Alternative Treatments for Infertility

Written by the Healthline Editorial Team | Published on September 3, 2014
Medically Reviewed by Kenneth R. Hirsch, MD on September 3, 2014

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:

  • smoking
  • 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.

Avoid Steroids

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 medications.

For men, supplements that have tentatively been shown to increase sperm count or quality include:

  • Asian ginseng
  • selenium
  • vitamin B-12
  • vitamin C
  • vitamin E
  • zinc

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.

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