For many couples, conceiving a child happens almost immediately, without much effort or planning. For others, it can be a monumental task, involving special dietary supplements, tests, timing, sexual positions and more in an attempt to increase fertility.
In order for a couple to be fertile, the female must produce a viable egg, and the male must produce sperm strong and healthy enough to be able to fertilize the egg. The rest is all in the timing. For both men and women, a number of factors play a role in determining fertility, such as nutrition, exercise and overall health.
Diet and Nutrition
Proper nutrition plays a vital role in fertility for both men and women, as a balanced diet can help maintain a healthy reproductive system and regulate hormones. A healthy diet also helps with weight control, yet another factor that affects fertility. Women who are underweight or overweight can find it more difficult to become pregnant as the production of sex hormones can be impacted by body fat levels.
Some dietary substances can have a negative effect on fertility and should be avoided, including alcohol, which can reduce a couple's fertility levels by as much as half, decrease sperm count and increase the likelihood of abnormal sperm production. Also, caffeine has been demonstrated to reduce fertility in both men and women.
Lastly, little known xenoestrogens, or estrogens which come from environmental chemicals, plastics and pesticides, can disturb hormonal balances when ingested. High levels of xenoestrogens may be present in produce and other products. Always wash produce carefully and avoid warming foods in plastic containers in the microwave.
Herbal remedies have been used to enhance fertility throughout the ages and can be very potent. Some herbs commonly used for fertility are the following:
Chasteberry -- Stimulates the pituitary gland, which produces sex hormones.
Dong Quai -- Improve implantation by balancing estrogen levels.
Red Raspberry Leaf -- Provides magnesium, calcium and iron to strengthen the uterus and can help ease leg cramps and morning sickness during pregnancy.
Nettle -- Provide iron, calcium and folic acid and support the adrenal and reproductive systems.
Damiana -- An aphrodisiac that also enhances fertility in both women and men, as well as regulates menstrual cycles and feeds the reproductive system.
Maca -- A root taken in capsule form to increase sperm count, boost libido, regulate reproductive hormones and improve health of the female's egg.
Alfalfa -- Vitamin rich herb that helps nourish both male and female reproductive organs.
Red Clover -- A multipurpose fertility booster and blood purifier.
Saw Palmetto -- Nourishes the male reproductive system and regulates female menstrual cycles.
There are also vitamins and minerals which enhance reproductive health and should be included. First is vitamin C
and antioxidants, which can help to boost sperm motility and prevent defects. In women, they help reduce stress on reproductive organs. Next is zinc
, which can help boost testosterone as well as semen levels. Third is calcium with vitamin D
(which is necessary for calcium uptake), which has been shown to help increase male fertility, taken in sufficient amounts on a daily basis.
There are many natural ways to enhance fertility, for couples experiencing difficulty in conceiving a child. Probably the best course of action is to work together with a doctor as well as a nutritionist and naturopath to achieve the very best outcome, from conception to delivery.