I'd really like to be able to give my patients an easy how-to for getting around their fertility issues. And people who are desperate to finally get pregnant and become parents are easy prey to reputed quick fixes. Fortunately, long gone are the old days of the tonic seller with ridiculous promises. But today's marketing techniques, finely-tuned with psychological research data, can be pretty convincing even to educated fertility consumers.
Take the idea of fertility supplements.
Granted, research studies linking nutrition and fertility have boomed in the last few years. What you eat is indeed a key factor in how you feel and how your body functions, even when it comes to fertility. Every qualified dietitian will tell you that the best source of health-promoting nutrients is food. Supplements are considered a back-up plan, and in some cases, their effectiveness is unproven.
In a Los Angeles Times article, Chris Woolston, aka The Healthy Skeptic, discusses two popular supplements: FertilAid for Men and FertilityBlend for Men. Both are promoted as providing nutritional enhancement for male fertility, specifically, sperm motility and count.
It's a good article that balances the claims of the supplements' makers with commentary by male fertility specialists. The important take-away message that eager-to-be-dads need to hear: supplements can be good for your health, but they aren't miracle cures.
And by the way -- the very same can be said for women, supplements, and fertility.