A full year has gone by since we first met Erik & Philippa and they shared their fertility journey with us.
In part one, two, and three, they openly and honestly shared their thoughts and feelings about infertility, fertility treatment, and their battle against low sperm quality and early menopause.
How ExSeed helped Erik to boost male fertility
When they started their IVF journey, the fertility clinic focused on Philippa’s fertility issues. Even though Erik had low sperm quality, he didn’t get any recommendations on how he could boost male fertility and improve his sperm quality.
To complement their fertility treatment, an ExSeed coach created a personalized lifestyle program for Erik to follow. With individualized fertility guidance, motivational sparring meetings, and concrete action plans, he got help to adopt an improved and healthier lifestyle.
I felt I was part of the fertility treatment and was empowered to do something to improve our pregnancy chances. ExSeed’s focus was to include me and give me a larger role in the ‘baby-making project’.
“ExSeed’s counseling and advice were very personalized. It’s never easy to change your habits, but with ExSeed’s continuous support and ongoing Skype sessions, it became easier to set up and maintain a healthy lifestyle”, Erik explains. “With ExSeed, I ate at least three meals a day, and got help to eliminate unhealthy eating habits. I also reduced my intake of alcohol, and stopped using the seat warmer in the car. We also increased our intake of vegetables and fish, and started taking supplements. We went out on evening walks in order to get at least 30 minutes of exercise each day. It was cool to find out that as a man, you can change your sperm quality in only 3-6 months”.
The joy of a baby
So, what happened? Well, the story has a happy ending!
A couple of months after starting the ExSeed Lifestyle Coaching program the couple got pregnant through IVF and in November 2019, Madeline was born. Today, life is still stressful for the couple, but in a completely different way compared to last year.
“It’s a dream coming true to finally have become a family”, Philippa says. “Madeline is the sweetest little girl, but we have also figured out why sleep deprivation can be used as torture!”, she laughs and continues:
“Our first year as parents has been truly fantastic. Of course, we’ve had our fair share of tough nights and development leaps. But as soon as we see Madeline’s smile, it doesn’t matter if you’re sleep deprived, haven’t had a proper shower in five days, or have baby food on your clothes… she’s our greatest gift!”
“We can easily spend an entire day on the floor with her, singing nursery rhymes and speaking baby language. It’s the ultimate feeling of unconditional love, where you expect nothing in return.”
“Parenthood is everything we’ve dreamt about – we’ve been standing on the sidelines for so long! Even if we’ve had the time to prepare for parenthood, we sometimes need to slow down and take a couple of extra breaths to prepare us for new situations. Everything is a first time again because we now have another little person that we’re responsible for. But it’s pure joy to overcome a challenge as a team effort. We love being parents together for our little girl.”
Erik & Philippa’s recommendations to other couples struggling with infertility
Erik and Philippa have learned many things from their fertility journey, both about themselves as individuals and as a couple. Most important is patience, positive thinking, and supporting your partner when struggling with infertility.
“We have especially learned that we handle grief differently and have different emotional processes. You can’t solve infertility with a deep conversation over a glass of wine, but we’ve had to learn to create space for one another when we need alone-time. You also need to understand your individual process of handling grief with self-healing and inner work”, Philippa says.
“As a partner, it can be hard to accept when you can’t support your partner. That goes for both mental and physical health, and when we reached that acceptance, we got pregnant”, Erik adds.
Besides lifestyle improvements to boost male fertility, ExSeed’s coaching also helped the couple to cope with the stress of being infertile.
“Infertility problems can happen to both women and men and there are many men who have low sperm quality. If you’re a man and have low sperm quality, we can without a doubt recommend everyone to start with ExSeed’s lifestyle program to boost male fertility and have a better chance at avoiding going through a tough fertility treatment”, the couple says.
“I would recommend every man to test their sperm quality, even if starting a family isn’t currently a top priority. If you want to have kids in the future, and perhaps have low sperm quality… you owe it to yourself and to your partner to do what you can. Not only does it increase your chances of pregnancy. It also includes the man in the treatment process and fertility conversation. It’s otherwise easy for guys to lean back while the woman has to be the one in the relationship to bear the burden of potential infertility and fertility treatment”, Erik states.
Philippa adds: “Erik was also tired of feeling powerless in this process. With ExSeed’s Lifestyle Coaching program there was something concrete he could do to contribute. That also made me relax as it gave us a balance to the fertility treatment. We could both play an equal part in starting a family”.
The ExSeed team wishes the couple all the best in the future, and thanks them for sharing their journey with us.