Pregnancy & Birth

12 natural fertility boosters for couples trying to conceive

Are you, or someone you know, trying to conceive without success? Before you opt for IVF, consider these natural remedies...

By Alex Antoniou
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Fact: The average couple with no medical problems has only a 15 to 20 per cent chance of conceiving per menstrual cycle so it's commonsense to maximise your chances.

Here are 12 natural ways to boost your fertility.

1. Make love regularly

It sounds obvious, but the more practice a man has at making sperm the stronger they are. Plus, as sperm can live in the body for around five days regular sex will maximise the chance that sperm will be in your body during the 24 hours you're most fertile each month.

2. Cut down on caffeine

Research has shown that as little as one cup of coffee per day can halve your chances of conception.

3. Keep him cool

Heat around his scrotum is a problem for sperm. Overheating the testicles can have a negative effect on sperm production and movement. This is why nature situated the testicles outside the body to keep them cool.

So get him to wear loose cotton underwear and avoid tight jeans or trousers. Sitting with legs crossed or driving for long periods can also cause problems.

4. Stop excessive dieting

Researchers at Ohio University found that when women cut calories too much, their levels of reproductive hormones also went down, reducing the chance of ovulation.

5. Cut down on smoking and drinking

Smoking and drinking interferes with the reproductive system of both men and women so you should aim to cut out smoking altogether and limit your drinking to no more than six units (six glasses of wine or about four stubbies of beer) a week.

6. Cut out recreational drugs

Marijuana can lower two hormones, FSH and LH that men need to produce sperm. It can also lower his libido and for women marijuana can stop ovulation.

Cocaine can lower sperm count and increase the rate of abnormal sperm and heroin can cause a decrease in testosterone levels.

7. Cut down on painkillers

Some painkillers, such as paracetamol and ibuprofen, can interfere with conception if taken around the time of ovulation by suppressing hormones called prostaglandins, which the body needs to release the egg into the fallopian tube.

8. Think positively

'When a woman is feeling stressed and negative her body can shut down reproductively in order to protect her acting as a natural contraceptive,' says psychologist Dr Elizabeth Muir.

'This also applies to men - negative mind-set causes stress and results in a decrease in the quality and motility of sperm.'

9. Try a sexy spice

Fenugreek has high levels of vitamins A and D, which can help with sexual desire and impotence. It can also increase the body's metabolism, giving you more energy for sex.

10. Get checked out

It's worth both you and your partner seeing your GP to check there are no medical conditions standing in your way of conceiving such as blocked fallopian tubes, fibroids (non-cancerous growths in or on the wall of the womb) and endometriosis (where the lining of the womb grows in places other than the womb).

11. Try complementary therapies

Herbal medicine: agnus castus can help regulate periods

Homeopathy: selenium metallicum for male infertility

Acupuncture: can correct hormone imbalances and problems such as fibroids

12. Buy organic food where possible

Pesticides can affect hormone imbalance and fertility.

Before adjusting your fertility, get-pregnant plan, be sure to consult your trusted GP first.

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