How (and why) to improve male fertility?
There’s so much info out there for women and their fertility, but what about the men? What can your man do for his fertility? Men are often neglected when it comes to fertility care, but they are contributing half the DNA to this little embryo, so that’s no small deal. After all, it takes two to tango.
Studies show that for couples experiencing fertility issues, 50% of the time it's at least partially due to male factors.
Studies also show that over the last 40 years, male fertility has been on a steep decline.
And recent studies also show that male factors can be responsible for early pregnancy loss and miscarriages.
So please do not overlook this, and get your man tested. I too often see the women assuming all the responsibility, getting all the testing, doing all the things, taking all the supplements, going to all the appointments… and her male partner hasn’t even been checked out yet. Don’t make that mistake of overlooking your man’s sperm health.
How to test sperm quality at home
There is an at-home test kit you can use to easily get your male partner tested: https://www.meetfellow.com/ It’s $189 and thorough, takes 10 days to get results, and comes with a full and easy-to-understand report.
How to improve sperm count and quality
Here’s the thing… if your man does come back with reports of sperm quality issues, the great news is that this can usually be fixed pretty easily! Not all of the time, but most of the time.
Unlike for women, born with all the eggs we’re ever going to have, men are constantly making new sperm. And the process of spermatogenesis (the process of a sperm cell developing and fully maturing) takes about 70-90 days. So in three months, with some key lifestyle tweaks, your man could really improve his sperm quality and fertility quickly by making some lifestyle adjustments.
Here's what to do, in 7 steps, to have perfect, healthy sperm:
1. Avoid over-heating – saunas, hot tubs, tight underwear, or bike shorts. A little shift in temperature can make a big difference for sperm, and heat damages the sperm, this is why the sperm are held in testicles away from the heat of the body, actually. Studies show that just a 2 degree rise in temperature damages sperm significantly.
2. Avoid fried foods – these are cooked in oils that are very inflammatory and damage the sperm.
3. Avoid smoking – both nicotine and marijuana – which damage the sperm.
4. Minimize alcohol – I recommend no more than 3 drinks a week for men.
5. Support adrenal and hormonal health – make sure they’re getting adequate sleep and not over-working themselves.
6. Eat a diet full of antioxidants – seminal fluid is actually made up of antioxidants that nourish and protect the sperm. Studies show that a diet high in antioxidants is good for sperm. Antioxidants basically fight inflammation and free radicals that can damage our cells, and especially sperm cells. So you want to eat a diet full of whole foods, rich in good healthy fats, lots of veggies and healthy proteins. It’s basically the same as a fertility diet for a woman!
Toss those unhealthy oils, don’t even keep them in your house – no canola oil, grapeseed oil, etc… only use olive oil, avocado oil, coconut oil, or butter or ghee. Take out the crap, the refined sugar… all things that come in a wrapper or a box that you have to pop open. Anything that’s made in a factory and not grown from the earth. If you'd like more detail about what to eat, in the Becoming Mama program I lay out a detailed 4-week meal plan with recipes and shopping lists that’s incredibly supportive of fertility for both women and men.
7. Supplement smartly – many nutrients have been shown in studies to be powerfully beneficial for sperm. Here are my favorites:
- CoQ10 – 200mg/day- is a powerful antioxidant that studies have shown support sperm health.
- Supplementing with Vitamin C – 1,000 mg a day - has been shown in studies to be supportive of sperm health.
- Ashwagandha – 225mg 3x/day - has been shown in studies to improve sperm count, motility, and testosterone.
- Selenium has been shown to support sperm morphology, so the shape of the sperm. I recommend eating one brazil nut a day to get adequate selenium in your diet.
- I recommend also supplementing with a phytonutrient green powder. I like Phytoganix from Metagenics.
Do all this for at least three months, and then you can re-test his sperm and/or resume trying again. I do recommend taking a break from TTC while you work on supporting your egg and sperm quality, this can help reduce this risk of miscarriage and increase the chances of getting pregnant quickly, easily, and healthfully when you do start trying again, once your body and fertility have been primed for fertility.
I hope you have a beautiful day, and remember, your fertile health is a daily practice.