Couples seeking fertility treatment can be bombarded with contradictory advice on how best to conceive, but half of the battle is separating science from old wives’ tales.
As research reveals that women living near the Cerne Abbas Giant are more fertile than the national average, here are five other unlikely remedies to boost fertility.
Boxers vs Briefs
One of the most commonly feted pearls of wisdom relating to fertility is that a man should wear boxer shorts rather than briefs to boost his sexual potency.
The circulation of air around the reproductive organs, it is suggested, boosts sperm production by preventing the area from overheating – an idea dismissed out of hand as a myth by fertility experts…
Herbs or hoaxes?
Natural remedy enthusiasts claim a whole host of herbs can enhance one’s fertility, from the humble stinging nettle to the aptly-named Dong Quai, a Chinese plant that supposedly improves the chances of embryo implantation.
Other remedies suggested by advocates of alternative medicine, which many mothers swear by, include False Unicorn Root, which allegedly stimulates ovulation, and Raspberry Leaf, which is claimed to “tone” the uterus.
Grapefruit juice is said to have a thinning effect on cervical mucus in the same way that cough syrup clears the throat, therefore clearing the sperm’s passage to the egg.
Clinical evidence to support this notion may be somewhat lacking, but the juice is high in vitamins so it’s a winner either way.
Raising the bottom
One tip offered to desperate would-be-mothers is that they should lie back and lift their bottom into the air following sex, to increase the chance of sperm fertilising the egg.
This myth comes unhinged due to the fact sperm cells are chemically programmed to travel in the right direction, and any that need a push in the right direction are unlikely to be of much use.
A Japanese ritual carried out in the fertility festival of Hounen Matsuri sees townspeople parade through the streets carrying a gigantic wooden phallus.
Traditional wisdom said this would increase the residents’ fertility as well as helping crops grow, and the appeal of running amok with a giant wooden penis has ensured that the ceremony is still performed today.