There is a fertile zone for BMI, and being below it and above it makes it harder to get and stay pregnant, especially being below it even more than being above it.

[02:02:25] So, we have all of these rituals, but I would say that there are two rituals that I would really love to highlight. And then, there's like a family ritual that I would love to highlight from the primemester protocol. So, the first is one of the foundational things that I love to do with a couple when I first start working with them or when they start their primemester, which is to get quiet and listen to their own truth by asking them to each independently write down the answer to three questions.

[02:03:03] And we don't share the answers until the end, because we don't want the answers of one person to influence the answers of the other. So, the first question is, what is it that I need right now in order to be able to have my super baby? The second question is, what is it that my partner needs right now in order for us to be able to have our super baby? The third question is, what is it that our super baby needs from us right now in order to join us? And I don't know if either of you wants to share maybe something that came up for you, but what I know for a fact now after 25 years, and thousands and thousands of people, is that the kinds of things—does anybody want to share something or should I keep going?

[02:04:37] Luke Storey: Of the inquiry?

[02:04:40] Dr. Cleopatra Kamperveen: Mm-hmm.

[02:04:43] Luke Storey: Yeah. When I thought about what Alyson needs, immediately came to rest, safety, feminine energy, and fluidity, and just freedom to just be and chill.

[02:05:02] Dr. Cleopatra Kamperveen: Yes. So good. And did you have anything in your answer for yourself that overlapped with Luke?

[02:05:12] Alyson Charles: I mean, yeah, I guess it was around, yeah, nourishment, and yeah, nest energy. And the same answer that came in for both myself and when I was asking what Luke needed, so we need to get into our home. We've been renovating and like, I mean, that's just an obvious given, is that I think for both of us, until we get into our actual house, and the renovations are done, and we can truly put some roots down, I don't think either one of us feel energetically, physically, mentally, emotionally ready to really activate this next step. So, the home thing, yeah, and him just getting some of the business stuff squared away and like my answers for him went more into like the financial business security, whereas I guess his answer for mine went more into like the feminine flow security, that I know I'm safe to be in that space for myself.

[02:06:27] Dr. Cleopatra Kamperveen: I love this so much, because that's why I asked if you wanted to share it, because I knew you were going to say the words I was going to say, because the words that come up almost without fail are things like safety, security, rest, play, fun, deeper connection. And it's not a surprise, because remember, the most fundamental aspect of our fertility, which nobody ever tells us about or talks about is that our brain, and body, and seventh sense are super babies who we're carrying around with us, register security, and safety, and sufficient resources.

[02:07:14] And so, these are always among the things that we need. And it's not uncommon to hear the male or male energy in the relationship if it's a same sex couple or a non-binary couple, whatever it may be, that the security is more about getting finances in order and feeling like the business is where it needs to be, and for the more feminine energy about having a sense of like being able to rest, not having to hold everything, not having to take care of everything, feeling safe in your physical space, feeling safe in your intimacy.

[02:07:56] And then, also, especially when there are fertility challenges present, where connection and sex has become so mechanical for the outcome of the baby, that to feel that deep spiritual connection in intimacy, and in sex, what you were talking about, that evolution for you, and feeling a sense of fun, and play, and excitement, like when you first started dating and when it was new to be with each other, right? And so, that didn't come up for you all, because that's not relevant to you, but this is something that comes up frequently in our couples who have been—we work with couples who have been trying to get pregnant for months, years, a decade, up to two decades.

[02:08:48] So, in that case, they feel like they've been having a lot of sex, and it's become really mechanical and goal-oriented, and it's not for the experience of connecting with one another. So, I would say that that is a foundational ritual. And then, when it comes to sex, that we know that, historically, it was believed that female orgasm was necessary for conception. So, we all know that sperm are necessary for conception.

[02:09:26] And so, essentially, male orgasm that lead to the release of sperm are needed for conception. It's unfortunate, we no longer believe that female orgasm is needed for conception, because there's not nearly as much of a focus on female orgasm. And it's true also in the scientific literature, it's not something that's given priority to be studied, but we know that there are a number of things that happen with female orgasm. One of the things is that our most important fertility organ, our brain, becomes deactivated in good ways. During orgasm is the only time that the social judgment part of the brain goes quiet in women, which if you think about it, that is completely exhausting.

[02:10:16] Luke Storey: Wow. Is that true?

[02:10:16] Dr. Cleopatra Kamperveen: It's completely exhausting that we're constantly walking around as females, judging ourselves, judging other people, judging the world around us. It's exhausting. I mean, I think we're known for being the most non-judgmental space in the world, our FPI village, I think of that as a reflection of me, but even I, I'm sure, if they hooked me up would find that as well. So, that's number one.

[02:10:46] Also, the other parts of the brain that go quiet are the parts that are involved in our internal alarm system, the amygdala that's involved in our fight or flight. So, that's one thing, the things that happen in the brain. But then, there are things that happen down below as well. For example, when women have orgasms, it creates these very strong uterine contractions, which women may or may not be aware of. If you're really connected to your body, you probably feel these uterine contractions that happen with orgasm. There are some women who are really disconnected from their core and from their pleasure, and they don't feel that and they're not aware of it.

[02:11:30] But whether we feel it or not, it's happening. And so, I talked earlier about cervical fluid, and there's a type of cervical fluid that happens when we are most fertile and it looks like the consistency of raw egg whites. And it serves a number of functions, including that if you look at it under a microscope, it has this arborization pattern, which is like a ferning pattern. And this pattern essentially creates these microscopic superhighways that the sperm can travel along, and it facilitates the really long journey that the sperm has to make to the egg.

[02:12:11] That journey is like going to another continent. And so, these microscopic superhighways help the sperm to make that journey more easily, which is why when we have more of that fertile cervical fluid, it's easier for the sperm to make the journey to the egg. Well, when we have these uterine contractions, they may help. We don't know this for scientific fact. So, one of the things that's so important about this fertile cervical fluid is that it helps to propel the sperm forward toward the egg.

[02:12:47] And when we have these uterine contractions, when we experience orgasm as women, we don't know this for scientific fact, but we believe that it helps to propel the sperm forward on those microscopic superhighways created by our fertile cervical fluid. And there is a small study that shows that women who orgasm regularly during heterosexual intercourse get pregnant more quickly. Now, one thing that's really important to note is that a lot of women don't orgasm during heterosexual intercourse, because most women orgasm and orgasm most strongly from the clitoris.

[02:13:31] And depending on how your unique body is, the clitoris for many women is too far from the vaginal opening to be activated during or engaged during heterosexual intercourse. So, a lot of women don't orgasm during heterosexual intercourse, and they've been taught that they should, that there's something wrong with them if they don't, and actually, it's just the way that our bodies are designed, the women who tend to have a clitoris that's closer to the vaginal opening.

[02:14:07] So, one of the things that we love to encourage, because our physical pleasure and specifically orgasm is our most direct pathway out of fight or flight, and sympathetic activation, and into our parasympathetic, which is where our rest, and digest, and reproduction occurs, is to have as many orgasms as you love and to not worry about them happening during intercourse, but to actually use them proactively after intercourse while you're in this 30 minute resting period that we love for you to have while you're just chilling out, maybe your legs are up on the wall or however you're comfortable, so that you're letting gravity work for you.

[02:14:58] And then, you also are experiencing all of these delicious orgasms that are helping to propel the sperm forward on your microscopic superhighways created by your fertile cervical fluid, however that's comfortable for you. So, every woman is different. Some women are really uncomfortable with their own physical bodies and their own physical pleasure, and they don't want anyone there, so they want to have orgasms by themselves, or maybe they're so uncomfortable with that, so they want their partner there. However it's comfortable for you, for an individual woman, that's what we recommend. We support you really diving into and pouring into your own physical pleasure, and that is such a beautiful energy from which to make our super babies.

[02:15:53] Alyson Charles: This sounds like fun. I'm ready to go.

[02:15:56] Dr. Cleopatra Kamperveen: Alright. I love it.

[02:15:57] Alyson Charles: I'm ferning already. I can feel the ferning happening.

[02:16:01] Luke Storey: I love that that's kind of the closing topic is Alyson and all the ladies listening need more orgasms.

[02:16:08] Alyson Charles: Yeah.

[02:16:09] Dr. Cleopatra Kamperveen: Yes, 100%.

[02:16:10] Luke Storey: I support this cause.

[02:16:12] Dr. Cleopatra Kamperveen: It's also great for immune function, detoxification, like everything, all the good stuff. We want you to have more orgasms and to feel really like you're worthy of them and comfortable with your own body that God gave you.

[02:16:30] Alyson Charles: I love it. That's a really good tip. Thank you. Do you have one more quick one or like there was a family one that you were going to mention?

[02:16:39] Dr. Cleopatra Kamperveen: Yes. So, the third ritual, and I'd love to leave you with this, is that as a family, you create a family vision. So, this is something that my husband and I started doing in our first year of marriage, and now, every year, we do a workshop, a free workshop, just as a service to encourage all of our families to do it. And in that workshop, we do two parts. We create a family vision board, and then we create a family vision blueprint, which is like a family vision statement, but it's very detailed.

[02:17:17] So, I highly recommend, especially when you're primemestering and you're making your super baby to come together and to create a physical representation of the family you're becoming. Who's there? The two of you and your super baby or your complete family is four super babies like mine is, then you're all there. Where are you living? What's your environment like? What are your days like?

[02:17:45] And having a document that is very detailed and specific, and speaks into all of the senses, because the more it calls in all of the senses, the more real it is. And I jump on a rebounder every day, which is another thing we love to do for the lymph and other things in the semester protocol, and I have read that family vision statement or blueprint, and I listen to myself reading it while I'm doing that so that it's like really becoming embedded in my cells and in my DNA.

[02:18:23] So, I would love to see you all create your family vision board for your super baby. And then, even once your super baby is here, have the ritual every year of creating a family vision board together, and as they get older, they can start to contribute to the things they want to be on it, our super babies do now, too. And it's so powerful. And I know you guys are incredible manifesters, because you've manifested a beautiful life that is very intentional and deliberate.

[02:18:55] So, I know you would be doing this in your way already. And what I see for us is that every year, we achieve more and more of what's on that family vision board. Our life looks more and more like what we have set out for ourselves. And it's powerful. It's powerful to show your children at such an early age that they can do that. Everything that we create, including our super babies, we create three times. We create first in our thoughts, then in our words, and then in our reality.

[02:19:32] And so, you're doing this ritual so that you're teaching them that, you're bringing them in through that and teaching them that it's been so powerful for us. And I would say in terms of my relationship with my hubby, it ensures that we have a shared vision for our family and ourselves every year, and that we're growing in the same direction and at the same pace. We would always grow in the same direction, but one of us has to stop and think a little bit longer than the other. I'm like, let's go, and he's still thinking about it. I'm like, I'm down the road, so I think that that has been so vital, and ensuring that we are growing and evolving at the same pace. It's really beautiful.

[02:20:16] Luke Storey: Wow. Love that.

[02:20:17] Alyson Charles: Yeah, I'm open to all of that and I'm excited. And I'm also glad that I decided to officially be a part of this conversation. And thank you for creating such a beautiful, inviting, safe, sacred space to talk about all of this. It's really beautiful voyage for me, and I learned a lot. I feel more prepared.

[02:20:43] Luke Storey: So did I. Thank you for coming and I hope that everyone in the audience did. So, for those listening, know that you can get the show notes for everything we talked about here at lukestorey.com/cleopatra, lukestorey.com/cleopatra. I'm starting to do that these days, because people often message me like, where can I find that one episode? So, I think if I tell people where they can find it, now listening, for those that are still with us, two-plus hours in, where I always say at the end of the show, if you're still listening, man, you're a die hard, I love you, this show is for you, because I could go forever. Honestly, like if someone brought a burger in here, I'd be like, let's go another two hours.

[02:21:20] Dr. Cleopatra Kamperveen: I'm with you. I can talk about this for, I mean, a dream.

[02:21:20] Luke Storey: Yeah. Well, thank you for your passion and I never got the sense that you're going looking at your watch, like when's this over? You're like, you can go hard, and I love people like that.

[02:21:34] Dr. Cleopatra Kamperveen: Totally, totally.

[02:21:35] Luke Storey: Yeah, thank you. And there are so many things, God, so many things I learned also just about you and your approach to work, like the bit with Gurmukh. Like going into that side of it, I would have not guessed that, which is really interesting. The one thing I want to ask, there are two things actually, one was you mentioned your second favorite book being The Red Tent. What's your first favorite book?

[02:21:54] Dr. Cleopatra Kamperveen: Number one is The Alchemist. And I had it in my purse the night I went on my first date with my hubby, Jair, and because I reread it at least once a year. And so, I was rereading it at that time, and he saw it in my purse, and he said, that's my favorite book, too. And so, when we decided to get married, I have a huge family, and I really wanted our wedding to be about us, so we decided to get married by ourselves, which is a big deal in Egyptian culture. It's like not done. And we planned our wedding moon, as we call it, our wedding and our honeymoon, and we followed the path of the boy, Santiago, in the book. So, we got married in Southern Spain, and then we went into Africa, and it was really magical.

[02:22:51] Alyson Charles: Wow.

[02:22:52] Luke Storey: That's epic.

[02:22:52] Alyson Charles: Yeah.

[02:22:52] Dr. Cleopatra Kamperveen: Yeah. 

[02:22:52] Luke Storey: That's so cool. I love that. We got to think of a book, babe. If we got to get married, too, that's the other thing. I was talking to someone the other day and they were asking about, when are you going to have a baby? When are you getting married? I was like, yeah, we're working out, we've got to get in this damn house. Like I'm just thinking, that's all I got in my mind. And then, this person goes, well, you're going to get married first, right?

[02:23:13] You don't want to have a bastard. And I was like, I mean, I just kind of think in a linear way. So, I thought, well, yeah, I get the house, get married, have a baby. But it was funny that it was put like that. And I thought, you know what, there is something—I don't know. For me inside, there is something to be said for, even though I don't know about like getting married according to the government of the United States of America, like not so much on the legal side, but just to-

[02:23:37] Dr. Cleopatra Kamperveen: The union.

[02:23:38] Luke Storey: Yeah.

[02:23:38] Alyson Charles: We have been spiritually married in a teepee, FYI, but legally, on paper.

[02:23:45] Luke Storey: But I mean, with family there and having the inclusion of our loved ones, essentially.

[02:23:49] Dr. Cleopatra Kamperveen: That's a big deal, and we didn't do that. I mean, I actually, purposefully didn't do that. And I think it lets people feel like—it leaves people feeling excluded, and we had the plan that we were going to renew our vows every year, and we'd have a party, and invite people. And we've been so busy having super babies, we haven't renewed our vows once, but I think we will soon. That's something that we're coming up on nine years and we'll probably do it next year. And your super baby will never be a bastard.

[02:24:22] There's no such thing as a baby being created so deliberately and intentionally, with so much loving care being—I mean, I also wanted to have a family within the context of marriage, which is why I said, like I always plan to get married for having the children, I just didn't know if the union part would be that fun. I'm very happy to say my union part gets to be amazing and it's reflected in the children. So, I understand that wanting to do the marriage, but I also think that your intentional way of being together and creating your super baby is so powerful. And if the party comes another day, that's fine, too.

[02:25:08] Luke Storey: Totally. Alright. My very last question is, and this is a quick one, who are three teachers or teachings that have influenced your work that you might share with us?

[02:25:18] Dr. Cleopatra Kamperveen: Oh, gosh. So, number one would be Gurmukh. She's been such an important teacher in my life. And I've had some of the world's best teachers, because I've been at some of the world's best institutions, so it would be really hard to narrow down academic teachers, but I would say that Dr. James Jackson, who really created the field of studying the health of people of color in the United States, and recently passed away, and was the mentor to generations of people, scientists of color, the world's best scientists of color, including myself. So, Gurmukh, Dr. James Jackson, and I would say the third person is probably Deepak Chopra.

[02:26:16] Luke Storey: Nice. Great. Well, thank you so much. I know you have a zillion websites and we'll put them on, because I've heard you say them, and I'm like, oh, my God, how am I going to remember that? Again, you guys can find the show notes for everything she's about to say at lukestorey.com/cleopatra.

[02:26:30] Alyson Charles: She looks like she's going to say something now.

[02:26:32] Dr. Cleopatra Kamperveen: We only have one website.

[02:26:33] Luke Storey: Oh, really?

[02:26:34] Dr. Cleopatra Kamperveen: Yeah, it's fertilitypregnancy.org.

[02:26:38] Luke Storey: Okay. Much easier than I thought.

[02:26:39] Dr. Cleopatra Kamperveen: I mean, you would find me on like USC and so many places, but-

[02:26:45] Luke Storey: You have one central place for people to go.

[02:26:47] Dr. Cleopatra Kamperveen: Exactly. Fertilitypregnancy.org, and we have an amazing checklist there to help people get started in their primemester. It's free. They can download it there. So, yes, visit fertilitypregnancy.org.

[02:27:02] Luke Storey: Okay. Cool. That's your whole hub. That's so easy.

[02:27:05] Dr. Cleopatra Kamperveen: Yes, exactly.

[02:27:05] Alyson Charles: Cookie's ready to be a big sister.

[02:27:08] Luke Storey: Yay, Cookie. 

[02:27:14] Dr. Cleopatra Kamperveen: You're so cute. Hi. Thank you.

[02:27:15] Luke Storey: She's been a good girl. This is a long day prepared, two back-to-back interviews.

[02:27:19] Dr. Cleopatra Kamperveen: Yeah.

[02:27:20] Alyson Charles: She's a good dog.

[02:27:20] Dr. Cleopatra Kamperveen: And she's been all chill and happy. Thank you. Oh, my goodness, I wish I had a video of this. My kids would be—so they've been asking for a dog so much lately. I think when we get to Portugal, we might get one, because they are really asking for one. Oh, my God if they saw this.

[02:27:38] Alyson Charles: She's a sweetie.

[02:27:39] Luke Storey: Puppies are the best. Luckily, we got a good mommy here. She brought Cookie's food. Otherwise, Cookie would not be stoked.

[02:27:47] Dr. Cleopatra Kamperveen: She would not have been happy sitting here. I know, Mama needs some food, too.

[02:27:49] Luke Storey: That's a wrap, ladies. Thank you so much.

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