Natural Fertility Boosters

For a woman who wants a baby, there is no off switch to deactivate the longing. Sadly, however, one in six Australian couples are affected by infertility – 20 per cent of whom are considered unexplained.

The good news, as Diana Timmins discovers, is that there are an abundance of stress-free, natural therapies that can help.


"Many studies have now shown that coeliac disease and gluten intolerance can potentially impact a couple's fertility," says naturopath, Stacey Roberts, owner of Sharkeys Healing Centre – a.k.a. ‘the baby maker’.

"There are also those individuals who appear to be gluten sensitive but don't have coeliac disease, whose digestion and optimal nutrient absorption will benefit from staying away from foods containing gluten."

Acidic foods can make a woman’s cervical mucus hostile towards sperm, so alkaline foods are preferable – particularly those that contain high levels of antioxidants, such as:

  • Vegetables, particularly artichokes and broccoli
  • Beans, particularly kidney and pinto
  • Nuts, particularly hazelnuts, pecans and walnuts
  • Fruits, particularly cranberries, blueberries, blackberries and apples

Unfermented soy products may also be harmful as they have a compound called genistein, which has been found to impair the sperm as they swim towards the egg.

“Some research indicates unfermented soy can interfere with thyroid production and oestrogen,” says Roberts. “Try replacing unfermented soy products like tofu and soy milks with fermented products such as tempeh, miso and natto.”


This form of traditional Chinese medicine works to restore the body’s Qi (flow of energy), regulate menstruation and ovulation, improve mucous and egg quality, enhance sperm count and mobility and restore blood flow in the pelvic cavity. A 2002 study published in the medical journal, Fertility and Sterility examined 160 females undergoing IVF, half of whom were also receiving acupuncture. A whopping 42 per cent of subjects receiving acupuncture fell pregnant, which was notable in comparison to the 26 per cent success rate of those who weren’t.

Yoga for Fertility

Being overweight can cause fat cells to create an abundance of oestrogen similar to being on birth control pills, so maintaining a healthy weight is vital for conception. This doesn’t mean endless hours pounding pavement, but rather, adopting a balanced exercise regime to keep glucose metabolism and hormones in check.

Yoga is a stress-free method of maintaining a healthy weight and in fact, specific yoga programs tailored to enhance fertility exist. American actress and yoga practitioner, Brenda Strong, has combined the benefits of yoga and acupressure (Tibetan finger pressure techniques), to create the Strong Fertility Ball Yoga Method. These two ancient healing systems combined, can help women lower stress levels and improve chances of conception. The program utilises a soft ball made of 100% non-toxic materials as a prop in yoga poses to stimulate blood flow, massage internal organs, regulate gynaecological function and open connective tissue. To find out more, visit


Keep the swimmers strong

Numerous lifestyle factors determine whether sperm will sink or swim, including increased testicle temperature from such things as electric blankets, hot baths and tight-fitting underwear. Mitch Dowd and Bayer Australia (makers of preconception multi-vitamins, Meveit and Elevit) recently launched a range of fashionable yet fertility-friendly underwear in a campaign titled ‘Fashion for Fertility’. Suitably enlisted as official ambassadors for the campaign, are swimming champion, Michael Klim and his wife Lindy.

“We are passionate about health, fitness and fashion, plus we took Menevit and Elevit when we were trying to conceive, so it was a perfect fit,” says Klim.

“The underwear allows more room for the testicles, which is more conducive to producing sperm. In the old days they used to wear loose fitting underwear, so this is a similar concept but more fashionable and sleek, yet still loose in all the right areas. It is important men do their bit to enhance their preconception health.” Visit for more info.

Herbs and Vitamins

A naturopath’s herbal blend may not be incredibly tasty, but it addresses the needs of your entire body for optimal physical and psychological health. Dong Quai is just one natural herb that may be part of the potion for women who suffer with irregular cycles, as it promotes more predictable ovulation patterns and relieves menstrual bloating and cramping.

A form of folic acid may also be beneficial, as a deficiency in this area can contribute greatly to infertility and birth defects in unborn babies. Vitamin B6 is another natural substance that aids fertility, by potentially lengthening luteal phase and enhancing fertilization and implantation.


Particular scents can have a strong influence on the hypothalamus, which regulates the reproductive system via the pituitary gland. This is why many women can find relief from symptoms of PMS, menstruation and menopause by inhaling essential oils like aniseed, fennel, geranium, sage and lemongrass.

Infertility problems can create enormous emotional stresses and aromatherapy is an effective therapy to help counter such stress and induce relaxation. Scents that have calming properties, include rose, linden blossom, lavender, neroli, sandalwood, Roman chamomile and patchouli.

These calming oils are likely to have a beneficial effect on the reproductive system through their influence on the hypothalamus and the autonomic nervous system.


Despite its stigmas, hypnotherapy won’t send you stark-raving mad or force you to do anything unsavoury. It is rather a daydream state where deep emotions are surfaced more easily and dealt with openly.

“In this trance state, you actually have greater control over your mind and body than you do when in a normal state of consciousness,” explains qualified hypnotherapist, Linda Hatzidis. “Hypnosis for fertility can help reduce stress and anxiety by removing emotional blocks, addressing feelings of guilt and blame, and by teaching couples to work together to keep stress and anxiety to an absolute minimum before, during and after medical treatment.” NH


Making a baby isn’t as easy as 1,2,3. Couples must commit to a positive lifestyle if they want to increase their chances of falling pregnant and to care not only for their individual health, but for the health of their baby-to-be.

TOXINS - Toxins contribute to degenerative changes in cells and given that eggs, sperm and endometrial lining are considered cells, toxins should be refrained from entering the body. Avoid heating or storing food in plastic containers before it has cooled and utilise natural or certified organic lubricants and cleaning and beauty products to create a toxin-free environment.

SMOKING - Female smokers may have decreased oestrogen production, poor egg quality, and increased risk of pelvic inflammatory disease and ectopic pregnancy. Male smokers can have decreased sperm count and increased abnormalities in sperm shape and function, not to mention potential impotence.

CAFFEINE - Studies indicate a reduction in female fertility when more than 300mg of caffeine is consumed daily. Women undergoing in-vitro fertilisation (IVF) treatments are advised to lower their daily caffeine intake to a maximum of 50mg.

ALCOHOL - A recent study conducted at Boston’s Harvard Medical School indicates sharing one bottle of wine per week could decrease a couple’s chances of conception by 26%. The study revealed white wine to be the biggest culprit for women, where as beer had the biggest impact on male fertility.

STRESS - Possibly the largest lifestyle factor to put a strain on your fertility is stress, which can have the following repercussions:

  • Lower libido
  • Suppress luteinizing hormone
  • Reduce egg quality
  • Prevent implantation of a fertilised egg
  • Increase prolactin levels
  • Increase (stress hormone) cortisol, sending blood to the body’s extremities and away from vital reproductive organs

To register for Stacey Roberts Fertility Tips or as a new patient, visit


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The information presented on this website is not intended as specific medical advice and is not a substitute for professional medical treatment or diagnosis. Read our Medical Notice.