Supplements for trying to conceive

COUPLES who struggle to conceive usually exhaust a number of avenues to help them get pregnant, and two of these include supplements and herbs touted to boost fertility. The success stories are many in online pregnancy forums in which women share their stories of finally conceiving, after years of trying, when they tried a particular herb, potion or supplement.

But obstetrician-gynaecologist Dr Jordan Hardie told All Woman that many of these supplements are still under heavy research and as a result should not be viewed as a definite answer.

He also pointed out that many times people view infertility as a woman's problem, when in reality it affects a couple, with the male factor being as much as 40 per cent.

For those who may resort to supplements to boost their fertility, Dr Hardie said it is important to note that some may be helpful, and some harmful.

Below he discusses some common fertility supplements.

Folic acid

Folic acid, according to Dr Hardie, may not exactly be a fertility enhancing supplement; however, he said it is vital for the development of the nervous system of the foetus early in pregnancy and is definitely a supplement all women who are trying to conceive should take.


“Zinc deficiency can lead to erectile deficiency and a decrease in sperm quality and quantity,” Dr Hardie said.


“Iron supplementation may decrease a woman's risk of having infertility due to ovulatory dysfunction,” he said.

DHEA (Dehydroepiandrosterone)

Dr Hardie said DHEA is a hormone produced by the body and it is now being marketed as a drug that can, among other things, boost fertility in women. “It is advisable to exercise extreme caution when taking this drug and discuss with your gynaecologist as DHEA can be harmful. It can lead to menstrual irregularities and elevated cholesterol levels. Patients with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) are at an even higher risk for these side effects,” he said.

Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10)

The ObGyn said CoQ10 is being marketed as a supplement that may assist older women with their egg quality. He however pointed out that research is still ongoing to determine if this is indeed true and, if so, which patients will actually benefit.

“There is no consensus about this supplement at the moment,” he said.


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