Many genetic and environmental factors can affect fertility in men and women. However, it is possible to increase the chances of having a successful pregnancy using natural methods.
This article will discuss evidence-based, natural methods for increasing fertility in both men and women.
In women, reducing stress and exercising often can boost fertility. In men, fertility-boosting actions include limiting alcohol intake and quitting smoking.
There are also several fertility treatments available for both men and women.
Methods for women
There are many things a woman can do to increase the chance of becoming pregnant. Below, we look at some of these methods.
Taking steps to tackle stress can help naturally boost fertility.
Stress can reduce fertility in women.
Alpha-amylase is a biological marker of stress that scientists can measure in saliva samples. A study from 2011 showed that women with higher alpha-amylase levels may have a lower chance of conceiving naturally.
Engaging in stress reduction activities can increase fertility in women. For example, those who receive support and counseling for depression and anxiety have a higher chance of becoming pregnant than those who do not.
Smoking tobacco can disrupt hormone levels and cause menopause to occur at an earlier age.
A systematic review of 11 studies showed that smoking has significant links with an earlier age of menopause. Giving up tobacco may boost fertility in women.
Staying a healthy weight
Being either overweight or underweight can reduce fertility in women.
Some research suggests that being overweight might disrupt a range of reproductive processes. This includes the development and quality of the fertilization process and embryo growth.
Losing weight could help people overcome some of these difficulties. A 2014 systematic review suggested that women who are overweight or obese can increase the success of their fertility treatment by losing weight.
However, it is important to maintain a healthy weight. Being underweight can also impact fertility. Some research shows that women who are underweight have a higher risk of ovarian dysfunction, infertility, and preterm birth.
Increasing physical activity
Being physically active can also increase fertility in women.
A study of 50,678 women found that regular, strenuous exercise may lead to later menopause.
Some research has suggested that moderate levels of exercise also have positive effects on fertility. However, excessive exercise without a sufficient calorie intake can cause abnormal menstrual cycles and restrict fertility.
Methods for men
There are many steps a man can take to boost his fertility. We cover some of these below.
Maintaining a healthy weight
A person can maintain a healthy weight with regular exercise.
Being either overweight or underweight also reduces fertility in men.
A 2015 systematic review examined fertility data from 115,158 participants. The researchers found that men with obesity may be significantly more likely to experience infertility.
They may also be less likely to respond to certain types of fertility treatment when not at a healthy weight.
The data also suggest that men have a 10 percent greater chance of experiencing a nonviable pregnancy. The term “nonviable pregnancy” refers to a pregnancy that does not lead to a live birth.
Being underweight can also increase the risk of infertility in men.
Giving up smoking
Smoking tobacco can impact fertility in men as well as women.
Some research suggests that smoking tobacco can have a negative impact on semen quality and reduce the chances of reproductive success.
Therefore, not using tobacco could increase fertility in men.
Reducing alcohol use
Drinking alcohol can negatively affect a man’s semen.
A systematic review involving 29,914 men suggested that greater alcohol use may lead to lower semen volume. Reducing alcohol consumption could therefore help increase semen quality.
Fertility and age
For most women, fertility generally starts to decline in their mid-30s. During this period, ovary functioning steadily declines until menopause. While it is still possible to conceive during this period, the chances of success are much lower.
There are currently no natural ways to counteract this fertility decline in women. It is possible that maintaining a healthy lifestyle could help delay the onset of the menopause.
This will increase the window of fertility. However, doctors do not know whether or not this would increase the rate of fertility within this window.
A doctor can offer advice on medical therapies for fertility issues.
There are several medical therapies available for people having persistent issues with becoming pregnant. Healthcare professionals use these medical therapies to treat about 85–90 percent of fertility cases.
Many treatments are available for both men and women. These include medication and surgery.
If other therapies are unsuccessful, assisted reproductive technology (ART) is another option.
These treatments manually fertilize a woman’s egg using a man’s sperm. In some cases, these can be donor eggs or sperm. The most common form of ART is in vitro fertilization treatment.
In general, maintaining a healthy lifestyle is the most effective way to boost fertility for both men and women.
Although it is unclear whether this can counteract the natural decline in fertility with age, it may delay the onset of menopause.
There are also many effective medical therapies available that can increase the chance of a successful pregnancy.