If you have decided to self-prescribe to optimise your fertility, are you really sure that it is the best thing to do?
In today’s world where almost everything is accessible with just a click, you will come across information about supplements that may help you become more fertile. It is definitely easy to think that you are well-equipped with knowledge about these supplements that you can just go buy and take them without any professional assistance.
Self-prescription is a practice that we strongly advise you to NOT do at all. It has risks that you do not want to impose upon yourself, especially if you are really wanting to have your own healthy baby.
7 risks of self-prescription
Aside from obtaining counterfeit medications and expired drugs, here are the 7 reasons why you should never self-prescribe on your fertility journey:
- It invariably leads you to take the wrong supplements for your specific situation, so you end up wasting precious time and money.
- Supplements you buy over the counter (in a supermarket, pharmacy, health food store, or online) without a specific prescription, often end up being “sugar lollies” — either they have no effect or they have the wrong effect.[1-3]
Read Concerns about fertility supplements for more insights regarding supplements not working as well as they should be.
- The wrong supplementation and herbal medicines can further exacerbate imbalances in your biochemistry, negatively impacting hormonal balance and thus egg and sperm quality as well — leading to further wasted time.
- If you are not working with a practitioner, you will not be able to know the newest and best formulations in the market.
This is what our team does — we are constantly changing the brands we use when better formulations come to existence. It is vital to stay up to date with the latest developments in science (based on clinical trials conducted around the world). For expert advice on supplementation, click here.
However, for the most part, prospective parents do not have access to appropriate practitioner-only products because they require a practitioner’s prescription. It is certainly easy to fall into the trap of not knowing what is actually the best for you.
- Different situations can require drastically different approaches and clinically meaningful formulations with significantly disparate therapeutic doses. You will not be able to figure these out on your own.[5,6]
- You will not be able to discern good versus bad quality products and/or ingredient-form variations within products.
Some over-the-counter products use more excipients than active ingredients and many are less-than-health-promoting adjuncts such as petroleum derivatives and other industrial chemicals like acetone, ammonia, and formaldehyde.
They are all incredibly toxic endocrine-disrupting chemicals.[7-10]
- Typically, the cheaper the supplement, the less effective it is. A classic case of “you get what you pay for.”
Asking for supplement recommendation
Inquiring about supplements which can increase your chances of taking home a healthy baby is reasonable enough. However, the answer is less than straightforward, and it is important enough that it gets its own day on the Fertility Challenge™. Read How to choose good quality supplementation and herbal medicines for more insights.
Supplementation is one of the very important pillars of our 11 Pillars of Fertility Foundations™. However, each of us has varying symptoms, predispositions, and genetic makeup that require different prescriptions.
Therefore, before we even make the first recommendation about what supplements someone should start or stop taking, we must undertake the first step of the F.E.R.T.I.L.E. Method® in its entirety.
Before our team can prescribe, even something as simple as a multivitamin, each couple must first complete and submit our 48-page Health and Fertility Appraisal questionnaire, Fertility Scorecard which is our online diagnostic quiz with over 100 questions, and all of the test results they have on hand over the last two years at least.
Once we have all this information, we put together a ‘minor factors’ report to understand exactly what we are dealing with in each case. To get to this stage, as a team, we will invest 5-6 hours approximately in understanding each couple’s fertility situation.
The next step is what we call a fertility alignment, during which we spend another 1-2 hours asking both partners even more specific questions to gain further distinctions in their particular case. Within 8 hours, we should have the information necessary to make an initial supplement recommendation, finalise prescriptions, and deliver these to our patients along with our reasoning.
And it does not end there. At each session, during a couple’s participation in our program, we investigate, observe, and make changes — large or small as required, to their prescription. This is not a static process of setting and forgetting — it evolves with each case and the patients’ results along the way.
This is why when we are asked “What fertility supplements do you recommend?” we can not just rattle off an answer that, in our opinion, will do them any service. We take our duty of care seriously which is how we achieve results with our patients.
Fertility supplements for fertility success
These supplements contain vitamins, antioxidants, and other substances that may optimize both male and female fertility.
However, these aid in fertility success — only when proper diagnosis and evaluation took place beforehand and in combination with other ways to boost fertility.
Remember that these supplements do not have 100% proven fertility treatment success backed up by numerous studies. Yes, they have the potential which is why they are sort of a “means to an end” only.
Taking fertility supplements is not a black-and-white arena since each supplement induces certain reactions once they interact with other supplements and medications. It is an aspect of your fertility journey that must be treated with the utmost deliberation. Read Optimal nutrition for fertility for more insights.
For your own safety, do not self-prescribe — not just for your fertility, but in every other aspect of your health. Seek help from professionals who know what they are doing, so you are completely on the right track towards your desired outcome of having a healthy baby.
For more information about supplementation on the fertility journey, take a look at the following related resources:
Nutritional supplements: Should you or shouldn’t you? | How to remember to take your supplements | Herbs, supplements, and essential oils | Supplements after cutting out dairy and gluten | Vitamin D supplementation
 Albert, S.M., et al. Promoting safe and effective use of OTC medications: CHPA-GSA National Summit. Gastroenterologist, 2014. 54(6). PMID: 24846884.
 Jackowski, S.A., et al. Oxidation levels of North American over-the-counter n-3 (omega-3) supplements and the influence of supplement formulation and delivery form on evaluating oxidative safety. Journal of Nutritional Science, 2015. 4. PMID: 26688721.
 Mohseni, M., et al. Prevalence and Reasons of Self-Medication in Pregnant Women: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. International Journal of Community Based Nursing and Midwifery, 2018. 6(4). PMID: 30465000.
 Ruiz, M.E. Risks of self-medication practices. Current Drug Safety, 2010. 5(4). PMID: 20615179.
 Birkhäuer, J., et al. Trust in the health care professional and health outcome: A meta-analysis. PLoS One, 2017. 12(2). PMID: 28170443.
 Mathur, S., et al. Personalized medicine could transform healthcare. Biomedical Reports, 2017. 7(1). PMID: 28685051.
 Kelley, K.E., et al. Identification of Phthalates in Medications and Dietary Supplement Formulations in the United States and Canada. Environmental Health Perspectives, 2012. 120(3). PMID: 22169271.
 Kumar, A., et al. The mystery ingredients: sweeteners, flavorings, dyes, and preservatives in analgesic/antipyretic, antihistamine/decongestant, cough and cold, antidiarrheal, and liquid theophylline preparations. Pediatrics, 1993. 91(5). PMID: 7682684.
 Napke, E., et al. Excipients and additives: hidden hazards in drug products and in product substitution. Canadian Medical Association Journal, 1984. 131(12). PMID: 6498699.
 What are excipients doing in medicinal products? Drug and Therapeutics Bulletin, 2009. 47(7). PMID: 19567843.