We asked four healthcare providers—a reproductive endocrinologist, a urologist, a registered dietitian, and a naturopathic doctor—whether men should take a prenatal vitamin when trying to conceive. Here's what they had to say.
When trying to conceive (TTC), it’s easy to focus just on the woman’s health, but there are things men can do to optimize their fertility too. After all, male factor infertility is responsible for about 50% of infertility cases.
We asked four healthcare providers whether or not men should take a prenatal vitamin when trying to conceive. Here's what they had to say:
1. Dr. Andrew Sun, Urologist
“We always recommend that men take certain vitamins while trying to conceive to maximize their fertility potential. There is a good body of scientific evidence that supplements such as Vitamin C, L-Carnitine, Coenzyme Q10, and Selenium can help improve semen parameters, and we recommend that all our men take them.”
2. Lauren Manaker, MS, RDN, LD, CLEC
“Men should take a prenatal vitamin during the preconception period regardless of whether they have a known fertility challenge. Certain nutrients like selenium and Coenzyme Q10 may help support fertility goals, and quantities needed to play a role can be challenging to consume via diet alone. The challenge is to make sure that quantities are provided in amounts that may actually play a role in the body and not just added for marketing purposes.
A man's nutrition status may also play a role in pregnancy outcomes. For example, data suggests that adequate intake of a man's folate intake before conception may result in a longer pregnancy for couples who underwent IVF.”
Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility Fellow at UCSF Center for Reproductive Health
“For the average man, there is no data linking supplements with improved fertility. Some studies show a benefit on outcomes and miscarriage rates for men in couples with infertility, but the quality of the studies is very poor. So what should men take to improve their fertility? Good care of themselves: don’t smoke, drink less, and exercise more.”
Naturopathic Doctor with a Master's in Nutrition at Holistic Fertility Center in Berkeley, CA
“Men should absolutely take a prenatal. In the traditional sense, prenatals are what women take during pregnancy—for men, a preconception prenatal vitamin would be more appropriate. Men have increased needs for nutrients during the pre-conception phase so it would be optimal for men to consider taking prenatal or pre-conception vitamins. Additionally, male sperm counts have decreased to half of what they used to be just 50 years ago, and a higher percentage of sperm are not viable. So, there is a need for a men's preconception vitamin.”