male fertility

16 Male Fertility Treatments

Posted Posted in Fertility Clinics, Fertility History

From Natural Remedies and Behavioral Modification to Cutting-Edge Medical Intervention

It’s easy to think that as the carrier of the baby from conception to birth, moms have a more significant role in family building, but the man is just as important and plays an equal role when it comes to successfully combining egg and sperm. Sperm health is critical to whether an egg is fertilized and develops into a healthy embryo, fetus, and child. But sometimes, it’s just not working for the swimmers. In fact, approximately ½ of all cases of infertility can be attributed solely or partially to male factors[1].

So while fertility treatments often focus on the female, here we are going to cover 16 male fertility “treatments,” from natural remedies to cutting edge therapies and surgical procedures.

Ready? Good, let’s get swimming!

Natural Remedies and Behavioral Modifications
1. Diet
Let’s start with something relatively natural and with minimal medical intervention. Avoiding trans fats and soy products can do wonders for sperm. The phytoestrogens in soy have been shown to damage sperm and trans fats have been associated with reduced sperm counts.

On the opposite side of the spectrum, eating Omega 3 Fatty Acids has been shown to increase sperm motility by several studies including a meta analysis done in 2018.

Having a well formulated fertility diet provides a sound foundation for sperm health and can take your swimmers quite a long way.

2. Quit Smoking & Tobacco Use
Your lungs aren’t the only thing to suffer the effects of regular smoking. A study of 2,562 men found a decline in semen volume, total sperm count, and percentage of motile sperm due to smoking. Heavy smokers had a 19% lower sperm concentration than non-smokers. Ouch! Let’s avoid that mighty shot below the belt and stay away from that toxic smoke.

3. Limit Alcohol Consumption
Men looking to father a child do best to limit their alcohol consumption, or better yet, give up drinking altogether. That daily beer or glass of wine after work isn’t such a great idea if you’re trying to get your partner pregnant. Fifteen studies of 16,395 men concluded that daily alcohol intake had a consistently negative impact on sperm morphology and volume, both crucial aspects of sperm health.

4. Exercise
In general, exercise can be great for the body. It helps reduce stress, improve circulation, can help you sleep better, and even boosts testosterone levels in men.  While movement is key to maintaining strong bones and a healthy body, high-intensity exercise can have the opposite effect on male fertility. This study of men with different exercise practices (ranging from less intense to more intense) found that semen parameters were negatively affected as exercise’s intensity and volume increased. Significantly impacted was sperm morphology.

Fertility specialists recommend easing up on your training regimen a bit if you’re actively trying to conceive.

5. Cool It Down
‘Turning up the heat’ can be a good thing when it comes to foreplay, but it’s a bad thing for the scrotum and sperm production. Sperm production, also known as spermatogenesis, occurs in the testicles, which are about 3.5 degrees cooler than the rest of the body. Above-average temperatures can cause sperm damage and affect production.  For this reason, fertility experts recommend men trying to conceive avoid hot tubs, saunas, and other high heat environments that may affect the testes’ temperature.

Interestingly, according to one study men with fertility problems tend to have testicles that are, on average, about one degree warmer than average. It has long been suspected that scrotal cooling could have a positive impact on male fertility. Several studies have confirmed that lowering the scrotal temperature on a consistent basis may improve sperm health.  This study showed an improvement in sperm concentration and total sperm count after 8 weeks of nighttime scrotal cooling. That is why products like the Snowballs Underwear can be an important part of a male infertility treatment protocol.  

6. Supplements
Most of the vitamins and minerals critical to male fertility health are found in the foods we eat, particularly meat. But there are select nutrients that are very difficult to consume at the levels most men need on a daily basis to optimize sperm health. When this is the case, male fertility supplements are an excellent choice for maintaining your health and fertility. Some key supplements for men include Co-Q10, which has been shown to enhance sperm count/concentrations and sperm motility, Folate, which helps with the development of healthy sperm; and Zinc. Studies show that lower zinc levels increase the likelihood of reduced testosterone levels and sperm count. Similarly, L-Carnitine, Selenium & Vitamin E, and others vitamins.

7. Clomid (Clomiphene Citrate)
Typically prescribed to females to induce ovulation, Clomid has recently been used off-label to improve male fertility by increasing sperm count and testosterone levels. This study showed a significant improvement in pregnancy rates for men with oligozoospermia who took Clomid versus men who did not.

8. Low Dose Naltrexone (LDN)
Inflammation is a significant cause of infertility in both men and women. Low Dose Naltrexone (LDN) has been shown to balance and regulate the immune system without over-stimulating it and to help with a variety of autoimmune disorders. An overactive immune system is a likely cause of many diseases and inflammation in general. Reducing inflammation can improve blood flow to developing sperm and improve the delivery of nutrients. LDN has also shown promise in treating erectile dysfunction and is used by some fertility specialists to increase sperm parameters.

9. Human Chorionic Gonadotropin (hCG)
hCG is the same hormone that women produce when pregnant. It is the hormone that at-home pregnancy tests look for in urine, but it is also used to cause ovulation and treat infertility in women, and to increase sperm count in men. hCG therapy in men is used to treat low testosterone levels that can cause male infertility. hCG stimulates the testicles to produce testosterone and sperm, but it is only available as an injection and can be costly.

10. Human Growth Hormone (HGH)
HGH is produced by the pituitary gland and helps regulate muscle and bone growth and sugar and fat metabolism. Research has shown that HGH is vital in the development of healthy sperm and male fertility in general. One study found that HGH helps improve sperm concentration, morphology, and motility in men who are deficient in HGH.

There are also supplements available over the counter that have shown some promise in naturally increasing HGH levels.

Assisted Reproductive Treatments
Most fertility specialists take a “less is more” approach to treating male fertility, advising patients to start with less aggressive treatments first, such as a change in lifestyle, adding supplements, or even some prescription medications. But when this isn’t successful in allowing conception to occur, they will likely suggest proceeding to one of these assisted reproductive treatments.

11. Intrauterine Insemination
An Intrauterine Insemination (IUI) – aka Artificial Insemination is a simple procedure during which sperm is collected through ejaculation into a sterile cup, cleaned and concentrated, and deposited into a woman’s uterus using a thin catheter passed through her cervix. IUI gives sperm a head-start by placing it in the uterine cavity, closer to the fallopian tubes. However, it’s still primarily a conductor of the natural conception process and requires healthy, active sperm. IUI can be successful for men with mild factor infertility but is not generally recommended for men with severe sperm problems (e.g., extremely low motile sperm count).

12. In Vitro Fertilization
In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) is the treatment of choice when less aggressive approaches aren’t successful. IVF is the most effective treatment available and offers the quickest time to pregnancy. Still, it also requires multiple treatment stages and takes a significant physical and financial toll on prospective parents.  IVF involves stimulating the ovaries to produce additional eggs, removing these eggs from the mother, fertilizing the eggs with sperm in the laboratory, and placing usually one but sometimes two embryos back into the carrier’s uterus.

13. INVOCell®
For couples who favor a more natural environment for conception (instead of a laboratory), another option to conventional IVF is  INVOCELL®.  The INVOCELL® is a unique, thumb-sized container where egg and sperm are allowed to fertilize. Egg and sperm are placed in the INVOCELL, which is then placed inside the woman’s vagina to incubate for several days. This process is similar to the conventional IVF; only fertilization and early embryo development occur inside the INVOCELL® device (instead of in an embryology lab).  Prior to embryo transfer, the device is removed, and the embryo is transferred to the carrier’s uterus.

14. Sperm Extractions & Retrievals
When there is no sperm found in a man’s ejaculate, called azoospermia, this is usually due to a blockage or improperly formed tube that doesn’t allow the sperm to pass.  If there are sperm in the testicles, a surgeon can extract enough sperm to be used in Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection (ICSI), where an embryologist injects a single sperm directly into each egg, in conjunction with IVF. The exact method for the extraction will depend on the man. Surgeons sometimes use a needle to extract from the epididymis (PESA). Tissue can be taken from the testicles (TESA). Or, the testicle may be opened for a larger extraction (TESE). These types of extractions are sometimes used in men who are paralyzed and cannot ejaculate.

15. Sperm Freezing   While egg freezing has become quite trendy, men about to receive cancer treatment, begin military deployment, undergoing a vasectomy, or have other concerns about potential sperm health may find banking sperm a great option. The process is quick and straightforward. You’ll meet with a provider and then be taken to a collection room. After collecting your sample, it will be brought to an andrology lab where the sperm will be cleaned, concentrated, and frozen in a liquid nitrogen bath for as long as needed. When you’re ready to use your sperm, it will be waiting for you.

16. Vasectomy Reversal   A vasectomy is done as a form of permanent birth control, but life changes. Whether that’s a new partner or simply new goals and priorities, a vasectomy reversal is one of two options to have a biological child for those who have already undergone a vasectomy. The other option is a sperm extraction with IVF as discussed earlier.

The Bottom Line
Having difficulty conceiving is something you wouldn’t wish on anyone. Fortunately, times have changed. While you used to be subject to your local village fertility witchdoctor, modern science has made some pretty incredible breakthroughs. Whether that’s identifying natural remedies like our super cool Snowballs Underwear or a super scientific medical procedure, there’s plenty of hope and lots to consider.

It’s all downstream from here fellas!      

Snowballs Underwear Scientifically Proven to Keep You Cooler for Fertility

Posted Posted in General Tips

We worked with fertility doctors and the UK’s Channel4 to test the cooling power of Snowballs against boxers and regular briefs. Three men spent a day wearing each type of underwear, and then an infrared thermometer was aimed at their hot zones. The results:

 

Boxer-briefs: 31°C (87.8)

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Traditional briefs: 27°C (80.6)

cooling underwear

 

 

 

 

 

 

SNOWBALLS: 22°C (71.6°F)

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The health benefits of “manly cooling” have been emerging for years, but now there’s even more proof that men who care about fertility should stop frying their swimmers and wear Snowballs to stay cool!

And in case you’re wondering about the comfort of cooling, here’s what our valiant test subject had to say: “I loved them. It felt like I was being gently caressed.”

Check it out here from the 16-minute mark (UK only): How to Stay Well

Then let yourself be gently caressed!

The health benefits of the Ice Bucket Challenge

Posted Leave a commentPosted in General Tips

Over the past week you’ve probably seen a video of somebody performing the latest viral internet sensation: the ice bucket challenge. The rules of the challenge? Dump a bucket of ice water over your head (posting a video as proof) or donate $100 to amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) research. A series of tech icons, from Mark Zuckerberg to Bill Gates have accepted the challenge, which then gives them the right to dare someone else.

All of which is a great way to draw attention to an important cause. Which we’re going to do today by talking about the very important benefits of…cold showers. And then there’s a discount code for 10% off Snowballs below.

Hot baths (or showers) are a recent invention. You used to have to go to naturally formed hot springs to experience that comfort, but even the Greeks and Romans, who developed the technology to heat their public baths, still took cold baths for the health benefits.

Even today, after that hot sauna, hammam, or steam bath, you’re meant to jump into a pool of cold water.

Top-level athletes take ice baths to recover quicker from injuries or draining workouts.

And then there’s James Bond who, you may recall, swears by the benefits of cold showers (actually he starts them hot and gradually turns them colder in what’s called a “Scottish shower”), and one good philosophy to live by is that if James Bond is doing it, then you want to be doing it too.

So what is it about cold showers? Are they just some misguided way of proving you’re tough, or do they actually make you tough? In fact, there are some astonishing health benefits to cold showers:

1. Protect healthy skin and hair. Hot water dries out skin and hair, and opens pores. Conversely, cold water can make your hair look shinier and your skin look healthier.

2. Increase energy and well-being. Cold showers energize, invigorate, and can reduce stress. The hearts starts pumping stronger, and the flow of blood throughout the body can kickstart you even better than a cup of coffee.

3. Improve sleep. In Sweden, babies are often taken for naps outside into the cold, where they’ve been shown to sleep more soundly. And insomniacs are often advised to take cold showers as a sleep aid.

4. Relieve depression. The Department of Radiation Oncology at V.C.U.’s School of Medicine has produced a study showing that short, cold showers can stimulate the brain’s “blue spot”, the primary source of noradrenaline, a chemical that helps clear the clouds of depression.

5. Strengthen immunity. According to a study done in 1993 by the Thrombosis Research Institute in England, individuals who took daily cold showers saw an increased metabolic rate and an increase in the body’s number of virus-fighting white blood cells. In Siberia, there’s a ritual called Rodnichok in which a bucket of cold water is regularly dumped over children’s heads until the age of 6 or 7. 95% of the children who participate in Rodnichok are healthy through the flu season, as opposed to 75% of those who don’t.

6. Increase testosterone. That same study by the Thrombosis Research Institute showed that cold showers increase testosterone production in men, which not only boosts libido, but also strength and energy

7. Maximize fertility. We’ve said this many times before. The testicles are located outside the body in order to keep cool, and if you can lower your daily average temperature, you’re giving your “sperm factory” its best chance to efficiently produce perfect little swimmers. We even invented Snowballs for this reason, and only now are we discovering all the other benefits of “manly cooling”. But whether you want kids now or at some point in the future, your fertility massive reason to get a little cooler. The University of California at San Francisco recently did a study with men who were exposed to 30 minutes weekly of “wet heat” (hot baths and showers). When the men avoided “wet heat”, their sperm counts went up by 491%, and sperm motility improved as well. Want to learn more about the science behind all of this? We have a massive list of serious medical studies demonstrating the benefits of cooling up in the Science section of our website.

So? Ready to take the plunge? Start gradually decreasing the water temperature every time you shower, and see how you feel. We’re pretty confident you’ll experience the benefits after your first cold(ish) shower, and once you work up the nerve to turn the knob colder and colder over time, you won’t want to go back to your overheated days.

And if cold showers have so many benefits, and make you feel so good, imagine how Snowballs make you feel! Imagine the benefits of carrying that coolness around with you all the time…

Want to try them out? Right now with this discount code – getcool – you’ll get 10% off your first purchase. They’re affordable, and they’re good for you. So what have you got to lose? Take the ice bucket challenge to a completely different level…with Snowballs!

Check out the Fertility Revolution Podcast

Posted Leave a commentPosted in General Tips

Julie Chang has just launched a great new podcast, Fertility Revolution, and over the next months she’ll be featuring many respected fertility doctors, complementary fertility practitioners, attorneys, infertility advocates, published authors, health & wellness experts, and more. It’s definitely worth checking out (and we’ll be appearing on there in the next few weeks to discuss everything you ever wanted to know about manly cooling!). Here’s Julie to tell you more about her great new resource:

Julie ChangHi, I’m Julie Chang, founder and host of Fertility Revolution. I’m a licensed acupuncturist and natural fertility expert with an acupuncture practice in San Diego. I have 15 years experience in using Chinese Medicine including acupuncture, herbs, supplements, and nutrition to help women and men grow their families. I’m particularly passionate about blending the best of modern medicine with the wisdom of holistic medicines to provide a comprehensive treatment plan for those I’m helping. Under my supervision, hundreds of babies have been born and I hope with Fertility Revolution we can make that millions!

As Benjamin Franklin said so effectively, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”. That’s what this is all about for me. (more…)