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How to Optimize Sperm and Fertility Health to Prepare for IVF

If you and your partner have been trying to conceive without success for a while now, you’re not alone. The National Institutes of Health find that up to 15% of couples experience infertility after one year of trying to conceive. Infertility can be difficult, but seeking medical treatment for fertility is a hopeful step, one that is successful for most couples!

Whether your diagnosis is female-factor infertility, male-factor infertility, unexplained infertility, or a combination of factors contributed by both partners, strengthening your sperm health will help support your preconception and overall health.

Sperm Quality

The Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Health and Human Development estimates that only one in four men have optimal semen quality. The prevalence of less-than-optimal sperm is a good reason for all men to consider fertility health as a critical part of the pregnancy equation. 

There are many factors that can negatively impact sperm quality, and not all of them are in our control. However, recent studies have shown that  improvement in sperm quality without medication is possible through key lifestyle and nutritional interventions. 

You may have several emotions as you prepare for, start, and complete an IVF cycle. Anxiety, sadness, optimism, and uncertainty are common. After all, IVF can take time, be physically demanding — and cost quite a bit — all for a chance at getting pregnant. It makes sense then, that the months leading up to your IVF cycle are very important for ensuring your body is healthy, strong, and fully prepared for this fairly intense medical process.

Read on for three science-backed strategies that can help to optimize sperm health (and, of course, work with your fertility doctor before making any big changes to your health and wellness routine). 

Here’s to your successful fertility treatment—and your future family!

When To Begin Optimizing Your Sperm Health

In short—start today! New sperm are born every day, and they have the best chance of maturing into healthy and effective cells inside a healthy parent environment. 

While some lifestyle interventions can take time to show results, the simple choices make each day can help you move closer to your goals of fatherhood and family. The evidence-based strategies described below, together with the fertility treatments your doctor recommends, can have powerfully positive results for your fertility. 

Whole-Foods Diet for a Healthy Weight 

Most of us already know that our habits of diet and weight are important factors of overall health. Now, new findings are causing doctors to counsel future fathers to manage weight with diet and exercise for the sake of the health of their offspring, too. 

Dietary interventions can vastly improve sperm quality measures for even the healthiest men. In one study, young healthy men who switched to a DASH diet, which includes whole grains, plenty of vegetables and fruits, quality meats and dairy, achieved significantly increased sperm counts and higher percentages of total motile sperm.

Men who are currently overweight or obese can benefit even more from switching to a high-quality, whole-foods diet. During the last several decades, a steady rise in average male body weight has coincided with a decline in overall male fertility. Researchers don’t think this is a coincidence: it’s likely that being overweight or obese contributes to male infertility. Being overweight affects male fertility by changing the endocrine system which regulates hormone production and sperm production. And male obesity is linked with an increase in systemic inflammation, causing an increase in reactive oxygen species that can fragment sperm DNA. The great news is that poor male fertility can be reversed by overweight and obese men who abandon the standard Western diet and adopt a whole-foods, plant-heavy diet such as the Mediterranean diet.

In study after study, men who enjoy higher-quality diets also have better semen quality. Making lifestyle changes is easier with a firm “why” in mind, and during fertility treatment, there’s no “why” more important than healing fertility health in order to welcome a little one.

Evidence-Based Vitamins for Sperm Support

For future fathers, nutritional deficiencies can put sperm health in jeopardy, increasing the risk of low sperm count, abnormal sperm morphology, low sperm motility, and even DNA damage. These markers of poor sperm health can lower your odds of successful conception during fertility treatments such as IUI and IVF. And even for couples who do conceive, poor sperm health can increase the likelihood of miscarriage and birth defects. 

The bright side is that nutrition is in your control, and science has your back!

Numerous studies have shown that when men who are struggling to conceive supplement with a combination of high-quality antioxidants, their sperm quality parameters improve, resulting in a successful pregnancy rate of up to 41% above couples in which the man does not supplement. 

Beli for Men is an innovative prenatal and preconception vitamin formulated with a laser-focus on fertility. Beli contains evidence-based levels of nutrients that can help raise sperm counts, improve sperm quality, and protect maturing sperm against DNA damage.

It’s common for fertility doctors to recommend a host of vitamins for sperm support, but it’s difficult to keep track of 10+ supplement bottles! Beli for Men keeps it simple with a single multivitamin. 

Two capsules of Beli for Men each day contain the nutrients needed to help:

  • Increase sperm count with vitamin B-12, CoQ10, l-taurine, and zinc
  • Protect sperm while they grow with selenium, zinc, CoQ10, l-carnitine, and active methylated folate
  • Improve sperm morphology with active methylated folate, vitamins B-6 C, D, E, l-arginine, and zinc
  • Increase sperm motility with vitamins C, D, CoQ10, n-acetyl-l-cysteine, and zinc

Beli for Men is also the only male prenatal to include shilajit, an all-natural, antioxidant-rich medicinal substance created by the slow decomposition of plants in mountain ranges such as the Himalayas and the Chilean Andes. Ayurvedic practitioners have long used shilajit to promote energy and stamina, mental clarity, and male virility and fertility. Western science confirms the effectiveness of shilajit for fertility support, too: Male infertility patients showed significant improvement in total sperm count and motility, along with an increase in serum testosterone, after taking shilajit for 90 days. 

Male fertility is a cycle of continuous regeneration. New sperm are created every day, and each new cell goes through a journey of around three months to prepare for conception. Nourishing your fertility health with the evidence-based nutrients your body needs can make a measurable difference in markers for sperm health like improving your sperm count, sperm motility, and sperm morphology, and healing DNA fragmentation within the sperm. 

Start taking Beli for Men each day three months before starting fertility treatment, and rest assured that you’re providing your body with the micronutrients needed to fuel stronger sperm.

Ease Toxic Stress 

Chronic stress impacts almost everyone at some point, and its harmful effects hit men the hardest. For men, too much stress can cause high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, and heart disease. Toxic stress also wreaks havoc on hormones, leading to reduced sperm quality and even infertility. When men experience stress over the long term, chronically elevated cortisol levels have a strong negative impact on testosterone levels. Studies show that spermatogenesis, the ability of the testes to create new sperm, is severely inhibited when testosterone secretion varies too much or dips too low. 

For your fertility’s sake, it’s time to take action to help you de-stress. Psychological stressors lurk everywhere, and fertility treatment is a particularly stressful time for many couples. The first step is to spot where stress shows up in your life. Take note of the situations where you’re extra irritable, or you notice your stress manifesting physically as a clenched jaw, elevated pulse, or upset digestion. Once you spot the stressor, you can find healthy outlets to help you cope.

The strategies you choose to help you manage stress can be simple, like taking a walk or jog when you feel stress coming on, or calling a trusted friend. Complementary alternative therapies such as yoga, acupuncture, and mindfulness meditation have all been correlated with improved stress management, better sperm quality, and more favorable pregnancy outcomes for men going through fertility treatment. 

Every day that you move more, eat nutrient-rich whole foods, take your prenatal, and pause to ease your stress is a day that helps prepare your body to pass on a strong legacy. You’re going to be a great dad!

Additional Resources

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Raise your hand if you already know that you have a biological clock. From age 35 and beyond, there is a natural decline in testosterone and sperm quality. Just as people lose muscle strength, flexibility and endurance with age, sperm also tend to lose their "fitness" over the life cycle. But what does that mean—and does it really matter?

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Shilajit is finally getting the credit it’s due, and we’re proud to point out that our proprietary formula was the very first to include this powerful Ayurvedic compound. Here’s why shilajit is rapidly becoming the darling of the male fertility world–and what you’re missing if you’re skipping it.

Read More

Ever wondered why men produce so much darn sperm, especially if only one of them will ultimately fertilize the egg? There are millions of sperm in normal ejaculate because it increases the likelihood that one will reach the egg and seal the deal. It begs the question, what exactly happens on the journey to the egg?

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Just as women’s bodies need to be prepared for pregnancy, men’s bodies need to be ready to contribute healthy sperm for conception. Nutrients are the foundation that support the normal structure and function of sperm and men's fertility health. Taking Beli’s male prenatal supplement is a proactive way to strategically fuel your body to optimize fertility contributing to your overall chances of conceiving and supporting a healthy pregnancy.  

Read More

Diet has been suggested to have an influence on the quality and function of human sperm. More specifically, the results of a randomised trial have shown that including nuts as a component of a regular diet improved the quality and function of human sperm.

Read More

A shot to the balls may be played for laughs on screen, but testicular impacts really aren’t a joke. Worse case scenario, getting hit in the balls can affect fertility thanks to complications like sexual dysfunction, low testosterone and other issues. Let's discuss.

Read More

With the New Year upon us, there are all kinds of articles and videos making the rounds with predictions of the Zodiac signs most likely to get pregnant in 2024. But here at Beli, we take a much more scientific approach to conception. Here are the top eight things people will do to get pregnant in 2024.

Read More

Research shows that the overall health of both biological parents during the preconception window plays a huge role in everything from conception to pregnancy health to the lifetime health of their baby. Luckily, there are simple steps you can both take to improve your health together.

Read More

When it comes to becoming parents, good habits really will take you where you want to go. Now, new science is giving us insight into exactly how long it takes to form those good habits. We're breaking down all the ways you can build healthy habits to boost your chances of conception. Think of it as life-hacking, but for grown-ups.

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Read More

You’re clear on the mechanics of making a baby, but how much do you really know about conception and fertility? There are a lot of wild stories, downright falsehoods and notions that are actually rooted in a kernel of truth out there. In the interest of sticking to the facts, we’re debunking 15 of the most common myths about conception and fertility.

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When you’re knocking boots in an effort to get knocked up, timing is everything. Your best chance of conceiving is during the most fertile time of your menstrual cycle—when you ovulate. The key is figuring out exactly when that happens. Fortunately, you have a few ways of detecting ovulation. Here’s what to know about understanding ovulation and timing sex for pregnancy.

Read More

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Read More

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As a society, we’re an impatient bunch, and that applies to pregnancy, too. The second you decide it’s time to try for a baby, you’re ready to see those two pink lines. If you’ve recently tossed the birth control and you’re wondering how long it should take to get pregnant, here's what to know.

Read More

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Read More

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Read More

Raise your hand if you already know that you have a biological clock. From age 35 and beyond, there is a natural decline in testosterone and sperm quality. Just as people lose muscle strength, flexibility and endurance with age, sperm also tend to lose their "fitness" over the life cycle. But what does that mean—and does it really matter?

Read More

It’s an easy assumption, but you’re much better off thinking that every prenatal vitamin is wildly different in terms of composition, nutrient quality and, importantly, nutrient amount. Not only is that actually true, it puts you in the smart consumer mindset of understanding what matters in a prenatal vitamin—and why.

Read More

Men really do benefit from specialized nutrition in the form of a prenatal vitamin that’s formulated to support sperm health. Here’s what that looks like, and how specific nutrients can impact a man’s fertility health before fatherhood.

Read More

Shilajit is finally getting the credit it’s due, and we’re proud to point out that our proprietary formula was the very first to include this powerful Ayurvedic compound. Here’s why shilajit is rapidly becoming the darling of the male fertility world–and what you’re missing if you’re skipping it.

Read More

Ever wondered why men produce so much darn sperm, especially if only one of them will ultimately fertilize the egg? There are millions of sperm in normal ejaculate because it increases the likelihood that one will reach the egg and seal the deal. It begs the question, what exactly happens on the journey to the egg?

Read More

Just as women’s bodies need to be prepared for pregnancy, men’s bodies need to be ready to contribute healthy sperm for conception. Nutrients are the foundation that support the normal structure and function of sperm and men's fertility health. Taking Beli’s male prenatal supplement is a proactive way to strategically fuel your body to optimize fertility contributing to your overall chances of conceiving and supporting a healthy pregnancy.  

Read More

Diet has been suggested to have an influence on the quality and function of human sperm. More specifically, the results of a randomised trial have shown that including nuts as a component of a regular diet improved the quality and function of human sperm.

Read More

A shot to the balls may be played for laughs on screen, but testicular impacts really aren’t a joke. Worse case scenario, getting hit in the balls can affect fertility thanks to complications like sexual dysfunction, low testosterone and other issues. Let's discuss.

Read More

With the New Year upon us, there are all kinds of articles and videos making the rounds with predictions of the Zodiac signs most likely to get pregnant in 2024. But here at Beli, we take a much more scientific approach to conception. Here are the top eight things people will do to get pregnant in 2024.

Read More

Research shows that the overall health of both biological parents during the preconception window plays a huge role in everything from conception to pregnancy health to the lifetime health of their baby. Luckily, there are simple steps you can both take to improve your health together.

Read More

When it comes to becoming parents, good habits really will take you where you want to go. Now, new science is giving us insight into exactly how long it takes to form those good habits. We're breaking down all the ways you can build healthy habits to boost your chances of conception. Think of it as life-hacking, but for grown-ups.

Read More

Here at Beli, we’re working hard to raise awareness of the important role men play in the baby-making equation, which brings us to today’s topic of men’s preconception health and specifically, sperm health. Knowing what you’re working with can save you a lot of time, but is at-home sperm testing considered an important part of men’s preconception health? Let’s break it down.

Read More

There’s a certain magic to the holiday season, whether you’re all-in on the decorations and the family time or a self-proclaimed Scrooge from mid-November to the New Year. But when you’re trying to conceive, it can be a challenging time.  We’re sharing five tips for managing the holidays when you’re trying to conceive.

Read More

Everyone knows that alcohol and pregnancy don’t mix. But what about before you’re pregnant, during the trying-to-conceive stage? There’s no evidence that the occasional drink—i.e. one or two a week—is going to torpedo your chances of parenthood. But it is true that the more you drink, the greater the likelihood it will have an effect on your health. Here’s what the research says about alcohol and your fertility.

Read More

You’re clear on the mechanics of making a baby, but how much do you really know about conception and fertility? There are a lot of wild stories, downright falsehoods and notions that are actually rooted in a kernel of truth out there. In the interest of sticking to the facts, we’re debunking 15 of the most common myths about conception and fertility.

Read More

When you’re knocking boots in an effort to get knocked up, timing is everything. Your best chance of conceiving is during the most fertile time of your menstrual cycle—when you ovulate. The key is figuring out exactly when that happens. Fortunately, you have a few ways of detecting ovulation. Here’s what to know about understanding ovulation and timing sex for pregnancy.

Read More

You have big plans for parenthood in 2024, which means this is the time to start laying the groundwork for everything to come. While so much of conception is beyond our control, there are actionable steps you and your partner can take right now to support and nourish your fertility.

Read More

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Read More

Is there anything worse than the two-week wait? All the listicles out there sensibly advise keeping busy and journaling and talking it out, but we’re sharing more specific recommendations collected from the Beli community. Read on for seven tips for surviving the two-week wait without losing your mind.

Read More

Heard the one about ice baths and testosterone? Spoiler: there's little to no research behind that idea. Here’s what to know about cold plunges and male fertility, according to the research, plus where you should really focus your efforts if you’re trying to improve sperm health.

Read More

As a society, we’re an impatient bunch, and that applies to pregnancy, too. The second you decide it’s time to try for a baby, you’re ready to see those two pink lines. If you’ve recently tossed the birth control and you’re wondering how long it should take to get pregnant, here's what to know.

Read More

Jimmy Fallon. Hugh Jackman. Mark Zuckerberg. Keith Urban. Gordon Ramsey. Kyle Busch. Besides immediate name recognition, what else do these men have in common? They’ve all struggled with infertility issues—and it’s something they’re all talking about publicly. Here's why that matters.

Read More

While it’s true that popular hair loss meds work minor miracles on that receding hairline and back-of-the-head bald patch, it’s also true that it can come with side effects—some of them sexual. So, what does that mean in terms of male fertility? Here’s what couples should understand about the effects of popular hair-loss medications on sperm health.

Read More

A few years ago, the keto diet was all the rage—a high-fat, low-carb way to shed pounds quickly. While it’s lost a bit of its luster, as all diet trends do, interest in the keto diet remains. Specifically, those hoping to become parents wonder whether following this way of eating could support fertility. Is a diet high in fat and low in carbs the answer? It’s possible. Here’s what to know about the keto diet and whether it might help support fertility.

Read More