The product, which appears to be the first such herbal supplement made in the United States, is marketed by a company called Sal Nature LLC based in Buffalo, WY. The product has been in soft launch mode and is said to have “already helped thousands.”
Infertility is defined as not being able to become pregnant after one year of trying. According to statistics cited by the company, about 11% to 14% of couples will experience infertility at some point in their lives, with more than 30% of infertility issues stemming from "male-factor" infertility. “Male factor” infertility is seen as an alteration in sperm concentration and/or motility and/or morphology in at least one sample of two sperm analyzes, collected 1 and 4 weeks apart. Some recent measures show this incidence is increasing. According to one recent study, “In humans, it accounts for 40-50% of infertility and affects approximately 7% of all men. Male infertility is commonly due to deficiencies in the semen, and semen quality is used as a surrogate measure of male fecundity.”
Research backs individual components
FertilHerb’s business development director Dan Levine said the product formula was based on a wealth of research backing the effects of the product’s individual components on parameters of sperm health. The product is marketed as a dietary supplement that includes a suite of vitamins such as A, B12 and E and minerals such as selenium and zinc. The product also includes L-carnitine, Ayurvedic herbs such as Mucuna pruriens and ashwagandha, two different species of ginseng, CoQ10 and other ingredients.
Levine said the combination arose also in part from the experience of one of the co-founders, who found himself unable to conceive a child with his partner until hitting upon the formula.
“It’s a blend of vitamins and herbal ingredients which we understand to the most efficient to support sperm quality. We started delivering the product to customers in the second quarter of 2016,” he said.
The FertilHerb formula shares some ingredients with a competitor that has been on the market for a number of years called PROfertil. Ingredients such as L-carnitine, CoQ10, and selenium and vitamin E are common to both. PROfertil, which is marketed by Austrian company Lenus Pharma GmbH, is positioned as a medical food, and is sold at a significantly higher price point than where FertilHerb, which is being sold online, stands at the moment. Both companies advocate at least a 3-month course of supplementation, with the FertilHerb supplement coming in at slightly more than $90 for a three-month supply, while the asking price of PROfertil is more than three times that. PROfertil can however point to a study published in 2016 that compared the results of its eight-ingredient finished product formula to a treatment of L-carnitine alone in which the researchers said that, “Sperm density and motility was significantly better for the combined formulation.”Those results are significantly more muted than the results of a preliminary study on the product published in 2011 which did not have a placebo or mono-treatment component.