10 Tips to Boost Your Fertility for Both Sexes

If you're considering adding a bundle of joy to your family, you may be in for a surprise to find that getting pregnant isn't necessarily as easy it seems. Still, there are plenty of low-tech ways that you and your partner can increase the odds of becoming parents.

Here are the top 10 ways to increase your chances of getting pregnant, provided by Carolyn Westhoff, MD, medical director of the Family Planning Clinic at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia in New York City, Matthew Cohen, MD, director of reproductive endocrinology at Long Island Jewish Medical Center in Queens, New York, and Millicent Comrie, MD, vice chairman of the OB/GYN department at Long Island College Hospital in New York City.

1. If you smoke, quit now. "Smoking kills your eggs," says Westhoff. It also increases the risk of an ectopic pregnancy. And it's not just a woman who's at risk if she smokes. "Smoking can affect the sperm, too," Cohen says. If need be, get help in the form of the patch or counseling so you can kick the habit once and for all.

2. Watch the temperature. Men should keep in mind that temperature plays a big role in how well their sperm performs. "It's an unfortunate part of biology that the testicles are outside the body since they're more prone to injury, but there's a reason for that," Cohen says. "They need to be several degrees cooler than the body in order for the sperm to work." To keep your sperm at the ideal temperature, avoid hot saunas, and don't sit in a hot tub or a steam bath.

3. Men, avoid wearing tight underwear and switch to boxers instead, recommends Cohen, since these press the testicles closer to the body, where it's warmer. And if you bike, avoid wearing really tight bike shorts. "That doesn't mean all bikers have infertility, but it could increase the risk of infertility for someone who's already having a problem," Cohen says.

4. If you're overweight or obese, lose weight. Maintaining a healthy weight can help a person's fertility, Cohen says.

5. Don't drink heavily. "It can affect the liver and this can affect sperm function," Cohen says. "An occasional glass of beer or wine with friends is okay, but alcoholism and heavy drinking are associated with male infertility."

6. Get checked to make sure you don't have an STD such as chlamydia or gonorrhea, Westhoff says. "Sometimes a woman may not even know she has an STD until years later when the doctor checks her tubes and find out that they're blocked," Cohen adds.

7. Don't wait too long to try for a baby. Fertility starts to decrease in the mid 30s and by age 40, your chances for a baby are a lot smaller than they were at age 25.

8. Abstain from having sex until three days before ovulation to maximize the number of sperm at your most fertile time, Comrie says. This way the semen will contain a larger volume of sperm than if you were having sex every night.

9. Eat a well-balanced diet. "A healthy diet boosts fertility," Comrie says.

10. Mind your sleeping positions. After sex, a woman who's been told that she has a tipped, or tilted, uterus should lie on her tummy rather than her back. "Then the semen will go right to the cervix, which is the conduit that takes the sperm to meet the egg," Comrie explains.