Centuries of scientific inquiry have successfully dispelled countless theories about biology and medicine over time, from mini humans living inside sperm to ailments explained away by imbalances in four bodily substances (called “humors” by the Romans).
One ancient belief, however, remains: that the right stone or crystal can heal almost any physical problem, including fertility issues. The internet is saturated with sites that recommend specific stones for specific reproductive purposes and places to buy them. But does this belief hold any scientific weight?
Here’s the takeaway: While there are plenty of totally valid reasons to buy stones and crystals (some people feel a healing energy from them, for example), there isn’t much science to back up their ability to treat infertility or other health issues. In instances where people do see positive results, they could actually be experiencing the placebo effect. Regardless of their efficacy, though, there’s no downside to having fertility crystals around — and they certainly don’t preclude anyone from seeking out more tried-and-true medical interventions if needed.
How do fertility crystals supposedly work? It’s all about energy
The first clear record of people using crystals for medicinal purposes pops up over 6,000 years ago in the Sumerian empire, and is seen later in the Roman, Greek, and Egyptian empires. Though the exact way people in these groups used crystals differed across space and time, the underlying belief of why crystals could be beneficial was similar.
According to the belief system around healing crystals as a form of alternative therapy, health issues can stem from problems in energy centers (often referred to as “chakras”) or energy flow in the body — and specific types of energy problems can be solved by specific types of crystals.
The story goes that each crystal has its own electromagnetic properties, which when kept close to the body, can nudge the body to correct any energy-related imbalances or blockages that are causing harm. Fertility crystals in particular tend to revolve around the heart chakra, root chakra (spine and pelvic floor), and sacral chakra (above the belly button).
Despite the lack of solid science, crystal healers and vendors recommend people use crystals and gemstones for different things related to reproductive health and fertility. The most suggested crystals include:
- Rose quartz
- Green aventurine
- Unakite, carnelian
- Ruby zoisite
Vendors will even sell sets of fertility stones or fertility bracelets for hyper-specific cases, like for people who are undergoing intrauterine insemination (IUI) or in-vitro fertilization (IVF) procedures, or for people with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). Though vendors often get away with making unproven claims, some have had to pay hefty fines for false advertisement (remember vaginal eggs?). (It’s also worthwhile to note that there are well-documented cases of worker exploitation by the vendors who source these stones.)
Here’s what the science says
Scientifically speaking, we can’t pinpoint where these claims came from because there are no published studies evaluating their validity — and this isn’t just the case for conditions tied to fertility. There are no scientific studies of the energy flow that crystals claim to fix (and no studies that suggest crystals fix energy blockages that purportedly cause harm). And when you look at the sites of crystal healers or vendors, there aren’t reputable bodies of evidence cited, or even systematically compiled sets of anecdotes (think qualitative surveys), to suggest these claims might be true.
There has been one study, though, evaluating the effect of crystals on physical sensations. In 2001, researchers recruited participants and gave half of them a real quartz crystal, and the other half a piece of glass designed to look like a quartz. Participants were asked to meditate for five minutes with the crystal and describe their feelings after. The physical sensations described by participants were the same in the real quartz and fake quartz groups, which isn’t necessarily what we’d expect if holding a block of quartz truly had healing properties.
What actually might be at play: the placebo effect
There are plenty of anecdotal reports of people who swear that fertility crystals helped them conceive, and this could be the result of a strong belief that they’ll work. People who buy fertility crystals may feel more supported, more at ease, and more optimistic because of them — and these feelings might in turn lead to changes in other emotions, behaviors, or physiology that then make conception a little more likely.
It’s also possible (but not super likely) that fertility crystals did actually play some tiny beneficial role through what we know as the placebo effect. In medicine, clinical trials will often compare a biologically active medicine to a biologically inactive one (like sugar pills or saline injections). This is done to understand how much of a medicine’s effect can be attributed to its biological action versus a person’s belief or expectation that the medication will work. The mind is a powerful organ.
While the placebo effect hasn’t been studied much in the context of fertility treatments (because of ethical issues), the realms it has been studied in suggest that people’s expectations can significantly increase the therapeutic benefits they report. (This is particularly the case in trials of antidepressants.)
Because placebo treatments, and belief that placebo treatments will work, can have effects on the brain, these changes in brain function may then impact downstream bodily processes. In this way, placebos may exert their indirect and unexpected effects. Scientists are mapping out the specific brain regions that are altered and activated by placebo treatments, and by the accompanying expectation that something will have a health benefit.
Still, these are only hypotheses — they haven’t been scientifically evaluated. Nor has alleged energy flow as a cause of infertility, or solving said problem with fertility crystals. In the majority of these cases, it’s likely coincidental if anyone conceived soon after using fertility crystals.
If placing crystals and stones around your home or around your wrist makes you feel more relaxed, or you just like the aesthetic, go for it! But in terms of their effectiveness on reproductive health and fertility, science doesn’t support that.
For personalized fertility info, the Modern Fertility Hormone Test measures the same hormones they would at a clinic to give you insight into factors like your ovarian reserve (egg count), menopause timing, and health conditions that may affect reproductive function. Your results can be a starting point for conversations with a healthcare provider (like an OB-GYN, reproductive endocrinologist, midwife, or nurse) so you can start mapping out your timeline for kids or thinking through your next steps.
This article was medically reviewed by Dr. Jenn Conti, MD, MS, MSc.