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Things that Help (and Hinder) Your Chances of Conceiving

Getting pregnant is exciting, wonderful, unpredictable, frustrating, all consuming, emotionally draining, and terrifying all at the same time. We can virtually see all of you nodding your heads yes. Each year, more than 10 million women are trying to get pregnant, nearly 75% will have trouble getting/staying pregnant. Wow, right? Struggling to conceive is surprisingly common.

For some of you, getting pregnant happens quickly, effortlessly, and without much planning at all. For others, it can be a long and exhausting process, plagued by failed attempts and costly intervention.

Women’s fertility issues make headlines on a routine basis, and doctors are constantly talking with female patients about steps they can take to get their bodies ready for trying to conceive and carry a healthy pregnancy. Women bear the medical and psychological burden of trying to get and stay pregnant,

But men are often overlooked until an issue with conceiving arises, despite the fact that sperm health plays a dramatic role in not only creating but also sustaining a successful pregnancy.

The fact is, your chances of being able to conceive — both naturally and with the help of IVF — depend on a few things, including your overall health, says Karin Hammarberg, fertility expert and senior research fellow at Monash University. “A lot of it is up to nature, but it’s possible to do some things to help yourself have a baby if you want one,” she says.

Healthy diet, the right nutrients, and lifestyle are key

The best predictor for a healthy embryo is a healthy egg and sperm — that goes for both natural conception and IVF. Dr Hammarberg says it’s important that both partners optimize their health before trying to conceive. “Studies show if partners do it together, they’re twice as likely to succeed,” she says. "Whatever needs to be done in terms of optimizing health, it should be equally recommended to male and female partners.”

Research has shown a healthy diet in the year prior to getting pregnant is associated with a lower rate of birth defects. Both women and men are advised to eat well, exercise regularly, and practice healthy lifestyle habits when trying to get pregnant. Since the environment in which an egg and sperm develops can affect the health of a baby, both parents being a healthy prior to conception boosts the baby’s chances of being healthy at birth and into adulthood.

“That means a nutritious diet that contains fresh food and as little processed food as possible; drinking in moderation; not smoking; being in the healthy weight range; and also exercising,” Dr. Hammarberg says. “All of these things improve our general health, but they also simultaneously improve our reproductive health.”

It is important for the couple (both the woman and the man) to ensure they are getting enough vitamins and minerals in the lead up to pregnancy. In a 2011 study published in the journal of Reproductive BioMedicine Online, it was found that women who are undergoing fertility treatments are more likely to conceive if they take prenatal multivitamin supplements every day. Not only are you more likely to get pregnant, 60% were still pregnant six months later.

When it comes to lifestyles factors, research shows cigarette smoking causes damage to eggs and sperm which can then go on to affect the health of an unborn baby. To avoid this, it is recommended that people who smoke kick the habit a few months before trying to conceive. The link between alcohol and fertility is less clear (it is not known what levels of consumption are safe, if any), but research shows that even drinking lightly can reduce the likelihood of conception.

Take A Sperm Check

After a woman’s age, male fertility is the second biggest cause of pregnancy delay and affects almost half of all couples having trouble conceiving. Fortunately, most common causes of male infertility are easily diagnosed, and most can be treated or overcome to help a couple conceive.

A 2012 study revealed that just 1 in 4 men have optimal semen quality. It’s important to remember that sperm provide 50 percent of the genetic material for a fetus, and if the sperm isn’t healthy enough to preserve that material or penetrate an egg, that fetus will never occur or properly develop.

While women are born with all the eggs they will ever have, the man’s body creates sperm daily. In fact, 1,500 new sperm cells are “born” every second. The process from germline stem cell to sperm cell takes about 74 days. Evidence shows that the most common cause of sperm deficiencies are nutrient shortages. Just like women, men’s bodies need different vitamins and minerals in order to produce healthy sperm.

One study found nutrients like L-carnitine, vitamins C and E, N-acetylcysteine, zinc, and coenzyme Q10 could increase male fertility four-fold. Another study found that a combined supplementation of folate and zinc for a period of 26 weeks increased total sperm count in fertile and sub-fertile men. In fact, it increased normal total sperm count by 74 percent. Also interesting in this study, before supplementation was started, seminal folate and zinc levels were not significantly different in the fertile and sub-fertile men. This may indicate that even though low folate wasn’t the cause for lower sperm counts, supplementation still helped.

Taking steps to maintain sperm health, even if no fertility issues are present, can dramatically improve how quickly you and your partner conceive and the viability of that conception.

Additional Resources

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While it’s lumped into the “bodily fluid” category, semen is a complex cocktail of compounds designed to support fertility. Like sperm quality, semen health can be influenced by lifestyle factors—an important realization for couples trying to conceive. From color to consistency, here’s what healthy semen looks like.

Read More

There’s a lot of chatter when it comes to male masturbation and what it says about a man’s fertility or whether it’s an issue when a couple is actively trying to conceive. And in the interest of clearing up the confusion, we’re taking a facts-based approach to the topic of men, masturbation and fertility.

Read More

For many of us, our twenties and even thirties are a time when the focus is on pregnancy prevention. And that’s okay! But even when the idea of motherhood is miles away there is tremendous value in understanding your fertility health and what you can do to support it during these young, carefree days.

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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?

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

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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.

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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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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.

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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

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 lumped into the “bodily fluid” category, semen is a complex cocktail of compounds designed to support fertility. Like sperm quality, semen health can be influenced by lifestyle factors—an important realization for couples trying to conceive. From color to consistency, here’s what healthy semen looks like.

Read More

There’s a lot of chatter when it comes to male masturbation and what it says about a man’s fertility or whether it’s an issue when a couple is actively trying to conceive. And in the interest of clearing up the confusion, we’re taking a facts-based approach to the topic of men, masturbation and fertility.

Read More

For many of us, our twenties and even thirties are a time when the focus is on pregnancy prevention. And that’s okay! But even when the idea of motherhood is miles away there is tremendous value in understanding your fertility health and what you can do to support it during these young, carefree days.

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

Welcome to our little corner of common fertility and pregnancy terms! We know that jargon can be overwhelming, so consider this your very own baby-making dictionary. Here, confusing medical terms transform into easy-to-understand facts that help you confidently navigate your family planning journey. 

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