One way to treat infertility is through the use of medications which mimic natural hormones in the body and help resolve female ovulation problems in many different ways.
DHEA, for example, is a mild male hormone which is normally used for enhancing athletic performance and has been proven to be successful in increasing chances of fertilization (you can read more information about this here ). Another example is Metformin, an oral antiyperglycemic drug, usually used to treat type two diabetes, it can also be used in the treatment of infertility to boost ovulation.
However like any medicine, the drugs that are used to treat infertility are not without their side effects. To avoid these patients often ask me if there a choice of natural herbs and dietary supplements that can be used to help treat infertility.
I read an interesting review of this question in the Journal of Midwifery and Women’s health which evaluated some commonly used alternative treatments that are taken to aid infertility.
Antioxidants are one of the most commonly used treatments in natural medicine. This is because oxidative stress has been proven to have a negative impact on egg maturation, fertilization, embryo development and, subsequently, pregnancy. Antioxidants can help counteract this stress and improve fertility.
All the herbs and dietary supplements tested have a low side effect burden. Three were listed to aid fertility:
·Vitamin C: Daily supplementation of vitamin C for 6 months starting in the luteal phase can increase infertility and progesterone levels. Beneficial effects could be related to vitamin C antioxidant properties.
·Mastodynon: This is a preparation that contains chasteberry. Chasteberry is a hormonal tonic for women. It has been proven to increase the chance of conception for women with amenorrhea or luteal insufﬁciency.
·Fertility Blend: this is a combination of chasteberry, green tea, l-arginine, folate, iron, magnesium, zinc, selenium and vitamins E, B6 and B12. This natural supplement has also been seen to increase rates of pregnancy. However although l-arginine has been proven to increases blood flow to the follicles and the uterus, if taken alone it has had detrimental effects on embryo quality in women undergoing IVF. L-arginine is an amino acid.
These are all great options for women who prefer to try natural treatments prior to traditional medicine. However, it should be noted that before taking any natural supplement you should talk it over with your physician or your fertility specialist.