Many factors can contribute to the delicate issue of conception, and in order to be able to conceive, the reproductive system of each party must function effectively. About 300 of a woman’s eggs will mature and be released during her reproductive life. The development and release of the usual egg each month depends on an intricate balance of hormones. Some of these hormones are produced in the ovaries. Others come from two glands in the brain, the hypothalamus and the pituitary. The hormones she needs for menstruation and to become pregnant are produced by her hypothalamus, pituitary, and ovaries.
In men, fertility refers to the ability to impregnate a woman and for sperm to be healthy and have enough motility. An important part of male fertility involves the creation of normal, mature sperm. Men can continue to produce sperm irrespective of their age although sperm quality and quantity is a contemporary problem and may be related to xenoestrogens particularly in the public water supply.
While there are various fertility treatment options available, they tend to be quite costly and are not always successful. Many of these treatments may also have severe side effects and therefore are not always safe to use. Fertility drugs such as clomiphene and gonadotropins may help to regulate a woman’s reproductive hormones and also to trigger the release of one or more eggs per ovulation cycle.
These drugs, however, do have side effects such as headaches, hot flashes, cramping, bloating, visual problems and vaginal dryness. In addition, you may also run the risk of having twins or more! Surgery may help to fix blocked fallopian tubes and certain other defects. It may also be the answer if you need to remove endometriosis, fibroids or ovarian cysts.
Artificial insemination involves a concentrated dose of sperm from your partner or donor injected into your uterus by a doctor. One of the most common high tech fertility treatments is in vitro fertilization (IVF). It may help you to conceive if you have blocked fallopian tubes, ovulation problems or if your partner has a low sperm count.
Other fertility treatment options include gamete intrafallopian transfer (GIFT), zygote intrafallopian transfer (ZIFT), and intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI), donor eggs and embryos or gestational carriers (surrogate mothers).
Because so many side effects have been associated with fertility drugs, men and women are opting for a more natural approach. Natural treatments such as herbal and homeopathic remedies have been used to establish pregnancy with excellent results.
Herbs such as Vitex agnus-castus (Chasteberry) have been used as an effective treatment for thousands of years to promote hormonal balance and health in women. Cimicifuga racemosa (Black Cohosh) has a beneficial effect on hormone functioning because of its phyto-estrogenic properties.
It is also used by herbalists to prevent miscarriage. While Eleutherococcus senticosis (Siberian Ginseng) has a variety of medicinal uses, it is also known to support sexual functioning, libido, promote sex drive and is often recommended as an aphrodisiac. In addition, Siberian Ginseng may also improve hormonal balance and tone the uterus thereby increasing your chance of conception.
Powerful fertility enhancing herbs for men include Epimedium grandiflorum (Horny Goat Weed), Centella Asiatica (Gotu kola) and Tribulus terristis (Gokshura). Epimediumgrandiflorum (Horny Goat Weed) is well known for its aphrodisiac properties, the ability to promote male potency while also increasing sperm production. Centella Asiatica (Gotu kola) improves the functioning and development of the male sexual organs, sperm motility and health.
Tips for enhancing fertility:
Maintain a healthy lifestyle, by eating lots fresh fruit and vegetables as well as protein to your diet, exercise regularly, avoid smoking and excess alcohol and, if necessary, check if there are doubts about ovulation or sperm issues.
Increase your supplement intake by taking folate, Vitamin B6 and B12 both before and during pregnancy. Consider use of multivitamin and mineral complexes formulated for improved conception. Use of extra co-enzyme Q10 may increase egg quality especially for older females. Additional Vitamin D and essential fatty acids may affect conception and are significant to foetal health during pregnancy.
An under-active thyroid may inhibit conception, as may intolerance to certain foods, as these factors may impact on other hormone levels.
Recent research indicates that good circulation may prohibit miscarriage and thus nutrients such as Pycnogenol may helpful.
Avoid most herbal remedies during pregnancy unless they have been approved for that condition. Many homeopathic remedies can be used for minor ailments and products such as ‘Biostrath elixir’ can be used to ease stress and as a tonic.