Some couples will try anything to get pregnant. Of course, they'd rather not have to do anything too hi-techie or drastic. So lots of couples trying to conceive will look into ways to boost their chances that don't cost a fortune and aren't too invasive. Couples might look into foods they can eat to boost their fertility, or herbal treatments, while some will explore supplements and vitamins. There is a feeling that these fertility supplements can't hurt and may just help a couple to conceive.
For others, there is just a natural preference for the natural. Vitamins and supplements are the stuff of life: we get vitamins from our food and from the sun. There is a feeling that these supplements are in harmony with nature and so more in tune with the human body. Even if you have already begun treatment with assisted reproductive techniques, it may comfort you to handle the more human side of things by taking care of your diet and using vitamins and supplements.
On the other hand, while you may love the idea of alternative treatments, it's important to keep in mind that little information exists on whether vitamins and supplements have any actual effect on fertility. Only a very small number of studies have been done on this topic, and with mixed results. Let's take a look at some of the conclusions:
*One study found that infertile men given a combination of L-carnitine and acetyl-L-carnitine were found to have an improvement in sperm motility.
*A study on the effects of vitamin E revealed that it improved low sperm counts while a placebo was found to have no such effect.
*Other studies have contradicted this finding. For instance, in one study, vitamin E, when given along with selenium or vitamin C, seemed to have no effect on infertility.
*Some studies have suggested that coenzyme Q10 and folic acid will improve sperm counts and motility, while other studies remain equivocal.
No One Knows
The conclusion must be that, as yet, no one can know with any certainty whether vitamins E and C, folic acid, coenzyme Q10, or selenium have a positive effect on male fertility. More studies must be done to verify the helpfulness of L-carnitine and acetyl-L-carnitine on sperm motility.
Of course, these studies speak to supplements in terms of their effects on male fertility. However, the research on supplements for boosting female infertility has produced results that are even more dismal. Several very small studies seem to suggest that vitamin C may aid women who have ovulatory disorders, for instance polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS). But larger scale scientific research is still necessary to prove the benefits of vitamin C for female fertility.
One good piece of news is that the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has, in recent times, undertaken the responsibility to oversee and regulate nutritional and herbal supplements. That means that these items will now be under the FDA's microscope in the same way that this body examines prescription drugs. In short, while we don't yet know whether vitamins and supplements can really make a difference in your fertility, the information will likely be forthcoming in the not-too-distant future.