Let's Talk Male Fertility + 3 Ways to Boost His Chances of Becoming a Dad
Male fertility isn't something we chat about often here. Typically, we talk about the importance of the female mindset, health, and wellness in the fertility process. Considering how important his role is in the TTC process, male fertility and sperm quality is so important.
Okay, stick with me here. Have you watched Living with Yourself on Netflix? If you haven't seen it yet, it's a comedy-drama series featuring Paul Rudd highlighting the stresses of life, including the IVF process. If you've been through IVF, you're currently going through it, or you're considering it for the future, I highly recommend watching this series.
To summarize a small part of the plot, Paul Rudd's character Miles and his wife Kate plan to conceive a child for years. He delays and delays his clinic appointments because he is just so tired from other stressors in his life.
This show highlights a huge issue that we've been facing over the last 40 years. Male infertility plays a big role in the possibility of conception, and it's been dramatically declining. This blog post will share a quick overview of the research. It will also give you a few ideas of how you can help your partner boost his chances of becoming a father.
How Male Fertility Has Changed
Over the last 40 years, studies have shown that "the quality of sperm from men in North America, Europe and Australia has declined dramatically over the past 40 years, with a 52.4 percent drop in sperm concentration". (Washington Post, 2017)
Researchers looked at data involving 42,000 men around the world between the early 1970s and 2011, and studies confirm that male reproductive health has been declining. Their conclusions? Men in the early 1970s had an average concentration of 99 million per milliliter and men in 2011 dropped to 47 million per milliliter.
There are many factors that can be involved with decreasing sperm count including external factors like pesticides or X-rays, physical health like weight or use of alcohol, or psychological or emotional factors like stress or porn addiction. Ultimately, the number of men who are falling into the infertile and subfertile categories is increasing, and that is concerning for men's health overall.
How to Help with Male Infertility
When it comes to fertility, there are a few things you can do together to help your partner.
Work on healthy habits together.
When it comes to reproductive health, both you and your partner have to be in it together. If your end goal is to have children help each other start and maintain healthy habits from your diet to your sleep. Do it for the sake of drawing closer together and for your future.
Minimizing stress and feeling relaxed plays a huge factor in your ability to conceive and your overall health, so make sure you're getting into bed earlier than later. Enjoy an occasional cocktail or glass of wine, but avoid excessive consumption of alcohol. Make sure both of you are moving your bodies and getting your heart rates up. Get outside and soak up some Vitamin D. Make sure you're incorporating healthy fats and antioxidant-rich foods into your diet together.
Starting and maintaining healthy habits can play a huge role in your overall health. It'll not only be great for your reproductive health, but it will also bring you two closer together in your relationship. Click here for 3 other tips for a strong marriage when you're TTC.
Encourage getting tested together.
Individual testing might be encouraged to get a sense of what's happening with both of your bodies. This will give doctors and specialists an opportunity to recommend supplements or prescriptions to aid you in the process.
Be kind to one another and hold each other's hand. Getting tested can be a big ego-check, so make sure you're in it together and prioritize your relationship for your end goal. If your partner is resistant to talking to someone or getting tested, encourage him that this is something that's important to you both, find a coach to help mediate through the process, and do it together.
Take the ovulation calendar off the table and reconnect on an intimate level.
Some women choose to share their ovulation calendar with their partner, so he has it top of mind that it's baby-making time.
While some men might appreciate it, others might prefer not knowing because of performance anxiety. If he might be feeling the pressure to perform, be kind to your partner. Consider taking ovulation off the calendar right now, and remember what it was like to enjoy each other physically without the baby-making pressure. Consider wearing something different to bed. Light some candles in the bedroom. Try some things that you both used to enjoy doing. Check out timestamp 9:38 of my podcast: Sex Therapy with Dr. Karen Stewart for some other ideas.
If you're having trouble even considering sex for fun right now, find ways to reconnect with each other in other ways. Pay attention to what also has been lost in your life. IVF and alternative fertility methods can get expensive, but get creative. Find a way to start date night again. Get curious about the things that matter to them right now. While this isn't an easy process, prioritizing your relationship will do wonders for both of you, your partner, and your mindsets in the process.
The ideal situation is that you come out of the TTC experience closer and stronger than ever. If you need help figuring out how to make fertility treatments and strong relationship work, book a free 20-minute discovery call with me so we can get the help you need in your fertility journey.