They say it takes two to tango ….
And the same can be said when it comes to making a baby!
When a couple decides that it’s time to expand their family and bring a new babe into the world, the woman tends to become the focus. She’s the one taking prenatal vitamins, monitoring her ovulation + fertile window, and she’ll be the one growing the babe in her womb …
The journey to parenthood isn’t one-sided.
And, let’s be honest, you’re gonna need your baby daddy for more than just his sperm.
From an emotional standpoint, men can struggle with being on a fertility journey just as many women do. And, while you may not hear men discussing it openly, fertility struggles can be just as stressful and disappointing for men as they are for women.
Fertility issues are not specific only to the female sex; in fact, it’s been documented that infertility affects both men and women equally. While female fertility issues are discussed more freely and openly, male fertility is just as important to address.
So, how can you support HIM while on your fertility journey?
Here are a few of my favorite ways for your man to fuel his fertility.
Focus on eating real, whole, fresh food that you cook together, primarily at home. This will help protect and positively impact his sperm health. Studies overwhelmingly show that men who follow a nutrient-dense, high quality diet had the highest total sperm counts, and a better hormonal profile concerning hormonal regulators of fertility. Be sure to incorporate the following into your daily diets:
Wild Caught Fish + Seafood: salmon, mackerel, herring, halibut, shellfish, oysters, cod, tuna, flounder, sardines, hake, skate, trout, red snapper. Wild caught fish + seafood contain the largest amount of omega-3’s of all food sources. A robust intake of omega-3 fatty acids is essential for healthy sperm.
100% Organic, Grass-Fed/ Grass-Finished, Pasture-Raised Meat: beef, wild game, bison, lamb, pork, duck, goose, Cornish game hen, chicken and turkey. High quality meat contains zinc, carnitine and iron – all of which are important for sperm. Zinc is considered one of the most important trace minerals to date for male fertility; increasing zinc levels in infertile men has been shown to boost sperm levels, improve the form, function and quality of male sperm, and decrease male infertility.
Fats + Oils: Organic, grass-fed butter and ghee, egg yolks from pastured chickens, animal fats from clean/organic animals (lard, tallow, duck fat, bacon grease, etc), wild caught fatty fish and seafood, avocados, extra-virgin olive oil, olives, and raw + unrefined coconut products. I always tell clients that sperm are like little flying fat torpedoes and the quantity, type + quality of fats a man eats is directly reflected in what his body will use to make his little swimmers!
Fruits: Focus on the low-sugar fruits including all kinds of berries, nectarines, plums, apricots, cantaloupe, grapefruit, lemons and limes. Choose organic, local and in-season as often as possible.
Vegetables: kale, spinach, Swiss chard, lettuces, broccoli, cabbage, kale, turnips, arugula, cauliflower, brussels sprouts, watercress. Choose organic, local and in-season as often as possible.
In addition to eating a nutrient-dense, whole food diet, in our modern day it’s equally important to supplement the most critical nutrients to ensure that his body has sufficient levels in order to promote high quality sperm that can get the job done. There a TON of options when it comes to male fertility supplements, but I’ve narrowed down my top 6 to incorporate:
Complete Multi without Copper and Iron: Complete Multi is a full-spectrum multivitamin with chelated minerals for maximum absorption and bioavailability. This powerhouse multivitamin supplies supporting nutrients not normally found in regular multis, such as alpha lipoic acid, trimethylglycine, fruit bioflavanoids, choline, and inositol. This formula also contains vitamin E, high levels of all B vitamins, and natural mixed carotenoids (vitamin A). All nutrients are delivered in the most bioavailable form possible, so you’re actually absorbing what you’re taking! [Take 3 capsules, twice daily]
Omega TG1000: Omega-3 essential fatty acids ensure a healthy sperm membrane, which is required for proper sperm maturation. Sperm cell membranes contain high amounts of omega-3 fatty acids, which are required for optimal sperm cell flexibility and movement. Because omega-3 DHA is the most abundant fatty acid found in the membranes of sperm cells, it is believed to play a dominant role in sperm performance. Studies show men with fertility problems tend to have lower levels of omega-3s in their blood and seminal fluid, while on the other hand, a healthy omega-3 status results in higher antioxidant activity in semen fluid and therefore enhanced sperm count, sperm motility, and sperm morphology. [Take 1 capsule, twice daily]
Detox Antiox: Detox Antiox synergistically combines many nutrients that have a positive effect on sperm health, including zinc, vitamin C, E, selenium, and other potent antioxidants. Adequate zinc intake is important for the creation of the outer membrane and tail of a sperm. Sperm utilize zinc for maturation, mobility and strength. Zinc is also necessary for hormone balance. Vitamin C has been shown to improve sperm quality and protect sperm from DNA damage; helping to reduce the chance of miscarriage and chromosomal problems. Vitamin C also appears to keep sperm from clumping together, making them more motile. Selenium is necessary for proper sperm formation. This formula also contains multiple ingredients known to raise glutathione levels making it helpful for protecting delicate sperm cells by combatting free radicals and detoxifying harmful chemicals including heavy metals. L-Leucine when taken with NAC prevents mercury from being reabsorbed into the central nervous system which can be damaging to sperm. [Take 1 capsule, twice daily]
CoQnol Ubiquinol 100mg: CoQnol contains ubiquinol, the reduced, antioxidant form of CoQ10. As an antioxidant, coQ10 increases fertility, especially in men. CoQ10 improves sperm motility and is especially useful for men with poor sperm quality. CoQ10 is necessary for a healthy sperm cell membrane and energy (forward movement). It is also protective of sperm cells and protects the important genetic codes they carry (DNA) for creation of a healthy child. [Take 1 capsule, twice daily]
L-Arginine: Researchers have discovered that Arginine regulates nitric oxide, a powerful compound in the blood responsible for regulating blood flow, immune function, communication among nerve cells, liver function, blood clotting, and even sexual arousal. Arginine acts as a natural Viagra – improving erectile function and increasing the quantity of sperm (by up to 250%). Arginine also improves sperm motility + health. [Take 1 capsule, twice daily]
Carnitine Synergy: L-Carnitine has been shown to help normalize sperm motility (how well they swim) in men with low sperm quality. L-Carnitine helps sperm to metabolize fats and sugars for energy, and is vital for the formation of sperm cells. L-Carnitine stimulates the natural production of sperm, and the higher the sperm-cell count, the higher the chances for fertilization. Not only does L-Carnitine increase sperm levels, but it also enhances the sperm’s motility and improves the health of the sperm cells. [Take 1 capsule, twice daily]
N-Acetyl-Cysteine: NAC offers major support for sperm quality. In a recent study, NAC was shown to significantly increase both sperm count and motility in men with abnormal sperm parameters given 600 mg oral NAC for 3 months. Morphology and DNA fragmentation also improved. [Take 1 capsule, twice daily]
Real talk – alcohol and caffeine negatively affect both male and female fertility … so why not get sober together?
Research has shown that moderate caffeine consumption has no negative influence on sperm count or quality, but reasonable consumption is 300 milligrams, or only about two cups of coffee. If your man is a coffee lover and enjoys more than a cup or two of coffee per day, the excess caffeine could have an adverse effect – a 2017 study in Nutrition Journal revealed that men who drink more than four cups of coffee a day have a higher proportion of abnormally shaped sperm.
The other thing to remember regarding coffee is quality matters! Coffee beans are one of the most heavily pesticide-sprayed crops so make sure you’re ALWAYS buying organic, shade-grown, high quality coffee beans and brewing yourself at home.
Excess alcohol intake affects alllllllll aspects of male fertility. Consuming too much alcohol has the ability to:
So … herbal tea and virgin gin and tonic anyone?
I’m not sayin’ don’t let things get hot and heavy! 😉
While many people consider this an old wives tale, heat has a huge impact on his little swimmers. The testicles need to keep the sperm at a healthy temperature (which is less than the body’s temperature). It is thought that this may be in part why the male reproductive organs are external. Increased temperatures around testicles can impact sperm production.
To keep his testes cool as a cucumber, avoid the following:
If your dude is a hardcore cyclist, he should also be aware that riding a bike more than two hours a day, six days a week could negatively affect sperm health. Get him to take frequent breaks and get those bike shorts off IMMEDIATELY after a ride.
Consistent, adequate, and unmedicated sleep is critical in improving sperm health, and it’s something that I cannot stress enough. Research shows that insufficient sleep (less than 6 hours) and going to bed after 10pm is associated with reduced sperm count, poor motility, and low sperm-survival rates.
Testosterone is crucial for reproduction and the majority of daily testosterone release in men occurs during sleep. So consistently staying up late and not getting enough rest absolutely negatively impacts sperm health – a reason why good sleep hygiene practices are a must for couples trying to get pregnant. I encourage you to spend some time winding down together a few hours before bedtime, and ensure that all distractions are removed from your bedroom. Get off all devices at least an hour before bed, make sure your bedroom is pitch black, adjust the temperature so you’re both comfortable, and NO TV WATCHING in the bedroom!
You know what else will help him sleep? A good ol’ orgasm ;).
For more tips on getting the best sleep possible, be sure to check out My Top 10 Tips to Get a Better Sleep Tonight.
Ok, hear me out. I know stress isn’t something you can just eliminate overnight BUT what I am saying is that there are certain things you can help him with to decrease stress levels over time.
Make sure he knows you’re in this together. Seriously, chat it out. If you and your partner have been trying to conceive for a while unsuccessfully, he may not be sharing these details with his family and friends. You may be his only person who can lend an ear. If he is open to talking about how the fertility journey is affecting him, listen with an open mind.
Don’t put too much pressure on sexy time during your fertility window. The reality is, you’re more likely to know when you’re fertile than he is. So when the time comes to do the dirty, don’t make it feel transactional. Have fun. Make it sexy. I don’t want to hear about any wham, bam, thank you ma’am moments!
Exercise (and sex!) are great ways to destress, and optimize fertility for both of you! Find some sort of movement that you enjoy together, and do it often. Sweat it out … between the sheets AND outside.
If you and your partner are not seeing those two pink lines after multiple pregnancy attempts, I’d recommend both hormone testing and a semen analysis to confirm that there are no underlying male-factor issues. Ultimately, a little knowledge can save you both a lot of time and emotional turmoil on your journey.
By taking a simple, non-invasive, at-home hormone test, your man can get a better idea of how healthy his sperm is. The test can be performed in the privacy of your home and does not require a doctor’s visit!
The Comprehensive Male Fertility Hormone Profile measures key hormones related to all aspects of his fertility. This powerful test measures 9 key hormones including reproductive, adrenal AND thyroid hormones and will indicate whether his levels are normal, high or low which allows us to properly treat what is out of balance.
You can find my favorite hormone test here: At-Home Comprehensive Fertility Hormone Testing.
The fertility journey affects both the male and the female partner, yet sometimes the emphasis on change and responsibility is directed primarily towards the female. Helping your man through this trying time by following these tips can help make the journey a little more easy (and enjoyable!) to navigate.
Oh! And I have one more thing to share – if you’re lookin’ to brush up on your facts about the specifics of male fertility and everything that goes along with it, check out another one of my blog posts – The Male Factor.
And, as always, if you’re in need of additional 1:1 support, reach out! I offer consultations for couples trying to conceive and this can be an incredibly important and worthwhile step on your journey to baby. You can find a time that works for you both here.