8 things you need to know about your man’s fertility

Here are specific ways men can be proactive about their conception journey. 

8 things you need to know about your man’s fertility

Once you and your partner have decided to try to conceive, the next important thing to do is go over the fundamentals. First and foremost, does the woman have a regular cycle? If not, then all the intricate dance steps required for fertilization and implantation can’t come together. If she does, great! Now it’s time to figure out the man’s part of the fertility equation.

There are specific ways men can be proactive about their conception journey. Here are 8 things you need to know about men + fertility:

1. Male infertility is more common than you think.

It’s important to recognize and appreciate men’s role in fertility. Twenty percent of couples trying to conceive will deal with male fertility challenges, and another 20% will have challenges for both men and women.

It’s such a simple thing to evaluate, and it’s awful to see couples suffer through infertility without exploring from the onset whether there’s a male factor in the equation.

5. Men should keep their sperm available when their partners are ovulating.

If a woman is ovulating, it takes time for the sperm to get to the egg. For example, if a woman is ovulating on day zero, typically four to five days before—either every other day, or on a daily basis—you want to start having sex. The man needs to have healthy sperm available at that time.

2. He might want to get his sperm tested.

A semen analysis is a simple test to perform, and if you’re anxious to have a baby and don’t want to waste any time, it could make a huge difference. If there’s an issue, you’ll know from the beginning instead of setting yourself up for frustration and disappointment in the event of an undiagnosed male factor.

Many couples skip this step, which leads us to #3...

8. A man’s age does matter.

Only very recently have we started to understand the effect of paternal age on fertility and the health of embryos and offspring. There is a spectrum—if a man is healthy and taking care of himself, his fertility likely isn’t as affected by age as someone who is at an unhealthy weight, isn’t active and is on many medications.

It does appear that as men age, the efficiency of sperm production diminishes and the genetics of the sperm change because of it, increasing the risk of genetic diseases. This happens around age 50 for men.

But it’s important to note that it’s not the same as a woman’s decline in fertility, which starts to happen around 36 or 37 years old.

Take control of your health + your journey. This is your family—start advocating for it now, even before conception.

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7. If either of you works with toxic chemicals, be cautious.

People working with heavy metals or radiation should be closely monitored. There is testing that is routinely recommended to assess exposure to these compounds, chemicals or radiation. If either partner works in an environment where you’re at risk of exposure, talk with management to make sure the company is taking every precaution to guard your safety.

If you’re working with chemicals such as lead or heavy metals, be sure to have your blood tested regularly. These substances can hurt not only your fertility, but your overall health as well.

3. A semen analysis is easy to perform.

Your OB-GYN can prescribe a semen analysis, so be your own advocates—get tested so you know what you’re dealing with up front.

There’s a good chance the woman has closely monitored her cycle and has been using ovulation strips, and of course she’ll be carrying the child for 40 weeks and giving birth... so showing up to a doctor’s office to give a semen sample (or bringing one from home) is a very small effort in comparison.

If the analysis is normal, that’s great! If it’s abnormal, then the next step is to talk with a doctor about what might be causing the problem.

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4. He should be healthy + make good choices.

Women’s health is not the only factor in fertility. Far from it, in fact. Men need to consider these factors:

—Smoking is bad for overall health and certainly for sperm quality. If you smoke, make quitting your #1 priority. is an excellent resource.

—You should both aim to eliminate exposure to secondhand smoke as well.

—Excessive alcohol and/or drug use will hurt sperm production and quality. Alcohol in moderation is okay, which means two or fewer drinks per day.

—If you take prescription medication, over-the-counter medication or supplements, ask your doctor about whether they could affect fertility.

—Risky behaviors, previous steroid use and sexually transmitted diseases could also impair fertility.

—Excessive weight gain and obesity affect both male and female hormones, but they affect testosterone specifically for men, which can hurt sperm production and fertility.

6. Boxers or briefs? Doesn’t matter! But hot tubs do.

The briefs-hurt-fertility myth is one of the moe common ones out there, but it’s not substantiated by facts.

The reason the testes are outside the body is because it’s two degrees cooler than the normal body temperature. Therefore, avoid anything that can raise temperature, like hot tubs, when trying to conceive. Research isn’t quite conclusive as to whether placing a heat-emitting object (like a laptop) on your lap can hurt men’s fertility, but it’s best to avoid.

We're so glad to live in a time when modern baby gear exists. Sure, no one is going to argue that having a baby is easy—but it can be easier with support from some gadgets designed to help your baby and put your mind at ease.

As you build your baby registry, look for products that go the extra mile to make your life a whole lot easier. For example, what's better than a bassinet? A bassinet that can rock by itself. And what's better than a traditional baby monitor? One that allows you to actually take a peek at your baby. Believe us when we say these upgrades can make all the difference.

Here are 10 baby gadgets that will make your life so much easier… relatively speaking, of course!

A bassinet to promote safe + sound sleep

HALO Innovations Bassinest Swivel Sleeper Essenta Series Nautical Net

The safest place for your newborn to sleep is in your room, but not in your bed. Thanks to the swivel function of the Halo Bassinest, you can easily tend to your baby during the night—which means more sleep for you, too. Trust us when we say that is the best gift you can give a new parent.


A smart swing for your baby

4moms mamaRoo 4 Bluetooth Enabled High-Tech Baby Swing - Classic

Believe it or not, many babies are born with strong opinions about how they want to be rocked, swung or shushed to calm down. With the mamaRoo's various motions and reclining positions, you'll be able to find a setting your baby loves when you need to free up your hands for a bit.


A complete travel system for car + sidewalk

Chicco Bravo Travel System - Indigo

No matter where the day takes you—or what mode of transportation you need to get there—getting a complete travel system for your baby will equip you for anything.


A swaddle you don’t have to wrestle

Love To Dream Swaddle UP Original

What do babies and Harry Houdini have in common? A knack for breaking out of tight constraints—which can be a headache when swaddling is the best way to help promote good sleep. Thanks to a breakout-proof swaddle that allows your baby to sleep with their hands up, you don't have to work up a sweat just to get your baby comfortably swaddled.


A nursery wherever you need it

Baby Trend Lil Snooze Deluxe II Nursery Center

During the early days of parenting (when you are feeding and changing your baby around the clock), having convenient access to everything you need with a go-anywhere nursery station can save you serious time and energy.


A little help for stuffy noses

Fridababy NoseFrida Nasal Aspirator

Up until the point years down the road when your child is able to blow their own nose, the sniffles can be a real struggle—but not with a nasal aspirator that makes it easy for you to get that snot out of their nose.


A way to keep an eye on your baby

VTech 5" Digital Video Baby Monitor - VM5251

Trust us when we say you'll sleep better when you know your baby is also sleeping soundly. That's why we're so thankful for modern-day video monitors, which allow you to check in on your sleeping baby without running the risk of waking them up when you sneak in for a peek.


A bassinet for hands-free rocking

Simmons Kids Silent Auto Gliding Elite Bassinet - Odyssey

Babies are soothed by rocking motions. But what does that mean for you if you can't rock them throughout the night? With an auto-gliding bassinet, they can comfortably drift off to sleep... and continue snoozing.


An easy way to contain diaper smells

Diaper Genie Expressions Pail

Sometimes it's the little conveniences that make a big difference in the quality of your day-to-day life. That's why a great diaper pail should not be undervalued: By containing the smell, you will save yourself dozens upon dozens of trips to the garbage can.


A white noise machine that pulls double duty

Hatch Rest Sound Machine, Night Light & Time-to-Rise

A phone-controlled sound machine may be something you never considered until now, but it will be a major lifesaver for years to come, especially as it can also function as a time-to-rise clock that promotes good sleep habits for your child.


And as for securing all these awesome products? Well, a Target baby registry is the way to do it. By creating your baby registry with Target, you will also enjoy their Year of Benefits registry program, which includes perks like a welcome kit with more than $100 in savings and samples, two 15% off coupons to complete your registry, and a full year of returns. The benefits are better than ever right now: Target just launched the Year of Exclusive Deals perk as one of its registry benefits, and this includes a year's worth of discounts on baby essentials (think diapers and formula) and comes complementary when you sign up for Target Circle.

Because while parenting may not be "easy," deciding to register with Target definitely is an easy decision. Start your Target baby registry now and enjoy shopping with a Year of Benefits featuring a Year of Exclusive Deals available via Target Circle, two 15% off coupons, a year of hassle-free returns, a free welcome kit and more!

This article was sponsored by Target. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

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9 products that will help baby sleep better (and longer!)

For many parents, attempting naps and bedtime can seem like a never-ending cycle of rocking, shushing and hoping for some kind of magic sleep solution.

How do I get my baby to sleep? This is one of the most commonly asked questions among new parents, and it makes sense, given that babies are born with their days and nights mixed up. For many parents, attempting naps and bedtime can seem like a never-ending cycle of rocking, shushing and hoping for some kind of magic sleep solution.

And while that might not exist (yet), we have found some of the best products out there that can help baby fall asleep faster and for longer durations. Because when baby is sleeping, so are you!

Dreamland Baby weighted sleep sack and swaddle

Designed by a mama, parents swear by this weighted sleep sack. It mimics your hug to give your baby security and comfort that helps them get to sleep faster and stay asleep longer. The detachable swaddle wing makes it easy to transition as they grow.

It's also super easy to get on and off, and includes a bottom-up zipper for late night changes, so you don't have to wake your baby in the process.


Yogasleep Hushh portable sound machine

Yogasleep hushh sound machine

With three soothing options, this is a perfect solution to help your baby settle when naps are on the go and during travel! I love how compact this noise machine is and that it can run all night with one charge.


Bebe au Lait muslin crib sheets

Burt's Bees Organic Crib Sheets

With a variety of print options to choose from, these breathable sheets are *so* soft and smooth, even through multiple washes. The luxury fabric keeps little ones warm without overheating—a formula that helps ensure more sleep for everyone.


The Simple Folk perfect pajamas

The Simple Folk perfect pajamas

You know what's going to help baby have their best sleep ever? Some quality, super soft pajamas. The timeless (and aptly named!) Perfect Pajama from The Simple Folk are some of our favorites. They last forever and they're made from organic pima cotton that is safe on baby's precious skin. They come in a wide range of sizes so siblings can match and feature fold-over hand covers on sizes up to 12 months.


The Snoo bassinet


Designed by expert pediatrician and sleep guru Dr. Harvey Karp, the Snoo bassinet gently rocks your baby to sleep while snuggled up in the built-in swaddle. Not only does it come with sensors that adjust the white noise and movement based on your baby's needs, there is also an app that allows you to adjust the settings directly from your phone.

While this item is a bit on the expensive side, there is now an option to rent for $3.50 a day, which is a total game changer!


Hatch Baby Rest sound machine + nightlight

best baby sound machine

The Hatch Baby Rest is a dual sound machine and nightlight that will grow with your family. Many parents use this product with their infants as a white-noise machine and then as a "time to rise" solution for toddlers.

The thing I love most about this product is that the light it gives off isn't too bright, and you can even select different color preferences; giving your toddler choices at bedtime.


Crane humidifier

Crane Humidifier

The only thing worse than a sick baby is a baby who is sick and not sleeping well. The Crane humidifier helps take care of this by relieving congestion and helping your baby breathe better while sleeping.

Personally, I think the adorable design options alone are enough of a reason to purchase this product, and your child will love watching steam come out of the elephant's trunk!


Naturepedic organic crib mattress

Naturpedic Lightweight Organic Mattress

In the first few months of life, babies can spend up to 17 hours a day sleeping, so choosing a mattress that is safe (read: no chemicals!) and comfortable is incredibly important.

Naturepedic uses allergen-friendly and waterproof materials with babies and children in mind, making them easy to clean and giving you peace of mind.


Happiest Baby sleepea 5-second swaddle

best baby swaddle

There are baby swaddles and then there is Sleepea. Similar to the brand's swaddle that is built into the Snoo, the Sleepea is magic for multiple reasons. First, it's got mesh panels ensuring baby never overheats. Second, the zipper zips from the top or the bottom, so you can change the baby's diaper in the middle of the night without ever waking them. Third, it's hip safe. Fourth, the patterns are SO cute. And fifth, the interior swaddle wrap that keeps baby's ams down has a "quiet" velcro that won't wake baby if you need to readjust while they're asleep.


We independently select and share the products we love—and may receive a commission if you choose to buy. You've got this.


10 photos to take on baby’s first day that you'll cherish forever

You'll obsess over these newborn baby pictures.

Bethany Menzel: Instagram + Blog

As you're preparing for baby's birth, we bet you're dreaming of all of the amazing photos you'll take of your precious new babe. As a professional photographer and mama, I have some tips for newborn photos you'll want to capture.

Here are the 10 photos you will want to take on baby's first day.

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