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When many of think of holistic medicine, the first thing that comes to mind is herbal medicine. Herbs, acupuncture, and changes in sexual technique can all enhance a couple's chances of conceiving a child. The secret is knowing the right time to use the right holistic technique.

Dong quai is traditional treatment in Chinese and Japanese herbal medicine not just for infertility and difficult symptoms of menopause, but also for preventing memory loss as women age. When dong quai is used to treat women's infertility, it's usually to lower estrogen levels. Too much estrogen during the first half of a woman's period can cause the uterus to grow a "rough" texture, too rough to receive the fertilized egg. Reducing estrogen levels increases the likelihood that the fertilized egg will be implanted, but this is only useful during the first half of the period. Reducing estrogen levels is not beneficial if conception occurs.

Passionflower extract, also known as chrysin, helps keep testosterone from breaking down in a man's body. Since testosterone powers sexual desire, erectile strength, and sperm count, preventing the conversion of testosterone to 5-dihydrotestosterone is very useful for some men trying to become fathers.

Vitex, also known as chasteberry, is strictly a women's herb. The phytogestrogens in this herb travel to the brain, where they reduce the release of luteinizing hormone, which in turn also reduces the release of estrogen. Since this action is only helpful during the first half of the menstrual cycle, before ovulation and before fertilization, women should only take the herb for the first 10 days after they menstruate.

Acupuncture causes the release of a chemical called adenosine. This substance stops pain, but it also increases circulation. The increased circulation to the testes and ovaries may be what is needed for the production and release of sperm and egg. And sexual technique makes a difference, too. Swedish scientists have discovered that foreplay lowers the chances of conception. During foreplay, the anterior (front) side of the uterus rises above the pelvis. The ejaculate arrives at a lower position in the cervix and has to travel farther to fertilize the egg. Having intercourse in the missionary (man-on-top) position, on the other hand, increases the likelihood of conception. The missionary position forces the erect penis into a boomerang configuration, forcing semen closer to the openings of the ovaries where the egg is released.

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