Improving sperm - advice needed pleas... - Fertility Network UK

Fertility Network UK
19,332 members β€’ 30,930 posts

Improving sperm - advice needed please! πŸ™πŸ»

Ok, so I might be jumping the gun with my thoughts and questions but there is a lot of experience & knowledge amongst us πŸ˜€. Just had first failed icsi. I'm 37, husband 50. Had a vasectomy reversal 2 and a bit years ago which luckily worked despite how long he'd been 'snipped' . Over the last 2 years the semen samples have been up and down but at our NHS fertility consultations dr was very relaxed saying I'd probably get pregnant soon. Obviously not! At the time my results/investigations were all fine. As mentioned we just did icsi, it took quite a lot of menopur to get my follicles going but got 10 eggs. I'm wondering whether in the last year my ovarian reserve has decreased perhaps. Of the 10 eggs 5 fertilised and at day 2 were top quality apparently. By day 5 things had changed we had two transferred at b and c grade, none to freeze. So it seemed to have gone to pot a bit. I won't be getting a follow up for at least 3 month due to big waiting times at our clinic and as much as they've been great they're so busy you don't get the most individualised/thorough treatment. I'm just wondering what has anyone been recommended to take to improve sperm? I am worried cos he's older and hasn't got the best lifestyle (which I need to raise with him again, that's gonna be fun) that if we repeat icsi it's just gonna have the same outcome and maybe is why we're not conceiving. When you're labelled with unexplained infertility it's kinda rubbish cos there obviously is a reason we're not conceiving. Sorry for a massive long post!! In conclusion really in a long winded way I'm asking what supplements might help? Many thanks xXx

35 Replies
oldest β€’ newest

Hi,

We have male infertility, and life style is really important. Sounds like you need to have a talk with your hubby, as if your going to putting yourself through this 3 months of clean eating, no booze or caffeine really isn't the end of the world are will make a big difference! If I was in your shoes I would wait 3 months to start, for you read it starts with the egg, and I recommend supplements and some life style changes in that. I turned 35 just before my cycle and worried about my egg quality, as it does drop after this point, so supplements she recommends dhea, and ubiquinol can help. For hubby, 3 months of high dose vitamin c & e, ubiquinol and selenium. We've had 2 fresh cycles and both times have got pregnant and had my son, and currently 7+4 after a cycle in June x

Have you spoke to your consultant about the embryo scratch or glue? X

1 like
Reply

Hi, no discussions yet about any extras. Will review all this at review I imagine. If we stay at sane clinic it will be a few months before next round anyway and I don't think mentally I would want to start much sooner. Feel like this has taken over my life for 2+ years and I/we have lost ourselves a bit. Think for the next few months going to concentrate on getting happy and healthy. Thanks for the info x

Reply

Hi Bibble,

My husband is 59 with one testicle and we've got male factor infertility. We are currently undertaking our second ICSI cycle which is self funded as our NHS only provide one round and we didn't have any embryos to freeze. My husband had poor sperm count, motility and morphology on his first test. We increased exercise, dropped caffeine and alcohol and ate healthier and this improved his results for his next test. Since then he has been taking wellman vitamins, extra vitamin E and ubiquinol. This has improved things further.

It's not easy and it takes commitment on his part and to be honest it wasn't until he saw what I had to go through during our first failed cycle that he took it seriously.

Also, make sure he is ejaculating (sorry tmi) no more than every two to three days. It'll keep things working well without jeopardising the sperm quality.

Fingers crossed for you and your husband.

Steph x

Reply

Thanks Steph. Yes I don't want to start attacking him, but I do think unless he does his part there's no point in doing this again. We're self funding all the way. But to be honest it's not so much the money, it's the investment of everything else. I know he can't do anything about his age or the vasectomy. And I chose to be with him regardless. But I know there are things that could help, just a case of getting him on board to give up his vices.

So are they three separate supplements you're taking - wellman, vit e, and the ubiquinol- do you get them off internet? I was reading about proxceed sachets too?! Xx

Reply

Exactly, the emotional investment is one thing but the physical side that the woman has to go through can be pretty traumatic as well which the oh didn't realise until we'd gone through cycle one. While I was gutted to get a BFN it did spur him into more action.

The wellman vitamins I got from Tesco, the vit E and ubiquinol I got from natures best online. I read the book 'it all starts with an egg' as well and it's very interesting. Most of what we're doing is from that. We started all the vitamins and minerals at least 3 months before the cycle started to ensure the eggs and sperm get as much goodness as possible. Will let you know how it actually goes in a few weeks time!

x

1 like
Reply

Thank you and good luck!

I get torn between not wanting to obsess and get stressed by focusing on it too much and giving up our life, but equally if we don't do the lifestyle basics it feels like there's not much point in going the whole hog with icsi intervention. We gotta give it a helping hand! X

Reply

Hi we did icsi due to male factor. My dh took zinc and selenium for 3mths before starting and his sample improved a lot! xxx

1 like
Reply

Thank you. I think I might have to show him all these replies. Denial is his way. πŸ™„ Xx

Reply

My dh was firmly in the denial camp. He's not a big drinker and he'd given up smoking (although I'm sure he had a few sneaky ones at work)...his biggest addiction was caffeine. I managed to get him down to 2-3 coffees a day (a third of what he used to have) and it was easy to get him to take the zinc and selenium...some days he even remembered to take them without me reminding him haha! xx

1 like
Reply

I can really relate to this I used to feel like a broken record player nagging my hubby!! I can't count the amount of times I'd buy him Wellman conception for men and he would forget to take them and I'd feel so annoyed as I saw that as a lack of commitment towards wanting a child. πŸ˜’ Luckily his sperm must have been fine as I'm now 5 weeks pregnant!!! I think men deal with it differently to us but they want it to- I saw that when my husband was reduced to tears when we got a positive test and I then realized how much this meant to him ( turned out he was trying to "protect me").

I think the main things are not smoking ( neither of us smoked) reducing alcohol in take, vitamin are good if he can, general healthy diet ( think 80% good and 20% bad).

Sometimes i think stress is very damaging regarding fertility. I think keeping the stress to a minimum can help ( easier said than done). I eventually gave up hassling my hubby because it got stressful and actually that helped it made me feel calmer and more relaxed about trying-i knew I was doing everything I could ( easier for me as I was the one with the fertility issues- I have endometriosis which was treated June,) had it got to the point of IVF i may have felt differently.

I'm sure if you have a heart to heart your hubby will take on board what you've said ( usually with men it has to spelt out!) If you say you'll do this together that will make him not feel like you're having a dig at him ( even tho you are!).

Good luck xoxo

2 likes
Reply

I think because my husband probably needs to make lots of changes to his lifestyle it almost feels like I'm asking him to become a different person and change everything. I feel like I'm on his back, but equally why should I do all this intensive treatment if he is jeapordising it. It's so hard. I completely agree with how they protect us. I often thought he wasn't that bothered but I have never seen him so sad as the last 2 days, that's been awful. I think we'll take a couple of weeks off to have fun before any big conversations. God how easy it is for some people getting pregnant so quickly. Anyway, well done you hope things stay well xxxxx

1 like
Reply

Absolutely. If we had gotten to the point of IVF it would have been either do ( such and such) or no IVF- we have to know we have it our best chance ( we would have been self funded too). Maybe he's realised he's messed up and feels guilty. I think it's harder for men to deal with when it is male factor- I think maybe it makes them less of a man? I am glad it wasn't male factor for us as I don't think my husband would've coped as well as I have done female factor- think us women are stronger then men are. He might be blaming himself for the infertility ( it's hard when it's you that has the "issue"). I think he needs reassurance and as well as a plan of action for round 2. Men aren't good at expressing their feelings.

I know it's horrible when some have such an easy time but rest assured when your time comes ( it will) all this heartache will be worth it. It is worth fighting for.

Right now the loss is raw so be kind to yourselves and lick your wounds to fight again xoxo

1 like
Reply

Thank you so much. I think I need to remember it's only 2 days since I found out this icsi failed by massive period arriving so I need to ease off for a bit. Just get so scared I'm running out of time 😒Xx

Reply

Oh my god, I know what you mean about husband forgetting to take the vitamins, would drive me mental! Eventually I had to hand it to him every time I took mine, with a glass of water. Gave up nagging him about it, and just accepted he was useless at remembering anything, lol!!

1 like
Reply

Hey, just wanted to play devils advocate here. Obviously you know your hubbys sperm isn't great. We have male factor too but our clinic said to us that our failures were more likely egg quality. Our eggs kept dipping out after initially looking great and we always ended up with maybe one or two decent ones to transfer at day 5 but none to freeze. I took DHEA which I do believe helped my egg quality although sadly not enough to achieve a BFP. Might be worth seeing what the clinic feel was behind your failed cycle. We can't improve my other half sperm unfortunately but obviously as others have said dietry things can help and avoiding smoking and cutting back on alcohol. Best of luck!!xx

1 like
Reply

Yes I do agree. And I know I have to wait for the review not just jump the gun. It's probably a combination of both of us. I know it took some hefty doses of menopur to stimulate me which I'm taking as not a great sign. I think sometimes I need to be more realistic that at 37 and 50 we're not in peak prime. It's hard to think that at '37' you're getting old fertility wise. I said I was going to take the pressure off myself for a while after icsi failure but that's lasted 2 days πŸ™ Xxx

1 like
Reply

It is good to look at improving both sides if possible! Up I was 38 on my first round and 39 for the next two. Yes it is crap when you think you wait for Mr Right and discover having kids isn't that blooming easy as it is for some people! I always feel like I need to plan the next step so bit like you, trying to look at the next step. There is no hard bad fast rules as to how you deal with things, we're all different so just do what feels right for you!xx

1 like
Reply

Thank you. It all feels so exhausting mentally. And I keep think that all this pressure isn't going to help anything either. Aaarghhh, it's so difficult.

Thank you for your advice and hoping things work out for you xxxxx

1 like
Reply

Hi Bibble-2016 we were unsure of the cause of our infertility but we knew we both needed to get healthier before we tried. Initially we had tests and my husbands sperm count, motility and morphology were poor. All my tests came back perfect, I think this finding gave him the kick up the bum he needed. He was still smoking when we were trying and I bluntly told him the reality that if his sperm wasn't up to it, then we'd have to consider donor sperm. He was horrified! He then moved on to vaping, which took another 6 months to get off those. Eventually I think he saw the light; we started eating really well, drinking less, getting more fresh air etc etc. He also started taking mens health capsules, we were taking the expensive stuff at the beginning but then I realised that the superdrug mens multivitamins are exactly the same & cost a fraction of the cost. My husband used to smoke the naughty stuff a long time ago and I'm convinced this affected his sperm quality, but we just thought what's done is done and just get on with the now - no point trying to lay the blame on anything or anyone. I think giving up smoking was the biggie, his sperm count increased by 10 million after he gave up - that says it all! It really does take the both of you to make it work, so some serious conversations need to be had. They are tough, but worth it xxx p.s . there are loads of useful resources on the Internet for foods to improve sperm, usually green veg, etc. it's worth a look

1 like
Reply

Your totally right. We've had the smoking conversation so many times in the years we've been together. But I think my bottom line is I won't do icsi again unless he's quit. And like you I'll suggest donor sperm. I know it's hard for him but he's in denial and I just don't see the point in us putting ourselves through horrendous treatment if he's not even helping us with the basics. Hate to have to get tough and want to find a nice way to do it, but yeah, there's a bottom line. No more Mrs nice guy !! πŸ˜‰ X

Reply

Oh yeah my husband was totally in denial too. Kept telling me that it didn't make a difference as he only smoked a few a day or that one of his friends said it was OK to smoke while trying for a baby or whatever. In the end, our clinic told us that if there were any traces of nicotine in either our tests then we'd be put back on icsi list, a would have to wait another 3 months to start. By this time my husband had moved to vaping (which he thought was OK) but this message from the clinic was a blessing in disguise. He gave up completely the day the consultant told us that. Did u have private or NHS icsi? I thought it was standard to insist on no smoking for the procedure, we're they able to give you any feedback after your last round of icsi? I really hope you can have a successful conversation with him. Sorry for the tmi but my husband says his libido has improved so much since he gave up. We joked they should put that message on the cigarette packets instead of those awful photos!!

1 like
Reply

We've just had our first failed icsi, so will be getting a review in a couple of months. It's NHS clinic but self funded but I think cos they're so busy you don't really get a tailored input to be honest. Well not yet anyway. Will be good to get their feedback on round 1 and what might improve things if/when we try again. There definitely seems to be a theme of husbands in denial! X

Reply

Hey! My husband took proceed plus, ubiquinol q10 and omega 3 fish oils, while I too inofolic and metformin to improve egg quality. We also ate a balanced diet and both cut out alcohol for 3 months before our second cycle. The difference for both egg and sperm quality was unbelievable! Currently 8 weeks pregnant. Good luck! X

1 like
Reply

That's fantastic news, well done. I think ivf/icsi goes so far but you have to give it a helping hand. As we're only 2-3 days past our bfn I'm going to let the dust settle then have a proper chat and plan. Good luck in your pregnancy. Xx

Reply

Bless you I'm sorry to hear that and Thankyou, your right to plan ahead tho, when we failed I found comfort in doing everything in my power to succeed next time and it paid off! You will beat this 😘 But first comes the ups and downs ride with them and look after each other xx

1 like
Reply

It really is ups and downs! Thank you for your help xx

1 like
Reply

Our clinic recommends a supplement called condensyl for sperm health. We got it online. My hubbie was very anti the other pregnacare conception vitamins I got him because they are big and smell weird, but he's happy to take the condensyl which are smaller. Also they are an all in one so he only has to remember to take one thing.

Sperm regenerate every 6-8 weeks I believe so my hubbie only stopped drinking for two months (with the exception of a stag do). He refused to do it the first time, so the second time we had a heart to heart and I told him how hard I found it to be restricting both alcohol and caffeine whilst being on loads of drugs, and he decided to give up as moral support more than because he believed it would work. We had a bfn but we did get to blastocyst on round two which we didn't on round one.

1 like
Reply

Thank you - I think men underestimate the role their health, and sperm play in all this. Thanks for your info. It's good to know it's not just my husband who's been dragging his heels!! X

Reply

He pointed out that it's hard for him to feel as involved as me because, even with male factor infertility, most of the actions taken are on my body and healthcare staff are terrible for just talking to the women! It's hard for the guys.

Reply

I've been shocked by how sad and almost broken my husband was with our failed cycle Friday. Never seen him like that before so I know this means a lot to him. Maybe that will help spur him on and maybe feel involved. Xx

Reply

I can tell you what they told my husband. We have some time trying to conceive and I do not know if he has a problem in his sperm, but the doctor recommended not try so hard. We are not using an assisted reproductive treatment or anything, but he explained that waiting a little while, the sperm load becomes greater. This includes masturbating and all that. He also told him to avoid the cigarette and drink a little. He did not take the drink completely, but if it was reduced the minimum. He also recommended that he play sports or exercise. For now use the treadmill a couple of minutes a day. Stress should be avoided because this can alter sperm as well.

I bought him vitamins too. I hope this helps you. A hug

Xx

1 like
Reply

Thank you. Xxx

Reply

My hubbys sperm also contributed to our fertility problem and I did loads of research in advance of our ICSI treatment. Just been scanning down everyone else's advice and lots of people have mentioned 3 months but don't think anyone has actually said that this is the length of time a fully mature sperm takes to be created (100 days to be precise - well that's what I read anyway). So doing it from start to finish of a sperms life will give it the best chance. In that time the best thing is no smoking, alcohol or caffeine, eat a healthy balanced diet with some sort of male supplement (oily fish and Brazil nuts are meant to be good). The other thing is to not let the sperm get overheated so no hot baths, jacuzzis, wear boxers not tight briefs, don't sit with laptop on knee and don't keep mobile phone in trouser pocket (my hubby really struggled with that one!). It feels like a long time but if it helps then it's worth it. I did the same lifestyle stuff as my hubby so he wasn't going through it alone. Good luck!

1 like
Reply

Thank you. I'm thinking my eggs might be a bit jaded too, so between the pair of us we might be up against it!! Least we might be starting to understand why we can't conceive. I was beginning to think it was my fault being too stressed etc when actually we probably do have issues we're up against. Aaaarghhh 😳😳😳. Thanks for your help xxx

Reply

Hi Bibble,

I know this is an old post of yours but it caught my eye and wanted to say I've just written a post in improving sperm count and motility. My hubby's also 50 and we've tried a few things that have made a huge difference : )

1 like
Reply

You may also like...