Thursday, May 27, 2010

Using Holistic Medicine For Female & Male Infertility


I have had fertility issues for almost 2 years now. I want to explore a natural approach to my fertility before I use more invasive procedures. What I was wondering was if it was safe to use more than one natural herb at a time or will there be interactions. The medicines that I plan to use for myself are Chasteberry, Black Cohosh, and Siberian Ginseng. For my husband he plans to use Horny Goat Weed (which is supposed to promote potency and increase sperm production) and Gotu Cola (which is supposed to promote motility).

I have asked the sales people if these herbs are safe to use together but have never gotten clear answers. I have researched the herbs and they are supposed to be effective and like I said, I want to be as holistic as possible.
M. from the U.S.


Hello M. from the U.S.,

I'm afraid I cannot answer this question for you as I am a traditional medicine Physician. I would recommend that you direct your question to a naturopath practitioner or herbal pharmacist. If this remedy works, please let me know. We are always looking for ways to increase pregnancy rates in our patients.

I have blogged in the past regarding improving sperm motility/morphology with supplements such as ProXeed. One ingredient in this blend, Coenzyme Q, has been shown to have a positive effect on sperm health and two other ingredients, L-Carnitine & Acetyl-L-carnitine, have been shown to affect sperm motility. The downside is that your husband needs to be on this supplement for at least three months to see results. See this link for further information:

On this subject, I would caution my readers to beware of false claims. Remember, if any supplement is claiming to "cure" infertility and is not backed or proven by clear clinical trials, then the claims can be considered as false. A recent undercover probe (2010) by the GAO (Government Accountability Office) found fraudulent claims for cures abound on the internet. On a recent MSNBC report it was said: "that investigators...found that labels for some supplements claim to prevent or cure ailments like diabetes or heart disease — a clear violation of U.S. law." See this link:

Good Luck,

Edward J. Ramirez, M.D., FACOG
Executive Medical Director
The Fertility and Gynecology Center
Monterey Bay IVF Program
Monterey, California, U.S.A.


  1. Hello,

    Could you please do a blog post about the role of the sperm in determining embryo quality?

    My husband and I are both 31 years old and have been diagnosed with unexplained infertility. My husband has had 3 normal semen analysis and my highest Day 3 FSH was 4.7 with an E2 of 48.

    We have had 8 failed IUIs (clomid and injects) and 2 failed IVFs. Both IVF cycles were "textbook" according to my RE with 10 eggs retrieved and 100% natural fertilization. However, first IVF (long lupron) I failed to make blast and my best embryos were morula. 2nd IVF we did antagonist and opted for a 3DT. Both cycles were negative.

    In looking for a possible diagnosis, I wonder if my husband could be the problem due to undiagnosed MFI. Would mild MFI result in a failure to make blast or is embryo quality more dependent on the competency of the egg?

    Thank you!
    Looking for answers

  2. I don't think that your husband is the problem. It would have manifest by poor fertilization. The sperm is of course, 50% of the equation in fertility. If the sperm are somehow abnormal genetically, it will lead to an abnormal embryo, which is manifest by poor embryo quality. Since your husband's semen analyses were normal, and you had good fertilization and good development to day#3, I would presume that the sperm is intact and normal. Development to blastocyst is determined by many factors, the most critical is the laboratory culturing the embryos. Many good embryos don't make it to blast because the culture media or environment are not yet perfected. For that reason, I usually will transfer at D#3 instead of going to Blast. I only go to blast in patients where I have so many good embryos on D#3 that I need to reduce the number. Culturing to blast will reduce the number. So, rather than suspecting the sperm, I might think of something else.

    In the second cycle, it may have just been pure luck. Remember IVF is NOT a perfect technology. It only increases the chances of success. In order to overcome this, you have to keep trying. Based on what you have told me, I am confident that you will eventually be successful.



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