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How can you try to boost your fertility?

There are many things ladies and men can do to boost their fertility. Many have found the book “It starts with the egg” by Rebecca Fett a good reference to understand what to avoid and what supplements to take if you are trying to conceive naturally. While the list below is by no means exhaustive, what might affect most might not affect you and vice versa.

Things to do or increase

A healthy lifestyle tends to improve fertility. The following are some healthy ways to improve your lifestyle:


  • If you smoke, quitting will improve your chances of a successful pregnancy

  • Reduce consumption of alcohol and caffeine

  • Follow a healthy diet, such as the Mediterranean diet, that is rich in green leafy vegetables, fruit, healthy unsaturated fats and oils, legumes, lean meat, and seafood proteins, together with low-glycemic (slower to digest) whole-grain carbohydrates and avoiding processed foods can help to improve fertility by reducing hormonal disruptions and inflammation in the body. 

  • As being overweight or underweight has been associated with infertility, achieving your ideal weight helps to better your chances of getting pregnant. The amount of fat stored in the female body has an influence over menstrual function.

  • Exercise moderately. Increasing physical activity not only can help to lose weight (if you are overweight), but it also can help to increase energy levels and promote cell renewal. However, moderation is key. Excessive high intensity exercise can decrease fertility in some men and women.

  • Another surprising factor that may impact your chance of conceiving and carrying to term is the health of your teeth. Gum disease is caused by bacteria building up between the teeth and gums, causing soreness and sometimes bleeding. Bacteria from gum infections can potentially travel into the amniotic fluid and cause a local immune response. This increases the risk of miscarriage or premature birth.

  • Take time to relax. Stress has been shown to be linked to lower fertility, possibly due to the hormonal changes that occur when you feel stressed.

In addition to lifestyle changes, taking supplements can help to ensure that your body has all the nutrients it needs. Start taking the supplements as soon as possible (preferably 3 months before you start trying for a family). Most supplements can continue to be taken until after your baby is born, stopping only when you have chosen to stop nursing.


  • A multivitamin, especially one that is suitable as a prenatal vitamin for ladies, not only helps to prevent birth defects (such as folate in preventing spinal defects), but also helps to restore the function of the ovaries and boost egg quality. Some vitamins can also reduce the risk of miscarriage. Prenatal vitamins are also available for men. These vitamins for men are formulated to support healthy sperm production. They often contain supplements such as zinc, selenium, Vitamin C and Vitamin E.

  • Folate or folic acid is a B vitamin that the body needs and its deficiency can affect egg quality. Folate is an important vitamin for making new copies of DNA, for cell division and development. These processes play huge roles in early pregnancy by encouraging proper cell division and growth, reducing risks of miscarriage and birth defects.

  • Iron supplements can improve ovarian functions. Taking iron with vitamin C helps to increase its absorption. Some experience nausea or digestive issues from taking iron tablets and this can be prevented by taking chelated iron, or iron supplements that are labeled “easy to absorb”.

  • Vitamin D is produced in the body by cells in the skin when we are exposed to sunlight. With increased use of sunblock, we can inadvertently be deficient to Vitamin D. Taking a Vitamin D supplement of at least 2,000 international units (IU) can help. Alternatively, get more sun exposure, in the mornings or evenings, but avoid the harsh sun of the afternoon.

  • Other supplements that are good for pregnancy are Vitamins B12 and B6 that help in boosting fertility by increasing cellular function. Vitamins A, C and E, Coenzyme Q10 are known antioxidants that can help to prevent oxidative damage to eggs and are generally good for health. Zinc, Selenium and iodine can help with proper thyroid function. 

Things to avoid or reduce

In addition to building up the body through healthy lifestyles and supplements, it’s also important to reduce exposure to toxins that we are exposed to in our environments.

  • Bisphenol A (BPA) can interfere with the activity of estrogen, testosterone, thyroid hormones, and insulin, all of which can affect egg development and fertility. BPA can be avoided by reducing the use of plastics, canned food and drinks, and paper receipts. BPA most often enters the body when people consume food and drinks that have been packaged or stored in a material that leaches BPA. Small amounts can also be absorbed through the skin from contact with products coated with BPA, such as thermal paper receipts. By either path, BPA makes its way into the bloodstream and then into various tissues. To reduce the inadvertent exposure to BPA, wash your hands immediately after handling, particularly before eating.

  • Phthalates are known reproductive toxins often found in fabric softeners, cleaning products, cosmetics, nail polish, and fragrances. They can also be found in soft, flexible plastics such as polyvinyl chloride (PVC). They can be absorbed through the skin or inhaled from the air. Research has shown that phthalates can interfere with healthy egg development and impair embryo survival. To avoid phthalates, choose products that are made with plant-based natural ingredients, labeled “phthalate-free” or look at the ingredient list to check for the word “phthalate” buried in a long chemical name, such as di-n-butylphthalate (DBP) or diethyl phthalate (DEP).

  • Taking less simple carbohydrates and sugars can help to balance blood sugar and insulin levels. As diabetes can affect fertility, eating more complex carbohydrates can prevent sugar spikes in our blood, preventing the sugar and insulin from disrupting the balance of hormones that regulate the reproductive system. Evidence suggests that this hormonal imbalance caused by sugar and insulin is a possible cause of PCOS.

  • Trans fats are often found in commercial baked and fried foods, such as doughnuts and cookies. As trans fats are linked to a variety of health problems, it is important to be careful with it. Look at the ingredient list to spot “hydrogenated” or “partially hydrogenated” oil (code for trans fat) in addition to “0g trans fat” in the nutrition label.

  • Reduce exposure to heavy metals, such as lead, arsenic, cadmium, and mercury.

  • Mercury can be present in seafood, especially fish. Choose fish that have a lower likelihood of having mercury such as salmon, shrimp, cod, and sardines. Larger fish, such as shark, swordfish and king mackerel tend to have higher levels of mercury.

  • As for lead, arsenic, and cadmium, if your job does not expose you to these chemicals, exposure to them is rare as Singapore has strict exposure controls in place. Singapore's water distribution network also does not use lead or lead jointing..

  • Heavy metals are naturally occurring contaminants. It is not possible to eliminate them from our food entirely, hence limits are set by the Singapore Food Agency based on internationally accepted limits.

  • Men may want to avoid keeping their cell phones in their pockets to reduce the exposure of their sexual organs to radiation.

  • As elevated temperatures can impair sperm production, men can also consider avoiding hot showers or soaking in hot tubs, saunas, and jacuzzis.

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