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man sitting in a fertility clinic

When a couple starts trying to conceive, it is often the female who starts cleaning up her diet, cutting the booze, and taking safer steps in her lifestyle (AKA no more skydiving).  But more and more evidence shows that men can have more of an impact on fertility success than many guys think.

In fact, some evidence shows that a whopping 50% of infertility cases may be a result of male factors, highlighting that fertility isn’t just a female concern. A man’s fertility can be influenced by having a low sperm count (the average number of sperm present in a sample of semen), low sperm motility (the ability of the sperm to move efficiently), and low sperm quality. His sperm can become damaged as well, which can contribute to challenges when trying to conceive as well. 


Age And Male Fertility – An Oftentimes Overlooked Link

Male fertility can be impacted by many factors, including some that are completely out of his control, like his age. 

As a man becomes older, his ability to get a female pregnant can decline, as his sperm quality has been shown to decline as a man ages. 

Because of this, evidence shows that achieving pregnancy can be less likely for men over age 40 vs. those under age 30. And one important study showed that, among couples undergoing assisted reproduction, pairs that included a man over the age of 35 had pregnancy rates lower than what was seen among couples that included a man under 35 years old.

Generally, male fertility starts to decline when they’re in their late 40s, with up to a 23% annual decline in fertility beginning at age 39

Bottom line? As a man ages, his fertility can decline.

But if you are actively growing your family, thinking about having kids, or just want to leave the door open in the future, know that all hope isn’t lost in the fertility department if you are getting older. Focusing on nutrition for male fertility and practicing certain lifestyle habits, two factors that you do have control over, can positively impact your fertility too. 

For those curious to learn more about male fertility over the age of 35, keep reading to dig into some important facts and tips. 

couple reading results of a fertility test

5 Truths About Male Fertility Everyone Over 35 Should Know 

For couples who want to expand their family, it is imperative that the male side of the equation is not ignored. Not only can having healthy sperm help achieve pregnancy (even when undergoing IVF), but a fella’s sperm health can also impact their future baby’s health too. 

Since sperm health can decline as a man ages, it becomes even more important to become familiar with how to support this aspect of his well-being as he becomes older. Here are 5 truths about male fertility everyone over 35 should know.

Nutrition May Affect Sperm Health

The foods we eat can either support or work against your fertility goals, depending on what ends up on your plate. Generally, eating a diet rich in “healthy” fats (like the ones found in oily coldwater fish and walnuts), whole grains, fruits, and vegetables is related to better semen quality in men

And on the flipside, frequent consumption of ultra processed meat (like sausage and bacon) and very sugary foods and beverages can make becoming pregnant more challenging for the fellas.

Not All “Sperm Boosting” Supplements Will Actually Help

It isn’t hard to find a male fertility supplement with lofty fertility-related promises. But since supplements are an unregulated industry, seeing lofty promises on sperm health supplement bottles don’t guarantee anything. 

However, there are supplements that are expertly formulated and third party tested, confirming that what is on the label is actually in the supplement, while taking a holistic approach by addressing multiple aspects crucial for men’s fertility. 

For example, Needed Sperm Support+ takes a whole body approach to men's fertility and vitality. This expert-recommended supplement combines targeted and clinically studied ingredients - pre and probiotics, antioxidants, and botanicals - and are expertly formulated for men who are thinking of or trying to conceive, as well as for all stages of life. 

Combining Needed Sperm Support+ with Needed’s Men’s Omega 3 will give guys even more support, as this addition will fuel him with vegan omega-3 fatty acids, choline, lutein, and zeaxanthin to support factors like libido, sperm health, and brain function.

Supporting Your Fertility May Support Your Vitality

Taking steps to support a man’s fertility may come with unexpected, and oftentimes welcomed, side effects – namely, a man’s vitality may improve after making fertility-supporting changes. 

Eating the right foods, including physical activity in his day, prioritizing quality and adequate sleep, and taking quality supplements like Needed Sperm Support+ can all result in feeling, frankly, better. Not only may taking these steps support sperm health, but they may support improved vitality, productivity, and more — something many of us can certainly use! 

Many of the steps required to support fertility can also make a man generally feel more energized and have boosted vitality. And who doesn’t want that? 

Quality Sleep May Impact Your Fertility More Than You Realize

Getting those restful zzz’s can do so much more than help you feel bright eyed and bushy tailed. Quality and restful sleep may impact your sperm health too. 

One study showed the following results:

  • Compared to men who slept between 8 and 8 and a half hours a day, men who slept less than 6 hours/day and higher than 9 hours/day had lower sperm volume.
  • Compared to men with night sleep duration of 7.5-8 hours/day, men who slept less than 6 hours/day had lower total and progressive sperm motility. 
  • Compared to men who reported good sleep quality, those reporting poor sleep quality had lower total sperm count, total motility, and progressive motility.

Bottom line? Both long and short sleep duration and poor sleep quality were associated with impaired semen quality parameters. 

Some Exercise Choices May Be Doing More Harm Than Good For Your Fertility

Yes, consistent exercise can support many aspects of our health. But some exercise choices are better than others if a man is trying to support his fertility. 

There is evidence mounting that the right amount of exercise is linked to enhanced male fertility. Researchers have stated that moderate intensity aerobic exercise results in the healthiest sperm, even when compared with men who perform intense exercise more frequently, as intense physical activity may negatively affect sperm quality. 

Men should also consider that elevated scrotal temperatures, which can be caused by participating in sports like cycling and horseback riding,  may play a negative role on male fertility as well. 

Like most things, too much of a good thing can be bad. Exercise is a wonderful thing to incorporate into a routine for those trying to conceive, but too much intensity could have negative effects. Men can stick with 30 to 45 minutes of exercise with moderate intensity and without potential for elevated scrotal temperature at least 3 times a week along with some resistance training, and they should be in good shape!

Bonus? If a man isn’t in the habit of exercising, starting to include some movement in his day can help him feel more energized and focused, giving another reason to follow this tip (as long as it is ok with his health care provider). 

happy mom and dad hugging newborn baby

Bottom Line

It may come as a surprise that men can have such a huge impact on fertility outcomes, but the old saying that it takes two to tango holds true in this scenario. And since sperm quality naturally declines as a man ages, taking a proactive approach to support his fertility can be extremely beneficial in the long-run, especially if he has dreams of becoming a father one day. 

Simple steps like taking the right supplement, eating the right nutrition for male fertility, and including the right exercise plan in his diet may have a profound impact not only on his sperm health, but also his heart health, mental health, and many other aspects of his well-being. And having an understanding of these relationships can be an important first-step for a man’s fertility journey.

#MenWhoBlog MemberBlogging GuruThought Leader

James' passion for exploration and sense of duty to his community extends beyond himself. This means he is dedicated to providing a positive role model for other men and especially younger guys that need support so that they can thrive and be future positive contributors to society. This includes sharing wisdom, ideas, tips, and advice on subjects that all men should be familiar with, including: family travel, men's health, relationships, DIY advice for home and yard, car care, food, drinks, and technology. Additionally, he's a travel advisor and a leading men's travel influencer who has been featured in media ranging from New York Times to the Chicago Tribune, and LA Times. He's also been cited by LA Weekly "Top Travel Bloggers To Watch 2023" and featured by Muck Rack: "Top 10 Outdoor Journalists for 2022".

He and his wife Heather live in St Joseph, Michigan - across the lake from Chicago.