In this episode, we delve deep into a topic often shrouded in mystery and discomfort – male infertility. We’re joined by the esteemed Dr. Beck Hoehn, a world-renowned Fertility Acupuncturist and expert in the field. Get ready to uncover the truth behind male fertility and learn the essential steps to take for couples looking to improve their chances of conception.
If you’ve been primarily focusing on female fertility, you might be missing out on the significant impact that male infertility can have on your chances of conception. Neglecting this vital aspect could be a mistake that’s holding you back from starting or expanding your family.
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Podcast Episode Transcript
Welcome back to the Make a Baby podcast. I’m Caroline Sitchmayor, your podcast host and Reiki womb healer. We were talking about what men can do to improve their fertility and what’s going on with this. This is a very common question I get across on my TikToks and my DMs and with my clients. So I have brought on a very special guest.
Now, this is not any ordinary person. This is her third time on the podcast. This is Dr. Beck Cohen. It’s a world-renowned Fertility acupuncturist and fertility expert, and she’s going to share knowledge about what we need to know about male infertility. Dr. Hohen, thank you so much for being here. Thank you so much for having me.
I love your listeners and I love being on your show. Oh my goodness. That’s why you’re back for a third time. Third time’s the charm. Party down. So you have educated me so much about fertility. Now tell me about what we should know about male infertility. Is it decreasing or increasing? This is a good lead in question, as always.
I love it. Yeah, so it’s really interesting when we consider male infertility because I think that it gets marginalized and stepped over in health care and reproductive health. So we generally tend to focus a lot on the female infertility kind of part of the equation and male infertility comprises around 30 to 40 percent of all All infertility cases.
So the other thing that has happened is that male infertility has become such an issue. It’s a global issue, right? So the sperm parameters of sperm quality has declined so much so that the World Health Organization has just kind of always just lowered the bar of what that standard criteria needs to look like.
So semen analysis that you would see now wouldn’t even be deemed fertile like 10 years ago. So it’s a pretty big deal. Should men get tested before women? Like who should be evaluated first? So the semen analysis is a cornerstone of testing and like part of the workup, right? And it’s not the end all be all.
Like it’s definitely like there’s other things that you should definitely do, but it’s It’s easier because male infertility is the first step because it’s relatively simpler and less evasive to do in terms of testing than female fertility testing. So a semen analysis, which includes count, motility, and morphology can provide a lot more insight into a man’s fertility status than what has to happen on the female side, right?
On the female side, those evaluations are pretty arduous. And they’re very time-consuming, they’re very evasive, and they’re very, very costly. So it’s really great to like start with an easier lift and the easier rule out when you’re starting to approach your fertility. What doctors should a person be seeing when they want to get their male infertility checked?
So, generally speaking, you would want to go to a urologist who specializes in fertility, and that would be the first place to start. A lot of times people go to their primary care physician, and they have to ask for that referral. I don’t know how their insurance is structured. And then at our clinic, We just refer to our reproductive endocrinologist who is the person that we rely on solely to do a lot of the testing that we need to have done on our patients.
Can they see a traditional Chinese medicine doctor like yourself for male infertility? Yeah, so for the basic Western intervention or workup, if you’re in the state of California, most of your fertility acupuncturists are considered primary care physicians and they can run any semen analysis you want.
But again, this is something that has to be handled very gently and very delicately and with somebody that’s. specializes specifically in male factor. So if you find a fertility acupuncturist and you’re interviewing them, you want to make sure like, okay, do you also do male workup work? Oh, it’s a great information to have.
So if they find a doctor. And they get the work up, will they find out particularly, like, what are the contributing causes behind it? Is that possible to ever find out from these tests? So then they can make changes. I guess it’s similar to women. So, can they make lifestyle changes or treatments can be given for male infertility or is it even curable or is it reversible?
So, cure is a big word, so we would probably use something certain parameters can be treated and then create the possibility of a successful conception. So you really want to look at the underlying cause of what’s going on. So we’re looking at count, morphology, and motility, and you want to really make sure that you get that test done because again, you want to see if there’s things that are structurally compromising your ability to produce sperm.
Certain lifestyle changes might need to happen. We want the testes to be at the right temperature so that sperm production can be It can happen with relative alacrity, right? So if the testes are too hot, if there’s too much fat over the scrotum, that can definitely damage the sperm. So right out of the gates, the swimmers are really not giving their Fair shake, so to speak, but when we say can male infertility be cured, that’s really not the question we should be asking is like, what are the contributing things that we need to look at that?
We can mitigate change, modify and address to optimize. Exactly. To be fewer. Great. More fertile. More fertile. Yeah. So like, cause that’s actually one of the top Google questions I’m doing research is could meal infertility be cured? We really don’t want to address that, but so the next question is, is meal.
Infertility permanent, I would say that probably depends on a case-by-case basis in diagnosis, whether it’s from the endocrinologist or the person, the medical professional you’re working with, but definitely there could be things that can be done to address whatever you’re contributing factors are based upon your 1 size does not fit all when it comes to your fertility.
So that applies to women and with men. Would you agree? 100%. Like, yes, I would definitely agree. And then this is the same as like, regardless of whatever gender. Um, I, I, I love hearing my friends at Precision Analytical talk about this, but you know, cortisol is like, the stress response is the number one reproductive health killer, right?
Like, and I love how they frame this where it’s like, if you’re running from the tiger or the bear. On the African plane, you are not going to sit around and grow hair and nails and make a baby. You are going to allocate all of your resources to the fast twitch muscle fibers of the quads, up regulate heart and lung function so that you can run.
You’re not sitting there. sitting around like, Hey, I would love to grow my hair long and also make a baby, right? And I say that kind of jokingly, but it’s very, very true in this case to cortisol and blood sugar regulation can really impair sperm production as well. So we want to make sure that that is all taken care of on a foundational level before we start kind of working on considering making a baby, right?
So those things take time. I think especially we need to talk about cortisol and that’s the stress hormone. I think that it is, especially when it comes to men, men handle stress differently than women, but also then it goes into individual basis, like versus like, what do they, do they feel their emotions?
How do they handle stress? What are their beliefs around stress management? Do they have any stress management skills? Just depends on, I think on the individual person and If they have those skills, or have developed that, or have an interest to address how they manage stress and what contributes to their very high stress levels, which could be emotions, anger, which is an emotion, but like, if we don’t have.
A willingness or an approach or a skill set to manage stress that makes this whole issue much harder. Is there anything in traditional Chinese medicine that you’ve found successful in training stress in men or that allow that transformation and reducing that stress hormone that’s been really effective in male infertility?
Yeah, I mean it always comes back down to the like the basic tenements of stress management, right? So it’s just like making sure that the person is very well resourced. They’re eating regularly So like every two to three hours is really important. Like even these the combination of how you snack is very important Um, that’s a very good point.
I think when I think stress I immediately go to emotions, but stress can be work, food Sleep could be so many things So yeah, it’s a physiological response, right? So like, just even just as a smaller example, this is kind of off topic, but not really like, you know, you always want to look at your blood sugar regulation, right?
So if you have a sawtooth profile. to your glucose, then your brain is going to signify that it’s going to shut off if it doesn’t get sugar right away, right? So sugar in the form of like, not like the sugar that comes out of a sugar bowl, but like any type of sugar, and it’s going to create those cravings and feeling that.
That almost like a scarcity, right? So when we’re regulating blood sugar, we have to keep everything very, very regular, right? Like keeping it very, very, so ways to do that is just working with a lot of fiber and leading with a lot of fiber so that you can almost time delay how you’re digesting your food and absorbing and assimilating it.
I never thought about how fiber would play a fact in blood sugar or how that can help male infertility. Interesting, you make my brain think of things I never think of before. Yeah, and it’s also like, you know, I wanted to touch on something that you said that was very important and interesting that was like this response to stress, right?
So like, first we have to talk about the fact that there is stress, right? And then how do you resource that person? Right now I have a male factor patient and I asked him What he does for stress management. He’s like, I’m not stressed. And I was like, okay, can we just do a little workshopping on like some journaling?
And I feel like he was about to like punch me in the stomach because it was like, I really need to do this. Are we really here? I’m not stressed out. And then I said, okay, can we try to track how this would come up? So just, I think even in an urban environment, you are so inundated. With the stressors of daily life, just like managing, just picking up your dry cleaning or like whatever the dumb thing is, right, that you have to like do to navigate your day, there’s an element of radical stress that is involved in we are overscheduled as a culture.
We have expectations that are out of control and we don’t. Yeah, traffic like we don’t manage those. So that physiological response of that chemical message of cortisol Even though you don’t think that you are Intellectually there is that response and everyone has it so You need to manage it that brings up.
It’s very common that that response, but it’s not in men for me. But when I mentioned I use the word trauma or pain, they’re like, Oh, like, do you have any traumas that you that you want to heal? And they’re like, uh, no, everything was pretty great when I was growing up. I was like, there’s always something to heal.
So a person may not identify. So the first thing is like, recognizing that the thing you were experiencing Putting a label on it and I know a lot of people are like fearful of labels or identification But like if you don’t identify it as stress or like then we don’t have anywhere to start with So we don’t have anywhere to go We can’t change when we know that this is like once you identify I find that willingness is really actually the key of whether or not I will work with someone if they want to have a certain outcome, but They’re not willing to identify, you know, the actual thing that is contributing to the stress or the trauma or before, then it’s actually not something I can actually work with as a practitioner, because then I can’t help you because then that means you’re not willing to go in deeper beyond that, because that’s just the symptom.
Like, what’s behind it? Like, what’s the belief behind it? What’s the values behind it? What are the decisions that are. Okay. Thank you. Now just have it behind it that there’s like a whole system. There’s a whole web of things behind that one symptom. Yeah, and to your point is like just that becomes a cornerstone of your care, right?
Like, so this is the same thing of the semen analysis or like just the stress management is like If you are trying to make a baby, you got to start somewhere. Like get yourself the data that you need. And make a plan with a specialist or a fertility acupuncturist or somebody, right? Like, write it out and be a little bit more organized than you otherwise would have, right?
Like, you have to take your, I have one patient right now, we have to do a case study for him and a presentation of how much more expensive fertility is going to get. If he doesn’t improve his sperm health, right? So, if you think this is expensive right now, talking to your fertility acupuncturist, It’s for a free call and not making the changes, then you are going to have a rude awakening when it comes to having to do ICSI or some sort of other assisted reproductive technology that you are going to, you know, just do your part, right?
It’s so wild. I know this is a really off topic, but, um, I was watching an episode of 90 day fiance. It’s one of the spinoffs and it was one of the. Yeah, I am obsessed and one of the couples they live, they were living in Mexico city and they are two men they’re married and they went to a clinic in Mexico city and they got the cost of what it would cost for a surrogate in Mexico, 72, 000 for the egg donation.
And the embryo creation and then the surrogate, it would all cost 72, 000 dollars and that’s in Mexico. So just the cost of things. I always find that also the mindset is that of a lot of people who are opposed to the cost. Of infertility when it comes to, like, the holistic side is they don’t really understand or they don’t want to understand.
It’s not that you’re creating a family or creating a baby. You’re also changing your health because your blood pressure is going to be affected. Your quality of sleep is going to change once you’re on these protocols with. Like, a fertility acupuncturist, there’s a whole transformation that happens when you address.
These other contributory factors, it’s not just giving. Your semen, a fighting chance to conceive with your partner, it’s also like your other parts of your life. Are you going to have more energy? Are you going to be in a better mood for maybe your other children or maybe your libido will be restored.
Maybe they have low libido, you know, whatever it may be. I find like when I’m talking to women, a lot of their husbands are resistant, but they’re not aware that these other things are going to be changed and that they can be improved. these other parts of their life. I don’t think that they have the wherewithal of no, not wherewithal, but like, I guess the, the consciousness on a day-to-day basis that, that this is important, right?
And the other thing too, is that like sperm health has like a very short turnover compared to a female fertility, right? So this is a great place to start when you’re trying to make a baby because This is something that you can turn around. If you can turn around, you can turn around and make changes and interventions.
To your life very quickly that are also going to improve other aspects of your life so that you can be a dad like hang out and like play Baseball with your son or like be around and watch him graduate or her graduate or whatever And so these are transformational changes that last and they’re very impactful that can last a very very long time Is it possible also that the changes that men make based upon, like, their sperm analysis, can the changes be seen quicker?
Like, can they get faster results because of that sperm health? For sure. Yeah. I wasn’t understanding if that was, like, the takeaway from what you said. Like, it’s actually very powerful. So 30 to 40 percent of couples, is what you said, are impacted by male infertility. So if we’re able to get men Addressed with their sperm analysis and a full workup, they can see results faster because of sperm health, of course.
And if they make results, how quickly can they see results? Well, as quickly as about like two to three months, right? So about seven, they say 70 days around that time. And so it takes a woman around and bare minimum, like three months. To restore like restore repair or evolve or transform your fertility, right?
So it’s a big deal. I mean if you think about you know, you’re bringing is it’s not that hard you’re bringing half of the genetic material to the table right for the embryo and your sperm health has a lot to do with if your partner is going to miscarry or have a live birth rate, right? Like Captain Obvious, but like, I don’t think that this is talked about enough.
So the sperm can impact whether a wife or a woman can miscarry or have a live birth. Well, yeah, for sure. I mean, it’s half of the genetic material, right? So I thought about it. Yeah. So once those fibers unpack inside of the cell. Right, so they have to come together and conjoin and so much conditioning though And I guess I’ve been so woman-centric in my dreams in my healing Offerings that I’ve never really given so much thought is like I’ve done the spiritual and the energetic side of things But, I don’t think when women, if they do suffer a loss, they don’t account for that though.
Ah, that’s a really great point. I love that up. I don’t think we’ve put enough focus on it, for sure. No. Like, at all. Like, I don’t, and if I’m like completely taking ownership of this, like, I’m so focused on female health. Right? It’s like females find me. I see female patients. Like it’s very rare. Like right now of my patient base of, I think I have a patient base of about like 50 or 60 people right now.
And like, like five of them are men. And like, it’s a crazy day because their wives are too. Are they there because their wives are there too? Yes. And so I was thinking about it this week. I was like, how do we change this around? And I finally like watched a training on male effectors this weekend. They said that there’s another clinic that like offers half-off for treatments for men at their office just to get them in the door to like work on regulating their cortisol.
And I was like, I’m going to start doing that because it’s just like, I hate having this This is like conversation. I’m spending hours and hours of my time just like trying to get them to come in and like, I don’t know why we step over it. Right. So what you’ve mentioned the most in this episode is like probably the most common Like, contributing factor to meal infertility is cortisol.
No, I would not say that. I would say that there’s a lot of factors. What would you say then? I would say that there’s a lot of factors at play. I wouldn’t just pigeonhole it on one thing for sure. Lifestyle factors in terms of what the job looks like, um, what your exposure is during the day can be really influential.
Your food choices kept an obvious, again, sorry to keep saying that, but, and then things like smoking, even. Cigarette smoking obviously will damage vaping, vaping, any type of smoking. So marijuana use in general or vaping or any cigarette smoking will damage sperm production. And so we want to kind of take a look at that and making sure that the person has the right nutrients on board.
So a lot of processed foods and a lot of processed. Meats can be really pro-inflammatory and damage and deter sperm production. So, and then again, I’ll say this for the like third or fourth time during this podcast is just because you get a semen analysis back and it says you’re akay. You do not go to the 7 Eleven and continue eating Cheetos.
I have a friend who is trying to conceive and she has gotten everything done with her gynecologist and even had some fibroids removed and had a small surgery. So now she’s working with her spouse on actually getting a semen analysis. Yeah, and it’s this big resistance of him wanting to go. So I find that most of the time men that are in the fertility offices is because the women have got them there or you know, you gotta go or else type of deal, but I don’t know how to normalize it, but Uh, this conversation or about male infertility or semen or the word sperm or penis, I don’t know how to normalize it other than I’m glad we’re doing this episode because men find it embarrassing.
I think that there’s just a lot of shame and embarrassment and I wish there wasn’t around infertility, but there’s also like this. Kind of like negative connotation, I guess, around, like, for men, like, oh, my manhood’s affected or something like that with, like, their masculinity when, when men are like, they have to admit that they’re like, sperm has to be analyzed or changes so that they can conceive.
Well, it’s very similar to women. I mean like it’s very so much of your meaning and your way Life and identity is wrapped up in your ability to procreate, right? Right. I mean that’s like we live in America That’s like what we, it’s like what we do, you know, I mean, it’s just, I don’t really know how to turn the tide with this question and this issue.
I would love some feedback on it. I have, I’m trying it. We’re having the conversation. Yeah. We’re having the conversation. And, and like, I think my whole reason for practicing is to educate and empower people to not just make babies, but to make families and to really. take the tools that they learn at our office and like are able to apply them for the rest of their lives, right?
So every time I don’t know how to do something in clinic, I always think, okay, how can I shift this person’s mindset? How can I give them the right tools that are very digestible and very easy to like implement? During the week, right? So we start with tiny little things in Malefactor, so we start with like very very small tips And they almost get like a syllabus in our office where it’s just like each week We’re going to talk about a different topic Then we’re going to follow up on what we talked about last week, and then we’re gonna execute a third thing, right?
Like whatever that thing is, right? So just making it very easy and digestible again has been like very successful so far. This is so profound. Thank you so much for your time. You are releasing a new Oh my god, yeah. So the course I’m very excited about that is going to be released in October of this year and there’s going to be a bundle.
We’re going to do my egg quality course and the sperm health course together. So that’ll be a very great bundle to hit the marketplace. So to speak and help people out. But this was great that we actually had the opportunity to do this podcast interview because I’ve been researching for this course. So the course is a great way to start empowering yourself and your partner about sperm health.
It’s very comprehensive. It talks about all of the factors that can influence sperm production and how to execute your own male fertility plan. So that you have all the tools, tips, and strategies that you need to show up for your baby. I love that. And I know it’s going to impact so many people. So I want to thank you so much for being here and where can people find you on social media?
That’s a great question. You can follow me on Instagram at DrBeckCohen and also on TikTok. And my team and I just launched a really exciting thing called Bun Oven Buzz. So that is our Facebook group and we’re going to have some really great guests in there and I’m going to go live once a week. So just in the first week alone, we had 28 members be in the group. So it’s a very robust group and it’s really great gaining a lot of momentum as it starts to develop. Great. We’ll be sure to link that in the show notes link. And I am so grateful for you that you’re here and Listeners, thank you so much for listening for another week until next time. Let the Reiki flow