|Animal-based|| Glandular / Live Cell Therapy
| ||Although hard evidence is still lacking, many natural doctors use glandular extracts to promote reproductive health. These are usually extracts from several different organs including ovaries, uterus and others. These combination products may contain selected homeopathic remedies as well.|
Propolis / Bee Products
| ||Forty women with primary infertility of at least 2 years' duration, and mild or minimal endometriosis, were randomly assigned to receive bee propolis (500mg BID) or placebo for 9 months. Twelve (60%) of 20 women in the active-treatment group became pregnant, compared with 4 (20%) of 20 in the placebo group. No side effects were reported. [Fertil Steril 2003;80(Suppl 3): p.S32]|
Red Clover (Trifolium pratense)
| ||Red clover blossom may act as a female fertility enhancer. It contains several estrogen-like compounds which may promote fertility in estrogen-deficient women. [Duke, J. A. Handbook of Medicinal Herbs: 489. Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press, 1985]|
| ||Vitex is often used to help infertility caused by a luteal phase defect (a shortening of the post-ovulatory part of the menstrual cycle): women taking vitex for three months appear to have more success at becoming pregnant.|
Heavy Metal Detoxification / Avoidance
| ||Investigate the possibility of heavy metal intoxication, which may affect ovulation. A hair analysis can reveal heavy metal poisoning.|
| ||Strict adherence to a gluten-free diet has enabled many women who were previously unable to conceive to become pregnant.|
Fried Foods Avoidance
| ||Research has indicated that women who drank more than one cup of coffee a day reduced their likelihood of conceiving by 50%, and men who drank two to three cups of coffee a day had an increased incidence of abnormally formed sperm. Having five cups a day appears to make sperm sluggish as well.|
High/Increased Fiber Diet
Animal/Saturated Fats Avoidance
High/Increased Protein Diet
Increased Water Consumption
| ||To flush toxins from your system, drink eight 8-ounce glasses of pure water daily.|
Sugars Avoidance / Reduction
| ||Alcohol consumption can prevent implantation of a fertilized egg.|
Processed Foods Avoidance
Soy Isoflavones (genistein, daidzein)
| ||Women who are trying to conceive may want to heed the following: Avoid eating too much soy. According to a study involving humans, a compound found in soy known as genistein has been found to impair sperm as they swim toward the egg. Even tiny doses of the compound in the female tract could destroy sperm. Genistein can be found in all soy-containing products.|
Researchers further explained that avoiding soy around a woman's more fertile days of the month might actually aid conception.
Based on the findings, a spokeswoman for the Vegetarian Society said that for anyone trying to become pregnant, avoiding soy products for a few days a month is worth a try ... even if there is a slim chance it will aid in fertility. [BBC News June 21, 2005]
Conventional Drugs / Information
| ||Fertility drugs such as clomiphene (Clomid, Serophene), gonadorelin (Factrel, Lutrepulse), human chorionic gonadotropin - HCG (A.P.L., Fullutein, Humegon, Pregnyl, Profasi), and human menopausal gonadotropins - HMG (Metrodin, Pergonal, Repronal) are commonly prescribed.|
| ||Cigarette smoking is associated with female infertility due to tubal and cervical causes. In animal studies, nicotine has not only been shown to decrease tubal motility and blood flow, but appears to decrease estrogen levels as well. Cotinine, a byproduct of nicotine, is found in the cervical mucus of female smokers, and may be toxic to sperm.|
| ||Exercise regularly but moderately. Maintaining a high level of physical fitness increases the possibility of conception. For both men and women, the ability to reproduce is dependent on a healthy body. Stressing your body with intensive exercise can cause a decrease in fertility.|
| ||Progesterone is an important hormone in preventing miscarriage. Without adequate progesterone, the lining of the uterus will remain rigid making pregnancy difficult to achieve. The lack of normal progesterone production by the ovaries in the second half of the menstrual cycle is called luteal phase defect. Women who have this defect are either unable to have their fertilized eggs implant in their uterine lining or, if the egg is implanted, it is so weak that miscarriage is a certain outcome. |
To lessen the possibility of miscarriage, women who have a luteal phase defect use progesterone supplements after ovulation to help maximize the chance of carrying a pregnancy to full term. Progesterone supplements are also prescribed to women who are undergoing in-vitro fertilization (IVF) and other methods of assisted reproductive technology (ART). Progesterone supplements are given to women following an egg transfer in certain types of fertilization methods. Treatment for all women using progesterone supplements continues for at least fourteen days following ovulation. If pregnancy occurs in a woman who is taking progesterone supplements, her doctor may decide to continue the treatment for another 8 to 10 weeks until placental production of progesterone can carry the pregnancy successfully.
Test / Monitor Hormone levels
| ||Because male infertility is related to approximately 50% of all infertility cases, it is important to conduct a semen analysis to make sure that this is not the cause of the problem.|
Ideally, you will have already begun tracking your ovulation through fertility awareness or a fertility monitor. This will provide your doctor with valuable information about your ovulation. Usually the first question regarding female fertility is whether you are ovulating or not.
The first tests performed by your doctor involves measuring your follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) and luteinizing hormone (LH) to establish a baseline. This is performed on the third day of your cycle. A second test for LH may occur on the day of the LH surge, which is before ovulation in most cases.
Additional tests may include:
- Cervical mucus tests: This involves a postcoital test (PCT) which determines if the sperm is able to penetrate and survive in the cervical mucus. It also involves a bacterial screening.
- Ultrasound tests: This is used to assess the thickness of the lining of the uterus (endometrium), monitor follicle development, and check the condition of the uterus and ovaries. An ultrasound may be conducted two to three days later to confirm that an egg has been released.
- Hormone tests: These tests are done to assess the various hormone levels that contribute to the reproductive process.
These hormone tests include the following:
- Luteinizing Hormone (LH)
- Follicle Stimulating Hormone (FSH)
- Free T3
- Total Testosterone
- Free Testosterone
Tests, General Diagnostic
| ||If both the semen analysis and hormone tests are normal, there is also additional testing that your fertility specialist may recommend. These tests include any of the following:|
These tests are not mandatory and your fertility specialist will know which tests best fit your situation.
- Hysterosalpingogram (HSG): This is simply an x-ray of your uterus and fallopian tubes. A blue dye is injected through the cervix into the uterus and fallopian tubes. The dye enables the radiologist to see if there is blockage or any other problems.
- Hysteroscopy: A procedure that may be used if the HSG indicates that there may be problems. The hysteroscope is inserted through the cervix into the uterus, which allows your fertility specialist to see any abnormalities, growths or scarring in the uterus. The hysteroscope allows your physician to take pictures which may be used for future reference.
- Laparoscopy: A procedure which uses a narrow fiber optic telescope. The laparoscope is inserted through a woman’s abdomen to look at the uterus, fallopian tubes, and ovaries. Your physician will be checking for endometriosis, scar tissue, or other adhesions. It is important to confirm that you are not pregnant before this test is performed.
- Endometrial biopsy: This is a procedure which involves scraping a small amount of tissue from the endometrium just prior to menstruation. This biopsy is performed to assess whether there is a hormonal imbalance or not. It is important to confirm that you are not pregnant before this test is performed.
| ||A deficiency of selenium can lead to infertility in women.|
| ||Alternating hot and cold sitz baths are useful in improving pelvic circulation. These may be helpful in promoting fertility. Please use at times other than when attempting conception.|
| ||Mental and emotional stress can impact fertility. Try to eliminate the stress in your life as much as possible. Infertility itself can be extremely stressful.|
| ||Artificial insemination can be used to place sperm directly in the cervix or uterus. In vitro fertilization involves combining an egg with sperm in a laboratory, and then implanting the fertilized egg into the uterus.|
| ||Para-aminobenzoic acid (PABA) stimulates the pituitary gland and sometimes restores fertility to some women who cannot conceive.|| |