I have come up with an easy to remember way for you guys to ask your doctor these things that you need to know, and that’s the BALLS Method. It sounds like a joke, but it’s actually quite serious. I am very serious about this. I have come to know from my experience in helping thousands of people that men are too often left out. Sperm is an equally important part of a healthy pregnancy.
I am not suggesting that we point fingers and say who is to blame. We are in the age of problem solving. Even better, problem prevention. Whatever the case may be, egg and sperm must meet to create a healthy embryo. That is what I’m focused on.
I know it sounds like it is pretty obvious and not rocket science, but I think we too often forget the importance of sperm. Let’s invite men to the fertility party. As you may have guessed from the name, this approach has everything to do with the dude part of the baby-making equation. I want to make it incredibly easy and socially acceptable to talk about sperm.
Whether you are trying to get pregnant at home or with IVF, the BALLS method is for you.
We start with the TUSHY method, because that’s where it all starts. The TUSHY method, the five tests that you can do to understand your fertility. This is for a woman to do, to check her tubes, uterus, the S is for the balls part, hormones, and your genetics. Then if there is a sperm issue, that’s where BALLS comes in, after a TUSHY check.
If you learn that the sperm quality is low, I don’t want you to be confused, I don’t want you to think there’s nothing you can do about it, because there certainly is. That is why I created this method, to help men and their partners understand and remember these simple steps to understanding their fertility and sperm health. It’s a checklist designed to not only understand your sperm health, but also how to improve it.
Let’s start with how you get a sperm test. We are in an age where you can literally do it yourself at home. There are two easy tests that I refer my patients to and I want you to know about them.
With YoSpermTest, you don’t even need to ship anything out from your house to get a result. You get to see a really cool video and you get a score.
The other test is Meet Fellow. You can go to MeetFellow.com/eggwhisperer and they give you a really nice report. This is done at home and you have to ship it out, and they’ll get your report within two days. You can take that report and show it to your doctor. See how easy it is now? You don’t have to make an appointment at a clinic and go there or travel to do this kind of stuff. You can do it in the privacy of your home.
Let’s talk BALLS. You have the report, now you want to see what you can do to make your sperm amazing. If you know me, you know I love the word sparkle. When you’re in my office, I talk about looking at the sperm and watching them sparkle across the screen when I do IUIs. I’m digressing a bit. I’ll put the catheter in sometimes and put an abdominal probe on my patient’s abdomen, and we see sperm sparkles and sperm showers as I push the plunger of the syringe once the catheter is at the top of the uterus.
Let’s talk BALLS
Here are the 5 parts of the BALLS Method:
The B is background genetics. The answer to why you’re having sperm issues could definitely be in your DNA. If the sperm count and motility are low, then talk to your doctor about additional testing. These tests include chromosome analysis, this is done by blood, Y chromosome microdeletion, also a simple blood test, a carrier screen, either blood or saliva, and a sperm DNA fragmentation test, this is studied by looking at the sperm. It sounds like it’s a lot, but honestly these tests are very easy to do, and they can give you answers and guide you as far as what you should be thinking about next.
The A stands for anatomy. A dilated vein on the testicle, also known as a varicocele, diagnosed through a scrotal ultrasound or an exam by a male fertility specialist, also known as a urologist, is a really common finding when a guy has low sperm counts. This can also reduce testosterone levels, affect the sperm DNA fragmentation test, so you can see why it would be so important to see if someone has a varicocele or not, because treatment can oftentimes (more often than not) result in healthier better swimmers and more sparkly sperm.
Now we have the L, and that’s lifestyle. There’s more and more mounting evidence to suggest that lifestyle affects sperm count. What do I mean by that? Let’s take a look at all the things that go into our lifestyle. It is super important to have a normal BMI. It sounds cheesy, I know, but I want both of my patients, if it is a heterosexual couple for example, to be the best versions of themselves. I want you to be the best version of you.
Exercising most days of the week, eating very healthy, and the other thing that I talk about is sleeping at least 7 to 9 hours if you can, 8 would be ideal, decreasing stress, avoiding exposure to heat, limiting alcohol, avoiding tobacco and marijuana, and review your medication list with your doctor. Sometimes you’re on a medication that you didn’t even know could block sperm fertilization, like a calcium channel blocker, or you’ve been taking testosterone thinking that it could help sperm when the reality is that it’s basically like a birth control pill for men. Lastly, look at the vitamins you are taking and see if you can add more.
Some of the products that I recommend to my patients are AlphaSperm. You can go to AlphaSperm.com and use the code EGGWHISPERER50 for 50% off. I have no affiliation with any of the companies that I’m talking to you guys about. If I did, maybe I would be quitting my day job, and I’m not, not forever. The other product is through Theralogix, and that’s Conception XR. You can use the PRC code TUSHY. I recommend prenatals for my female patients and the same for my male patients, for obvious reasons, because we want the best quality sperm so they can impress the egg and the egg will let them in and we’ll get even more beautiful embryos.
The second L is for labs. Women are used to getting poked and prodded and getting all these hormones checked. For guys, there are simple tests that we can do as well. I will give you that list. Lab tests can include testosterone, FSH, LH, estradiol – yes, I did just say estrogen in men. It can be elevated and that’s something that you might want to know, because if it is, there are steroids you could use to bring it down and increase sperm count and quality – prolactin, TSH, vitamin D, and hemoglobin A1C to rule out prediabetes. The reasons for a low sperm count could be low testosterone, high prolactin, a thyroid issue, diabetes, high cholesterol, and low vitamin D, and these things can all be treated. My goal is for you guys to know what your diagnosis is to know what is in your control to fix it and then do treatment, so that your treatment is as successful as possible.
Now for the S: Sex. It is so important to talk about sex. The reason why is we know for a fact the amount of sexual issues that can occur when a couple is trying to conceive. We know that having sex around ovulation is not the way it is in the soap operas and the telenovelas, although that would be amazing and awesome if it could be like that every time. The reality is that it is work, and it’s annoying, and sometimes people have hurt feelings.
I get it. But I think it is super important to talk about sex with your doctor. As a fertility doctor, you can tell I have no problem talking about sex and I actually say things like, “How is your sex life? When was the last time you guys had sex?” If the couple is looking at each other like, “Three months ago,” then obviously we know there is an issue.
Be sure to bring this up, do not be afraid. See a sex therapist. Talk to a urologist. Not all guys are going to be comfortable talking to me, especially in front of their wives, but there are other doctors out there who this is all they do is talk about sex and see how they can improve things in the bedroom. At the end of the day, that can help with sperm.
One question I get asked is, for example, “What can I do to prepare for an IUI, what suggestions do you have?” I say you have to have sex leading up to it, don’t save up. The best position is a position that you’re going to enjoy the most. The reason why I know this, let me tell you, if a guy feels super awkward and super stressed out for a semen collection for an IUI, his sperm isn’t going to be as good compared with if it’s a relaxed situation.
Those are the things to talk about. What can you do to be in the mood around the time of collection, around sex, around ovulation, so that your sperm will sparkle? I imagine guys looking down now saying, “Is my sperm sparkling?” Maybe I should come up with a t-shirt that says that.
You now know how to make your Egg Whisperer Plan, you have the TUSHY method, you have the BALLS, method and together they make the Egg Whisperer DIET. The diet is not a recipe that my grandmother taught me. Unfortunately, no one taught me how to cook as a child. They only taught me about fertility medicine. Being raised by a bunch of doctors, this is all we talked about. The Egg Whisperer DIET is knowing your diagnosis before your IVF cycle or infertility treatment, understanding the endometrium, which is the inside lining of your uterus, and then moving forward with treatment or your transfer.
I hope you learned all about the BALLS method and now you will go to your doctor and be like, “What’s up with my BALLS?” They will be like, “Stop watching her podcast.” In the meantime, I hope you’ll tune back in, I hope you’ll join my next class through Egg Whisperer School. Thank you for watching and listening. I hope your sperm sparkles.
You can also catch more of me and fertility topics like this through The Egg Whisperer Show. The episodes are live-streamed on YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter and on Wednesdays at 7 PM PST. Subscribe to the podcast too!