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The Men’s Guide to Preparing for IVF

The Men’s Guide to Preparing for IVF

Did you know that it can be just as important for a man to prepare for IVF as it is for a woman? Whether you have low sperm count and/or health or not does not matter; it is still extremely beneficial for a man to prepare in advance of IVF. When a couple begins the journey to considering IVF, they must have a good reason why this is their best option. It may be fertility struggles with the woman, but this may also be an issue with both partners. If IVF is planned in your future, it is important to get testing for sperm count, motility, morphology, hormonal balance, or other fertility concerns prior to giving your sperm for the procedure. It is very important to have healthy sperm because this will be half of the genetic make-up of your future child.

IVF is a very stressful and is a very expensive procedure. Most couples will only get 1-2 shots at IVF if they can afford it. You will want to be as healthy as possible; this will increase your chances of the procedure being successful. You will not want the guilt or weight of feeling as though you did not do everything possible to give your partner/wife and child the best chance at a healthy life. A man who prepares for IVF alongside his partner/wife is a man who shows he truly cares! A woman who is going in for IVF needs this to help ease her mind that everything is going to be as it should! If you can take care of yourself and prepare for IVF as well, her mind will be more at ease through the procedure.

When to Begin Preparation

The life cycle of sperm, from production to maturation for ejaculation, ranges from 42 to 76 days, knowledge we have from 2006 study findings of Urology Professor and male infertility expert at UCSF Medical Center Paul Turek, MD. So, to make a plan for increasing fertility and boosting sperm health you should start at least 2-3 months prior to giving sperm for IVF. In this time frame sperm are affected by everything you eat and drink, as well as other factors. Let’s take a look at three easy steps for IVF preparation.

1. Cleanse
2. Nourish
3. Nurture

Step 1: Cleanse For Healthy Hormone Balance

Begin your preparation for IVF with a Male Fertility Cleanse. Maybe you have heard of our Fertility Cleanse for women, but did you know we also carry one specific for men?

You do not have to have male factor infertility to reap the benefits of fertility cleansing for men. It is always best to begin any journey toward conception with a Fertility Cleanse. Our Male Fertility Cleanse supports liver health for proper hormonal balance, healthy liver function, and gentle cleansing of environmental toxins and pollutants. The Male Fertility Cleanse is:

  • nourishing and alkalizing
  • promoting of digestion
  • supportive of hormonal balance via the nourishing herbs for the endocrine system; aiding in proper testosterone levels
  • increasing circulation to male reproductive system while supporting healthy libido
  • detoxifying – herbs in the Male Fertility Cleanse aid in the removal of heavy metal pollution

A Note About Male Hormonal Balance: What alters hormonal balance for men? Many of the same things that affect women’s hormonal balance affect men’s as well. These include: genetics, age, diet, activity levels, stress, use of medications and environmental pollutants that “mimic” estrogens (xenohormones) in the body. These pollutants lower testosterone, which may cause erectile dysfunction, low/lack libido, low sperm count, and lowered production of seminal fluid.

The Male Fertility Cleanse lasts for 30 days. This timing is perfect for a couple to do Fertility Cleansing at the same time! The Male Fertility Cleanse would be best done in Month 1 of the preparation for IVF.

Simple Ways to Keep Hormones Balanced Daily:

1. Avoid eating and drinking out of plastic containers or foods wrapped in plastic that you heat in the microwave.

    • This includes Teflon-coated pans. Plastic is a known xenohormone that, when heated, leaches into the food or liquid you consume. If you store your food in plastic, do not heat it in the microwave.

2. Eat Organic! The pesticides found on conventional produce and synthetic hormones added to dairy and meat have a HUGE effect on men’s hormonal balance. Pesticides mimic estrogens in the body while the added hormones to meat and dairy are actual hormones (like estrogen) you do not want in your system.

3. Avoid Soy Foods. Soy contains phytoestrogens that can mimic estrogen and block hormone receptor sites in the body. Soy foods can actually increase estrogen in men. This includes soy milk, cheese, yogurt, tofu, tempeh, etc. Soy is often found in many processed foods as well, such as prepackaged breads, cookies, cakes, salad dressing, vegetable oil, and the list goes on. This is mainly because these foods are made with soy oil. Be sure to read the labels of the foods you are purchasing and avoid soy when possible.

4. Avoid Alcohol. Excessive alcohol consumption in general has been found to damage the quality of the sperm health. If the egg is fertilized by a sperm that is unhealthy, malformed or has damaged DNA, it may cause miscarriage, or worse; birth defects and/or long-term health problems for your child. If you drink beer made with hops, studies have shown that hops may increase estrogen levels in the body as well.

5. Consume fertility superfoods daily! Fertility superfoods are one of the easiest ways to boost overall nutrition, improve libido and maintain hormonal balance.

Step 2: Nourish Your Body

Good Nutritional Habits are the Foundation for Healthy Sperm

Eat a Fertility Diet specific to Male Fertility and Sperm Health
Diet and exercise are the foundation for health. Every cell in your body is made up from foods you consume, this includes your genetic make-up: DNA. Eating well is the best habit you can create when preparing for IVF. If you are unsure of where to begin changing your diet, talk to your wife/partner about joining the 21-Day Fertility Diet Challenge. This diet challenge will help you to learn healthy eating tips, about fertility superfoods, the importance of drinking water, as well as offer support and guidance when needed. Over 4,500 people to date have joined! The great thing about eating a whole food, nutrient-rich male fertility diet is that you can do this with your partner, because many of the foods in our woman’s fertility diet are the same for both of you!

Take a Multivitamin
A whole food multivitamin specific for men will help you to get essential vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that may be lacking in your diet. One key nutrient for men is Zinc. Zinc is a mineral involved many aspects of male reproduction – how the male body uses testosterone, formation of sperm and sperm motility. “A prime example of the usefulness of zinc was illustrated in a study of 37 infertile men with decreased testosterone levels and associated low sperm counts (Netter et al 1981 [Archives of Andrology]). The men were given 60 mg of zinc daily for 45-50 days. In the majority of patients, testosterone levels significantly increased and mean sperm count rose from 8 million to 20 million…” according to the global authority on nutrition, health and wellness, LifeExtension.

Whole food multivitamins are easily absorbed and digested.

Be sure to drink 8 glasses of clean filtered water a day.

Protect your Fertility with Antioxidants
Learn the benefits of Antioxidants! One of the best ways to protect the DNA in your sperm is by taking a complete antioxidant formula. Antioxidants help to protect DNA from being altered by free radicals, reducing chances of miscarriage, birth defects, and developmental problems in your future child. They also help to improve sperm motility, percent of live sperm, and the percent of normal spermatozoa, which may increase chances of conception and a successful IVF.

An example of such antioxidant benefits comes from a 2003 study during which 28 voluntary and infertile men took 400mg vitamin E and 225µg selenium daily. Of the 20 patients who completed treatment and returned for analysis, reduced malondialdehyde (MDA) (alipid peroxidation marker) and improved sperm motility and semen quality. (Archives of Andrology)

Try Fertility Superfood Maca
Maca is one of the best nourishing foods for the endocrine system, aiding in hormonal balance. It may help to increase seminal volume, sperm count per ejaculation, and sperm motility. Maca also aids the body in times of stress, promoting healthy stress and immune response.

Step 3: Nurture Yourself and Your Partner

Most of the focus is usually on the woman when it comes to IVF. This is for good reason, as it has already been determined she has fertility issues of her own. This can leave the male partner not only feeling left out, but also actually being left out of some of the important considerations to be made prior to giving a sperm sample. Many men can feel out-of-sorts, stressed, worried or have feelings of resentment surrounding IVF. IVF can leave many men and women vulnerable to depression. Not only is it important for the woman to care for herself mentally and emotionally, it is for the man as well. Along with Steps 1&2, be sure you are also nurturing yourself. It may seem odd to combine the words nurture and man, but nurturing yourself increases your chance for healthy sperm, and a healthy mind through your upcoming IVF procedure.

Get up and get moving! Exercise is one of the best ways to naturally detoxify the body, reduce depression, and relieve stress. Exercise at least 5 times a week for 30 minutes a day. Want to combine an exercise routine that is proven to lower stress levels? Learn about Fertility Yoga. Fertility Yoga is a great practice that both you and your partner can do together!

Reduce Stress
Recent research tells us that stress boosts levels of stress hormones such as cortisol, which inhibits the body’s main sex hormones GnRH (gonadotropin releasing hormone) and subsequently reduces sexual activity and sperm count. IVF can be one of the most stressful scenarios in a couple’s relationship. Fertility Yoga, acupuncture, regular exercise, and meditation are great ways to reduce stress and keep hormones balanced.

Seek Counseling
Consider talking to a counselor with or without your partner. This may help you to make a stress management plan, get your feelings out and help you to have a clear vision of health.

What if I Already Know I Have Male Factor Infertility?

If you already know you have low sperm count, poor sperm quality, or a combination of both, you may want to learn about more supportive herbs and supplements for sperm health.

Click here to see a kit that contains supportive vitamins, minerals, supplements and herbs for supporting male reproductive health…

Do you have more questions on why it is important for men to prepare for IVF? Please let us know! May you have a successful IVF and go on to have healthy, happy children!

Dr. Christine Traxler M.D., OB/GYN
Dr. Christine Traxler M.D., OB/GYN

Dr. Traxler is a University-trained obstetrician/gynecologist, working with patients in Minnesota for over 20 years. She is a professional medical writer; having authored multiple books on pregnancy and childbirth; textbooks and coursework for medical students and other healthcare providers; and has written over 1000 articles on medical, health, and wellness topics.  Dr. Traxler attended the University of Minnesota College of Biological Sciences and University of Minnesota Medical School,  earning a degree in biochemistry with summa cum laude honors in 1981,  and receiving her Medical Doctorate degree (MD) in 1986.

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  1. Avatar

    The factors which cause male infertility are very helpful & important to understand. Thanks for sharing this valuable information. I was diagnosed with OAT, my hormonal tests and physiologic test are normal. I have been under high blood pressure medication for 8 years. We had 4 failed ISCI after 2-3 days embryos transfer. Embryos quality may have not been the best due to my severe male factor. We think keep trying another cycle will be a waste of money if the sperm quality is not somehow improved. I’ve heard that clinic in Ukraine dialed with similar cases, with successes result. They suggest treatments and procedures which may improve situation. Also we consider Ukraine because of its prices. They much lower compering to similar reproductive centers in Europe. We are planning to attend it this spring. I’m suffer from realizing that I can’t give my wife desirable baby. You see male infertility not so popular subject as female. I think, this doesn’t need to be a taboo subject left in a closet, nor need do men to go through this alone. Education and community are key elements to improving health.

  2. Avatar

    Great to share the information.
    Thank you for sharing.

  3. Avatar

    Please tell how many days men should not have sex, in case to have a better sperm for fertilization procedure?

    • Dear Anahit,

      If you are preparing for IVF, do ask this or your healthcare provider. You may be asked to abstain from ejaculation for a certain number of days to provide a semen sample.

      Aside from when preparing for IVF, it is actually a misconception that abstaining from ejaculation will increase sperm quality. In fact, if sperm is not ejaculated regularly it stays in the gonads longer and, as a result, is exposed to more toxins and free radicals (oxidative stress) which can damage sperm. Ejaculating helps sperm turn-over to help prevent oxidative damage/harm to the sperm.