Infertility is becoming an increasingly frequent problem. Many people go to fertility experts and, by discovering an anatomic problem (e.g. blocked fallopian tubes), or problems with ovulation, are able to get help. Unfortunately, many people find their tests are negative or, despite treatment, find they are unable to get pregnant.
Comprehensive Medicine, which includes both prescription/surgical and natural therapies, can often help when regular day-to-day medical approaches cannot. Infertility is one such case. It is important to recognize that 40% to 50% of problems with infertility are secondary to the man having a low sperm count or underactive sperm activity. Because of this, I recommend the man and woman both do the things noted below to increase their fertility. Before one begins with these things, it is important to look at the optimum timing for intercourse.
When Is The Best Time To Get Started?
Research shows that intercourse which occurs even one day after ovulation is unlikely to result in pregnancy. Intercourse the day of ovulation is most effective and often effective during the three to four day period before ovulation. Intercourse more than six days before ovulation is also unlikely to result in pregnancy. One can use an ovulation thermometer to time their ovulation. Also, the more frequently one has intercourse in the three or four days before ovulation, the more likely one is to get pregnant. New research has overturned the old misconception that frequent intercourse within this three to four day period decreases the chance of pregnancy.
What Can The Woman Do?
There are many day to day things which worsen and improve fertility. Having more than four cups of coffee a day (and possibly any coffee) can result in infertility. Some researchers joke that coffee actually acts as a reasonable form of birth control (I would not rely on it though!). Alcohol also increases infertility caused by ovulatory problems. This results because of increases in a hormone called prolactin. In people who have ovulatory infertility, alcohol can increase the problem by 30% if you have even one drink a day and by 60% if you have more thantwo drinks a day. Alcohol can also aggravate infertility caused by endometriosis. Of much greater concern, however, is the problem of birth defects caused by drinking alcohol during the pregnancy. This is called fetal alcohol syndrome and it is important that alcohol be avoided during the pregnancy. I would also note that taking very hot baths during pregnancy, including hot tubbing, can increase birth defects quite a bit as can taking more than 8,000 IU of vitamin A daily (beta carotene is okay). In addition, it is important that any woman of childbearing age take at least 800 mcg (0.8 mg) of folic acid a day to prevent birth defects. If the woman has had a child with neural tube birth defects in the past, I would increase this up to 4,000 mcg a day. For most women, taking a good multivitamin (we recommend From Fatigued To Fantastic Energy Revitalization System - available on our web site and many health food stores) is very helpful.
Other things which can cause infertility include taking more than 1,000 mg of vitamin C a day. If a woman is doing this and trying to get pregnant, she should decrease it to 500 mg a day. Infertility caused by a higher dose should resolve within a few weeks. Drinking caffeinated sodas (even one a day) can decrease conception by 50%. It is also important to avoid toxic metals (lead, mercury, cadmium), and I would not take melatonin (or much of anything else besides a good multivitamin as noted above and magnesium) when pregnant. High doses of melatonin can raise prolactin levels and may result in temporary infertility. A recent study has also found douching temporarily decreases the probability of getting pregnant by 30%. If your doctor has not checked your prolactin level, be sure this is not elevated.