Men aren’t typically part of fertility conversations—until something goes wrong

Motherly Collective

Once you decide that parenthood is in your near future, the path initially seems straightforward: start monitoring your diet, make an appointment with your OB-GYN, stop your current birth control, begin tracking your period. Seems simple, but before you know it (and before I knew it) these steps can start to feel more like a list of chores—and to me, it seemed like the weight of this responsibility rested heavily on my shoulders. But that’s normal, right? Wrong. 

I remember sitting in my OB-GYN’s office during a routine pregnancy check, only to receive the gut-wrenching news that  there was no heartbeat. My baby was gone. I had that “wrong” feeling all over again. And suddenly, I was on the receiving end of a list of questions: questions about my age, my health history and little to no answers about what I could do differently to improve my chances of a successful pregnancy. Noticeably absent from these conversations was any mention of my husband’s health and the health of his sperm. Losing my baby felt wrong… and it being all on me felt completely wrong.

Like many other women before me who have experienced challenges or loss, conversations about fertility and family planning have traditionally focused on women. However, recognizing the vital role men play in the conception process and the overall well-being of a family has become increasingly crucial.

Men are 50% responsible for conception and the health outcomes of pregnancy, yet most men are not included in the fertility conversation until something goes wrong.

Studies show men who take nutrients like L-carnitine, vitamins C and E, N-acetylcysteine, zinc, and have more than 4 times higher chance of their partner conceiving and a 5 times higher chance of a live birth compared to men not taking supplemental antioxidants. The best part? The male body produces fresh sperm every 80 to 90 days. This continual renewal process presents a significant opportunity for men to step up to the plate and prioritize sperm health through dietary modifications and nutritional interventions.

Why, then, is this not a standard part of early fertility conversations?

It’s clear: Our male partners need our support. Research conducted over the past few decades consistently indicates a concerning trend of declining male fertility and poor sperm health. A man today has a 50% decrease in sperm concentration than what his grandfather had. A meta-analysis published in the journal “Human Reproduction” reviewed 185 studies involving nearly 43,000 men from different regions of the world. The study found a 52.4% decline in sperm concentration and a 59.3% decrease in total sperm in the last five decades. These statistics are nothing short of a wake-up call. Men’s sperm health is a direct reflection of men’s health. If we aren’t talking about both parents’ health during those early preconception visits, we are short-changing a future baby’s health as well. So I decided to do something about it—with my best friend, who had experienced a miscarriage one week before mine.  

Motivated by our mutual experiences of loss, my best friend and I founded WeNatal, a comprehensive and clean prenatal supplement that was focused on maximizing the health of the egg and the sperm with quality nutrients. Nutrition plays a vital role in overall health, and it’s no different when it comes to fertility, especially on the male’s side. 

In our modern world, no one should leave a doctor’s appointment lacking critical, actionable information. There are things you can do to maximize the chances of having a healthy pregnancy and minimize the chances of loss. You don’t have to worry about all the things you are doing wrong, when there are very specific things that can maximize your chances of things going right and having a healthy baby.

Together, we can rewrite the narrative surrounding fertility, highlight the significant role men play, and make the journey to parenthood a more inclusive and more empowering journey into parenthood. We are better together.

This story is a part of The Motherly Collective contributor network where we showcase the stories, experiences and advice from brands, writers and experts who want to share their perspective with our community. We believe that there is no single story of motherhood, and that every mother’s journey is unique. By amplifying each mother’s experience and offering expert-driven content, we can support, inform and inspire each other on this incredible journey. If you’re interested in contributing to The Motherly Collective please click here.

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