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Medical treatments to increase fertility in women are expensive, time-consuming, and often heart-breaking, but sometimes what is needed is the addition of a carefully considered natural method to treat female infertility. Any method to increase fertility in the female partner, of course, benefits from the help of the male partner.

1. The single most important thing any couple can do to increase fertility is to time intercourse to match ovulation. The man needs to abstain from ejaculation to increase sperm count and semen volume for at least three or four days before intercourse, which should be a day or so after ovulation. The day of ovulation can be estimated by temperature charting or a urine dipstick system for measuring hormone changes, such as ClearBlue Easy Fertility Monitor.

2. The second most important thing any couple can do to ensure a healthy pregnancy is to avoid anything that interferes with implanting the egg once it has been fertilized. Men, that means no popping the champagne corks after lovemaking to celebrate a possible conception. Alcohol interferes with implantation of the fertilized egg. Women must not drink alcohol after ovulation, until their next period or until the end of pregnancy. Also, women should avoid evening primrose oil, also known as EPO, taken to reduce inflammation and improve cervical mucus during the first half of the period, because EPO can induce uterine contractions which could, at least in theory, interfere with the implantation of the egg.

3. Dieting sometimes improves fertility. In women who fail to ovulate due to excessive testosterone levels, simply keeping blood sugar levels normal--no sweets, no large meals--lowers testosterone levels to enable conception, usually after 3 or 4 months of dieting. In men, cardiovascular health results in stronger erections and larger ejaculations. This can be accomplished by getting high blood pressure under control, by losing weight, or sometimes just by keeping blood sugar levels down by eating less. Both partners may help each other eat sensible portions of healthy food.

4. Inflammation is the enemy of conception. In women, one manifestation of inflammation is thick, dry, or brown cervical mucus. When women eat an anti-inflammation diet, the cervical mucus becomes thinner and "stretchy," propelling the sperm down the cervix. In men, inflammation may interfere with the "plumbing" that delivers sperm into the ejaculate. The key to an anti-inflammatory diet is to eat less sugar and fewer highly processed carbohydrates (instant cereals, instant mashed potatoes, instant rice, breakfast cereals, commercially baked bread, donuts, cake, cookies, and so on) and fewer foods that contain arachidonic acid (beef, eggs, luncheon meat, ham, bacon, and margarine). It also helps to eat small amounts of healthy fat. Whole almonds are helpful, as are stanol margarines, olive oil, cold-water fish, grapeseed oil, and most organic nuts and seeds. Couples who enjoy these foods together help each other achieve conception.

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