Supplements give hope to prospective parents, concern for doctor - WAFF-TV: News, Weather and Sports for Huntsville, AL

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Supplements give hope to prospective parents, concern for doctors

There are a growing number of products on the market claiming to help make it easier for women to get pregnant - but some have doctors concerned. (Source: WAFF file) There are a growing number of products on the market claiming to help make it easier for women to get pregnant - but some have doctors concerned. (Source: WAFF file)
HUNTSVILLE, AL (WAFF) -

There are a growing number of products on the market claiming to help make it easier for women to get pregnant - but some have doctors concerned.

Sheena and Kyle Barlow are ready to make an addition to their family, but after two years of trying...

"I am willing to try anything, anything that can help us get pregnant," said Barlow.

Sheena hoped to improve her odds with a fertility supplement. The pills are packed with amino acids and antioxidants, among other ingredients.

Manufacturers say they are designed to promote conception. Dr. Amos Grunebaum helped create the Fertilaid products for men and women. He claims the supplements help improve the sperm count and thins cervical mucus, boosting baby-making odds.

"We have had many, many women who send us letters saying they were trying to get pregnant. They even saw their doctors and after they took our product they did actually do get pregnant much faster than they expected," said Grunebaum.

You can get them online and in some drug stores.

However, Dr. Jan Rydfors, the Chief Medical Advisor for the American Pregnancy Association, doesn't believe they'll be offered in your OBGYN offices any time soon.

"We don't have those kind of studies to prove that these supplements actually do what they claim to do. Most doctors want to wait for more robust studies to confirm that these things really do help before they offer them to patients," said Rydfors.

Fertility Dr. Brett Davenport at Huntsville Reproductive Medicine doesn't plan on offering them either, because of what's written right on the label.

"It was a proprietary blend, which basically means 'Here's the ingredients, but we are not going to really tell you how much of any of these are in there.' So we might put the absolute minimum amount of CoQ-10 in there and tell you that it's in there or they might not but who really knows and if they didn't have anything to be hiding then why would they be hiding it," said Davenport.

Although there is a lack of studies pertaining to amino acid supplements for women and the effect they have on getting pregnant, Dr. Grunebaum said some benefits are clear since they also include essential prenatal vitamins.

However, Dr. Davenport is still skeptical of its promises of optimizing your chances of conceiving.

"Will it help you get pregnant? Well, it will, but in a tricky way - because [there's] no more than the prenatal vitamin that's on the shelf, along with some antioxidants. But again, if you are exercising and eating a healthy diet, you probably don't even need these antioxidant supplements," said Davenport.

So why not just label them prenatal vitamins?

"Well, they can also charge about double the price for it and people buy it. 'Fertilaid' sounds a lot more appealing than 'prenatal vitamin,' doesn't it," said Davenport.

In the meantime, Sheena and Kyle are saving up for in-vitro fertilization, but are still willing to try out different options.

"I've learned that it is not as simple to get pregnant as I thought it would be," added Barlow.

The companies stress these are not intended for infertility issues, but are meant to be taken by women looking to get pregnant, to help prepare the body for pregnancy.

Both experts we spoke with said the best way to prepare your body is to be at your optimal weight, eat the right foods and time when you're ovulating.

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