Causes & Treatment

11 Things to Try Before Visiting a Fertility Specialist

Eloise Edington  |  23 Jul 2021

Fertility Help

Typically, when couples are trying to conceive, they are expected to try naturally for a year before visiting a fertility specialist. A year can seem like such a long time, especially when you are waiting to start receiving fertility help.

Fertility Help Hub want to help you find natural solutions, so that you know how to improve your chances of conception. We have composed a list of 11 things that you can try to hopefully up your chances of natural conception. Read on to find out our tips.

1. Fertility-Friendly Lubricant

Most lubricants contain spermicides which are used to destroy sperm in an attempt to hinder conception. If and when you are trying to conceive, you should exchange your usual lubricants for ones that are fertility-friendly and don’t contain any spermicides. But, if you are having difficulty finding one, there are some natural alternatives that are safe to use that won’t alter your pH balance, such as coconut oil. Make sure that the coconut oil is 100% pure. It should be solid at room temperature, with a melting point that is so low it will melt from the warmth of your palm. 

If for personal reasons you cannot use coconut oil e.g. allergies or just simply by choice, there are other natural alternatives that are specifically designed to enhance natural conception. 

FERTI·LILY Conception Gel is a specially formulated lubricant that has been designed to improve the motility and vitality of sperm. This fertility-friendly lubricant is formulated with fructose, a naturally occurring fruit sugar that is necessary to improve sperm energy and speed. You may be able to improve your chances of fertility by 48% within three cycles by combining the FERTI·LILY Conception Gel and Cup. For 15% off of this bundle, use the code ‘HUBBUNDLE’ at checkout.

Related Article – Is Your Lubricant Affecting Your Sperm Motility?

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2. Supplement with Lycopene

For those of you who are struggling with male factor infertility, supplementing with lycopene may be a solution for you. Provided that you have first consulted your doctor on the subject, it might be worth supplementing lycopene into your diet as it can improve chances of fertility.

Lycopene is an ingredient often found in tomatoes that has been studied for its effects on sperm morphology, quantity, and motility. The results showed a 40% improvement. Lycopene is also a powerful antioxidant, which is key to preventing oxidative stress damage and improving sperm quality. As 50% of infertility is caused by male factors, it may be worth trying to improve your sperm size, shape, motility and health through supplementing with LactoLycopene, which is a patented combination of lycopene with whey protein (to help absorption by the body).

FutureYou Cambridge supplement Fertility+ have combined LactoLycopene with zinc to contribute to the normal function of fertility in men. To find out more about FutureYou Cambridge Fertility+ supplement containing LactoLycopene and any of their other supplements, click here and enter code ‘FHH20’ to get 20% off.

Related Article – Do Tomatoes Hold A Secret Ingredient Which Improves Sperm Quality?

3. Supplement with Choline

If you are taking fertility supplements you may have already heard of the remarkable B-vitamin, choline. Choline is vital for healthy baby development and pregnancy. Unfortunately, our bodies do not make enough choline on their own, so choline does have to be supplemented into our diets in order to reap the benefits.

Choline can help to develop the foetal spinal cord and brain, improve cognitive outcomes, visual memory and attention span. Choline can also help to protect the baby from tubal defects, and it supports the development of the placenta and vital organs. Needless to say, choline is a super vitamin that pretty much covers all the vital basics of pregnancy and baby development.

There are few fertility supplements that provide adequate quantities of choline. But don’t worry, we’ve done the research for you. Beli uses accurate dosages of all vitamins including choline and they are one of the few fertility supplement providers that incorporate choline into their recipe. If you would like to purchase some of Beli’s prenatal vitamins, we would like to offer you a generous discount for 15% off all Beli Supplements when you use the code ‘FHH15’ at checkout.

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4. Avoid the Toxins 

Environmental toxins can be harmful to fertility if enough of them are consumed. Some of these toxins are unavoidable, but others we do have some control over. For example, household cleaning products contain a lot of toxins, so it’s best to wear rubber gloves when handling them. Plastic containers we often store or microwave food in can also be harmful, but easily substituted with a safe, glass alternative.

Unless you are specifically seeking out completely natural or pregnancy safe cosmetics, the chances are that they contain harmful toxins. These toxins can impact your general health and fertility. This includes products like hair gels, dyes, shampoos, conditioners, mascara, lipstick, nail varnish, eyeshadows, self tanner, deodorant, sun cream, and the list goes on.

A good rule of thumb for avoiding these products is to shop with brands that have available ‘always and never use’ ingredient lists on their websites. Stick to brands that either advertise themselves as pregnancy-safe or completely natural brands. There is also an app you can use called ThinkDirty which does all the work for you. You simply scan the item you want to purchase and it will tell you if it is safe to use or not.

To guide you in the right direction, here are a few fertility-friendly cosmetic brands to choose from, with discount codes included:

Related Article – How Much do Toxins Affect our Fertility?

5. Foods That Help With Fertility 

The Mediterranean diet can help with both fertility and IVF outcomes. It is primarily plant based, with the exception of healthy fats, fish and limited dairy and meat intake. Jen Walpole, an expert nutritionist, recommends 6-8 portions of vegetables and 2-3 portions of fruit daily in order to maintain the Mediterranean diet. Jen also states that a good plate would have a mix of vegetables of all different colours, a portion of protein which can either be legumes, beans, tofu, salmon or chicken, half a cup of any grains and small portion of healthy fats like avocados, olives or nuts.

The good thing about the Mediterranean diet is that it is not the kind of fad diet we think of when we hear the word ‘dieting’. It simply means that you can eat from a wide range of natural ingredients and that most of your meals will be home-cooked. This all sounds great, but how does consuming this type of food help with fertility?

Diet plays an important role in the healthy production and function of sperm and eggs. The Mediterranean diet is highly recommended to men as it can improve sperm quality. As a plus, this diet can also help with weight control which deters diabetes, which is known to negatively impact fertility. Obesity is also linked to sperm damage and abnormal morphology, which can increase the risk of baby loss.

In general, it is good to analyse the ways that you could help to improve your fertility through food. For women, diet can affect ovulation, egg heath and the womb’s environment. For men, diet can alter sperm DNA, sperm morphology, concentration and mortality. These things can all have an impact on the likelihood of baby loss.

Jen Walpole can give you a specific and personal diet plan to help you improve your fertility. For a 10% discount on an initial consultation and follow up package with Jen, quote the code ‘FHH’ to redeem when booking. 

Related Article – Folate vs. Folic Acid When Trying to Conceive

6. Fertility Aids for Men 

There are all kinds of aids for male fertility. Provided that you haven’t been advised otherwise by your doctor, the main areas of male infertility that you could pay attention to when TTC is maintaining a good body temperature for your testicles and improving your sperm quality and motility.

The Underdog Scrotal Cooling System

The Underdog gently cools the testicles and is a no risk solution to the overheating of testicles. This is specially designed to maintain an optimal temperature for healthy sperm — remaining cool but not freezing. Simply remove the device from the sleeve, freeze it, replace in sleeve and wedge between yourself and a seat. This device has also been reported by customers to have improved their sperm quality results. 

For 10% off the Underdog Scrotal Cooling System, use code ‘FERTILITYHELPHUB10’ at checkout. 

ExSeed Health

Due to the pandemic, you may prefer to test privately at home and receive your results at home. ExSeed Health is an at-home sperm testing kit that has majorly helped men struggling with infertility during the current climate. There are a few steps to using this kit:

  • Order it (it usually arrives with 3 days)
  • Provide a sample
  • Wait 15 minutes for the results to arrive through your phone; usually a video is included to better explain things. You can take the advice that is sent to your phone by ExSeed, or share the results with your fertility clinic at your next consultation if you would prefer their advice

For 17% off when purchasing from ExSeed Health, use code ‘HELPHUB’ at checkout. 

twoplus Fertility

Less than 1% of sperm reaches the egg during unaided natural conception. Twoplus have designed a fertility sperm guide cup that guides the sperm directly to the egg. Not only does this ensure that more sperm reaches the egg safely, but it also helps to prevent sperm from flowing back out of the vagina post-sex. If you would like 30% off when purchasing from twoplus, use code ‘FHH30’ at checkout. 

Related Article – Everything you Need to Know about At-Home Male Fertility Testing

7. Fertility Acupuncture 

Acupuncture has been primarily used for the easing of chronic pain and it has shown great success rates. Now, studies are suggesting that acupuncture can also help to increase fertility.

Acupuncture is a very safe and ancient form of treatment that has been proven to be very helpful for fertility. Through the use of tiny needles, ranging in size, acupuncturists can target specific points on the surface of the skin to increase blood flow. Blood carries oxygen, electrolytes and nutrition to the whole of the reproductive system, and most importantly it helps with the endometrial lining. Increased blood flow to your reproductive areas with the use of acupuncture for fertility can improve the health of the ovaries and endometrial lining.

Often when you do have a consultation with a fertility specialist, fertility acupuncture is suggested, so it’s worth a try before you make your way to the doctor’s office. Fertility clinics have widely accepted the notion that fertility acupuncture for women increases the success of both an embryo transfer and natural conception.

Contact our FHH partner fertility acupuncturist, Karla, here.

Related Article – Fertility Acupuncture & Chinese Herbs for fertility

8. Fertility Yoga and Meditation 

Fertility yoga and meditation can have an invaluable, positive impact on our day to day lives and fertility. Yoga can improve blood circulation to the reproductive system, aid in hormone balance, develop flexibility, as well as improve your state of mind and mental health disorders that are associated with infertility such as depression and anxiety.

Fertile Hope Yoga offers mind-body classes that incorporate mindfulness and meditation into a fertility focused yoga sequence. A study conducted by Harvard researcher, Ali Domar Ph.D, showed astonishing results that 55% of all the people who struggled with infertility and participated in Fertile Hope Yoga’s mind-body 10-week program, conceived. By taking this class, women were 3 times as likely to conceive successfully. The odds also showed that if your mental health had suffered with depression and anxiety due to infertility issues, you were more likely to get pregnant after taking this program.

Mind-body yoga connects the two, it is the belief that what we think and feel affects our bodies and what we do impacts our thoughts. Mind-body yoga is the practice of prioritising the mind as much as you do the body, so that you receive a whole-body healing and workout. As anxiety and depression are very common among couples who are struggling with infertility, it might be worth taking a chance on some fertility yoga courses.

Fertile Hope Yoga is currently offering a 14 day free trial so that you have plenty of time to decide if this is for you or not. For an additional bonus, you can get 25% off classes by using the code ‘FERTILE25’ at checkout.

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9. Lifestyle and Exercise for Fertility 

Related Article – How to Increase Egg Quality and Sperm Quality Through Diet and Lifestyle

Exercise for fertility is good for many reasons:

  • It promotes a healthy lifestyle that can prevent serious issues like diabetes which would otherwise cause complications for fertility
  • It can increase blood flow to your reproductive organs such as your ovaries, which supports egg quality
  • It can increase energy and stamina
  • It can balance hormones, which is especially useful for women who have PCOS and are struggling with their testosterone levels
  • It can improve your mood through the release of endorphins, which can help with your libido and can help you with any feelings of worry or anxiety you might be having when TTC

Moderate but consistent exercise is the typical recommendation for those who are trying to conceive. This includes exercise like fertility yoga, walking, hiking and swimming etc. It’s good to fit some form of exercise into your daily routine as opposed to overworking yourself a couple days of the week. This is especially helpful for men who are TTC as keeping the temperature of your testicles cool to protect your sperm is easier to do if you are committing to light, daily exercise as appose to a vigorous, occasional workout. It is also advised that men don’t wear any shorts that are too restrictive of movement and air flow.

While it might not seem like it, sleep is also very important to your fertility success rates. During our sleep we produce melatonin which has antioxidant properties. Oxidative stress is very damaging to egg quality, the production of reproductive hormones and your reproductive cycle, so getting that extra antioxidant support is vital. Antioxidants can also help with embryo implantation.

It’s important to get eight or more hours of uninterrupted sleep, so make sure you can sleep in a comfortable environment with an optimal temperature. Avoid exposure to blue light, i.e mobile phones, laptops and TVs, an hour or two before you plan on going to sleep as these lights can prevent the production of melatonin. Avoid caffeinated drinks before bed as this can cause your sleep to be disturbed even if it usually helps you to fall asleep faster.

At myMindBodyBaby, they are offering a 25% discount on support programmes that are research-based and fertility specialist recommended. They can help you if you are struggling to know how to fit these new meal plans and exercise routines into your schedule. Support programmes provide tailored meal and exercise programmes as well as mental-well-being tools to give you as much support and guidance throughout your journey. They even tailor plans to your diagnoses and treatments, including IVF and PCOS. Use code ‘FERTILITYHELPHUB25’ at checkout to redeem.

10. Cut Out the Bad Stuff 

Unsurprisingly, smoking cigarettes (or anything else), and drinking large amounts of alcohol can negatively impact your fertility. As a smoker, you are half as likely to conceive naturally within a year of trying than non-smokers. Smoking can have a negative impact on the lining of the womb and it can reduce sperm count, quality and motility. Smoking can also cause sexual impotence.

If you are currently smoking, don’t feel too worried, quitting can improve and restore these aspects of infertility. It can be beneficial to quit smoking at any time during your journey, however it would be ideal to stop smoking four months prior to beginning to try to conceive. 

The effects of drinking alcohol can impact your fertility health in similar ways. For men, drinking alcohol can alter your testosterone levels, sperm quality, quantity, libido and it can cause sexual impotence. Whether or not alcohol has a large impact on female fertility is still up for debate. Some studies suggest no real link to infertility in women and alcohol, but there was a clear link to worsened sperm quality. However, The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) claims that alcohol negatively impacts puberty, menstruation, reproductive functions, and hormonal levels in women. 

Since some studies suggest a negative impact on the fertility of women who drink, and there are studies that show pregnancy is affected by drinking, it is just a good rule of thumb for men and women collectively to avoid drinking and smoking when TTC.

Related Article – Caffeine and Fertility – Can Caffeine Affect Fertility?

11. Ovulation Prediction Kits and Home Testing

For some of you who are trying to conceive, you may have been recommended to track your fertility and ovulation. Or maybe this is simply a method you have decided to use in your journey. Basal body temperature trackers such as TempDrop are convenient, efficient and accurate ways to track your ovulation while you sleep. TempDrop also tracks your cervical mucus (CM) which can convey the exact moments that you are most fertile.

To make your ovulation easier to track Tempdrop uses a wearable sensor and a charting app which helps to offer fertility predictions, provides accurate data, and helps you to identify your fertility window (the 5-7 days when you are most fertile). This information can only grow in accuracy, as the more data you provide (and the more often you use the tracker) the more specific and targeted your results can become.

Tempdrop can also be used in conjunction with other fertility tests such as hormonal lab tests. Typically, acupuncturists, naturopaths and registered dieticians can read your fertility charts, like the Tempdrop fertility chart, and include certain treatments and advice based on your results. Use code ‘FHHTD10’ for 10% off when purchasing your Tempdrop basal body temperature tracker.

Related Article – Guide to Learning When You’re Most Fertile

Hopefully, our fertility advice in this blog has given you some useful tips on conceiving quickly. The fertility advice in this article is primarily for those who are wanting to conceive naturally, but just need that extra help conceiving through the use of things like supplements and conception products. But, if you are simply in the initial stages of your journey and cannot visit a fertility clinic until you have been trying for a year, then the fertility advice in this article may also help you with conceiving and feeling like you still have options available to you.

For more fertility help and tips on conceiving quickly, download the FHH app where we will keep you up to date with all the latest fertility resources and information.

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