It Takes Two: Considering Male Fertility

The saying “It takes two to tango” rings especially true when it comes to natural conception. Many couples trying to conceive without success initially wonder if the answer may be found in the woman’s reproductive health. It turns out that in approximately 30% of couples unable to fall pregnant this is due to male factor infertility. Some experts think it may be as high as 50%. The causes fall into two main categories: obstructive and productive.

If you and your partner have been trying to conceive for six to twelve months, it’s time for you to seek the advice of an experienced reproductive endocrinologist to investigate. This means both of you. Genetic testing alone is not enough. You may want to work with a urologist specializing in male fertility.

Obstructive causes in men include vasectomy, varicocele, retrograde ejaculation, impotence, and congenital abnormalities. Productive causes include issues with the creation of sperm that can stem from endocrine disorders and autoimmunity.

Sometimes, these investigations turn up a clear reason why you are unable to conceive that can be remmedied with surgery or medications. Often, though, the answers will be unclear and confusing. In either case, it can be emotionally challenging for both partners to deal with these roadblocks on your path to parenthood. You have to work as a team, support each other, and should consider professional counseling with a therapist specializing in fertility.

Let’s take a look at male fertility from a holistic perspective. This may give you some ideas for things you can do aside from interventions available in conventional medicine. Sexual and reproductive functioning is just as much an expression of good health as your sleep or digestion. If you know you have challenges in these areas, addressing them may also improve your fertility. What food you eat and how you’re digesting, assimilating, and eliminating food creates the foundating for nourishment of all the different organs, tissues, and functions in your body, including your nervous system and hormonal regulation. It is extremely important to be diligent and dedicated to feeding yourself well. Healthy nutrition is one of the main pillars in my approach to supporting men and women with fertility challenges. Your first step should be to eliminate processed foods and exposure to toxins from your diet.

If this applies to you, smoking, alcohol consumption, and use of recreational drugs need to be addressed without delay. Even many prescription and over-the-counter medications can affect your fertility negatively. Take a thorough look at what you’re taking. Your doctor may not have taken the time to educate you about possible side-effects of the pharmaceutical drugs you’re prescribed.

Sleep, energy levels, and your state of mind are all affected by stress. It is nearly impossible for people in New York to avoid stressful situations, but you can focus on stress management strategies that can help you get a handle on how you respond to the demands of life in the big city. Here are a few suggestions: clear your calendar of things that are not urgent and can wait so you have more unstructured time to play and relax; be clear about what you can and cannot control in your life; spend time outdoors and exercise regularly; learn and practice relaxation techniques such as yoga, tai chi or meditation; do some volunteer work that takes your mind off your own problems.

Start working with a holistic health practitioner who is focused on fertility, such as a Chinese medicine or naturopathic physician. Regular acupuncture and manual therapy can clear obstructions in your body’s flow of energy and release restrictions that impede the balance among your organs and tissues. This is a powerful way to relieve stress and improve your sleep and resilience. Chinese herbal therapy, appropriate supplements, and holistic nutrition are combined to specifically improve the functioning of your endocrine system, immune system, and sperm production. Many of the medicinal herbs we prescribe to support fertility have been recognized in studies to do just that.

Remember that some patience is required once you start on your journey to maximizing your fertility naturally. It takes sperm approximately 75 days to mature. Give yourself at least three to six months of using these treatment strategies consistently to produce healthy sperm for conception. This is a good timeframe to till the soil in your garden of health before you become a parent.

© 2018 Christiane Siebert

About the Author:

Christiane Siebert is a Doctor of Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine who likes to explore the myriad ways in which we can use integrative holistic medicine to enrich our lives.

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