The Basics of Infertility
Coping with infertility can be
stressful and frustrating. It doesn’t help that infertility treatments are
often invasive and expensive, or that the process of seeking care can be
exhausting. That’s why many infertile couples want to know if there is anything
they can do at home to improve their chances of conceiving.
Infertility treatment should be
closely monitored by a doctor or fertility specialist. However, there are a few
simple and inexpensive things you can do on your own to increase your chances
of getting pregnant.
Protect Your Fertility
According to the Centers for
Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), certain behaviors are known
to impair fertility in both men and women. If you want to maximize your chances
of pregnancy, it’s a good idea to stop:
- heavy drinking
- illegal drug use
- drinking more than four to five
cups of coffee a day
You should also work on maintaining
a healthy body weight. A healthy diet and regular exercise can make you feel
better and also improve your fertility.
Learn the Importance of Timing
When a woman monitors her menstrual
cycle, she can learn when she is most fertile. Techniques such basal body
temperature and cervical mucus monitoring can help women determine when sex
will give them the best chance of getting pregnant.
Talk to your doctor or fertility
specialist about learning to monitor your fertility. There are even smartphone
and computer apps to help you track your data and plan ahead. Your best chances
for pregnancy occur a few days before and a day or two after you ovulate.
It’s a good idea to have more sex
during those times if you’re trying to get pregnant.
Keep It Cool
Men should avoid hot baths and saunas.
According to Mayo Clinic,
increasing the temperature of the testicles can decrease sperm production.
Computer addicts should also take their laptops off their laps. That will give
their testicles a break from the heat.
Conclusive scientific data on supplements for infertility
is still limited. Some doctors and fertility specialists believe certain herbs
and supplements may help increase fertility.
Talk to your doctor before you begin taking any herbs or
supplements. Some of them may actually hamper your attempts to conceive. There
is also a chance that they will interact badly with infertility drugs or other
For men, supplements that have tentatively been shown to
increase sperm count or quality include:
- Asian ginseng
- vitamin B-12
- vitamin C
- vitamin E
For women, having adequate levels of all vitamins and
minerals is important for a properly functioning reproductive system. However,
it’s particularly important for women to get at least 400 to 800 micrograms of
folic acid a day. This amount can be found as a separate supplement or as part
of a prenatal vitamin.
Folic acid, also called folate, is a B vitamin. It reduces
the risk of certain serious birth defects that develop in early pregnancy.
Women should begin taking folate a month or two before they start trying to get
pregnant. This recommendation for folate
is supported by abundant data and is part of standard medical prenatal care. In
that way, it is different than most “supplements.” Furthermore, there isn’t as clear evidence
that taking folate improves female fertility; its benefits in this context are
received once conception has taken place.