Why the myth of "boosting fertility" can be damaging

Why the myth of "boosting fertility" can be damaging

If you’re trying to get pregnant, there are hundreds of products available that promise to make you more fertile. From pills to yoga positions, there is little scientific proof to back up these methods. 

Although Health Canada does provide some regulation for natural health products, they came under fire in 2015 for approving products too quickly. 

“People are spending millions of dollars on these products every year and most of them have no evidence of efficacy,” chairman of the advocacy group Bad Science Watch Michael Kruse told CBC News. “They're being duped by a manufacturing lobby that really is focused on profit and not on the person's health.”

More recently, two Canadian companies selling fertility supplements were called out by an American watchdog. There was no scientific evidence that their products helped women conceive, according to the Center for Science in the Public Interest.  

Despite Canadian laws, which don’t allow natural health products to make explicit health claims such as “boosting fertility,” companies continue to use this kind of wording to promote their supplements and vitamins. 

Some early studies showed Vitamin C could help improve male and female fertility. Other studies, on folic acid for example, revealed the possibility of improving sperm count. However, the conclusion was that more research is needed. In some cases, excessive use of a substance can even possibly be harmful, like antioxidant therapy for men hoping to conceive. 

Many people still decide to use “fertility boosters” because compared to other treatments, like IVF, they are affordable. 

“Supplement manufacturers marketing fertility aids are making promises on which they can’t deliver,” Center for Science in the Public Interest president Dr. Peter G. Lurie told CTV News. “They are selling false hope. They are preying on a vulnerable population. And they are diverting women away from treatments that actually have FDA approval and scientific evidence of effectiveness.”

When it comes to promises of fertility, it’s better to be on the safe side. Your doctor and healthcare practitioners are the best people to ask when it comes to what you put in your body. You can always get a second (or third) opinion. But make sure you read the label and do your own research before reaching for a product that claims it can get you pregnant.

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