The common herb vitex, for instance, lowers testosterone levels. This can be very helpful for a woman who has PCOS, but it can devastate male fertility. Men should not even handle vitex capsules or tinctures. Women who use vitex may see normalization of their periods and ovulation in 3 to 4 months, but no couple should keep using vitex longer than 6 months hoping it will work. Sometimes there are other issues, such as male fertility. Chemotherapy and chemical exposure are common problems in male fertility.
A Japanese herbal formula called hochu-ekki-to restores fertility in about half of men who still have live testicular tissue. It reduces inflammation so that sperm can travel to the prostate to be mixed with semen. In women, however, this herbal formula would have the opposite effect on fertility. Hochu-ekki-to is available as an over the counter product made by Honso USA, and as an herbal tea or capsule from practitioners of Traditional Chinese Medicine.
Sometimes women's infertility can be relieved by just losing 2 to 5 pounds by calorie restriction. A slight weight gain can restore the hormonal balance lost when there is PCOS (polycystic ovarian syndrome). When PCOS is the primary fertility issue, losing weight enables conception in about half of women who try it. Again, couples should not keep trying to conceive indefinitely if women's weight loss is the only intervention. If the technique does not work in six months, it is best to see a doctor for advice.
For some couples, all that is needed is different lovemaking technique, at least when the objective of lovemaking is conception. Conception is less likely when sexual intercourse follows foreplay. This is because foreplay causes the uterus to stretch out and rise in the woman's abdomen. This gives sperm a longer path to reach the egg. Conception is more likely when the man is on top. The missionary position forces the man's penis into a boomerang position that directs ejaculation in the direction of the recently released egg.