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Erik & Philippa Part 4 – Baby Dreams Came True  

Erik & Philippa Part 4 – Baby Dreams Came True

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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.

Erik & Philippa baby image “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.

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More to explore

Wearing tight pants and underwear

Studies show that men who wear looser underwear have higher sperm concentration and total sperm count compared to men who wear tighter underwear. So, lose the tight clothes and wear something loose to give your testicles some air.

CONCLUSION: learn more about how heat can affect sperm quality here.


Besides higher mortality rate and various diseases, stress is associated with low sperm quality. Stress is known to be associated with lower testosterone levels and oxidative stress with both playing an essential role in producing and maintaining healthy sperm cells.

CONCLUSION: If you feel stressed, we recommend you get some help so you can have a balanced mental health. For a stress management guide, download the ExSeed app for free and start your personalized action plan today.

Physical activity

Scientific studies show that men who are physically active have better semen parameters than men who are inactive. Fertility specialists also state that regular physical activity has beneficial impact on sperm fertility parameters and such a lifestyle can enhance the fertility status of men.

Prioritizing exercise can help improve your overall health and result in healthy, fast swimming sperm cells that have good chances of fertilizing an egg.

CONCLUSION: Try incorporating exercise in your weekly schedule to you ensure exercising at least twice weekly. We recommend a combination of cardio training and strength exercise. Read more about exercise and male fertility on our blog.


Fast Food
Processed foods damage the health of sperm-producing cells and cause oxidative stress, which lead to poorer sperm quality. Heavy consumption of junk food (every week) can increase the likelihood of infertility since men who consume vast amounts of unhealthy food are at risk of having poor sperm quality. Besides harming your fertility, junk food enlarges your waistline, harms your cardiovascular system, kidneys, and more.

Eating more fruit and vegetables can increase your sperm concentration and motility. It’s important that you consume a healthy diet filled with antioxidants and that you eat vegetables every day. Foods such as apricots and red bell peppers are high in vitamin A, which improves male fertility by nurturing healthier sperm. Men who are deficient in this vitamin tend to have slow and sluggish sperm.

Sugary snacks/beverages: several times a week Excessive consumption of high sugar items can lead to oxidative stress, which negatively impacts testosterone levels and sperm motility. Sugary snacks and beverages are also highly associated with obesity and low fertility.
CONCLUSION: To boost sperm quality, stay away from fast food, processed food, and sugary snacks or beverages. You need to implement a healthy prudent diet filled with necessary superfoods needed for good sperm production. Check out our guide to Male Fertility Superfoods. For personalized guidance and support on how you can start improving your sperm health, check out the Bootcamp.


Direct heat can inhibit optimal sperm production and cause Sperm DNA damage. Sperm cells like environments that are a couple of degrees lower than body temperature. Avoid overheating from warm blankets, seat warmers, heat from your laptop, hot showers, and saunas.

Cigarette smoking

The exposure to tobacco smoke has significant negative effects on semen quality. The damage of cigarettes and nicotine of course depends on how many cigarettes you smoke per day and for how long, but even low usage (up to 10 cigarettes / day) can inhibit healthy sperm production.  

CONCLUSION: Stay as far away from cigarette smoking as possible if you care about your general health and your fertility. Read more here.

Cell phone

When you have your cell phone in your front pocket, your testicles are exposed to electromagnetic radiation, which studies have shown to damage the sperm cells. Put your phone in the back pocket of your pants or in your jacket pocket.


There is a clear association between obesity and reduced sperm quality. At least part of the reason for this is that obese men may have abnormal reproductive hormonal profiles, which can impair sperm production and lead to infertility. 

A BMI higher than 30 can lead to several processes in the body (overheating, increase in oxidative stress in the testes, sperm DNA damage, erectile dysfunction) that can have a negative impact on male fertility. This can result in problems when trying to conceive.  

CONCLUSION: BMI is one of the risk factors that influence semen quality and, for example, sperm motility.  


A beer or glass of wine now and then do not really harm sperm quality. But excess alcohol drinking (more than 20 units per week) can reduce the production of normally formed sperm needed for a successful pregnancy.

CONCLUSION: If you want to stay safe, stay under 14 units of alcohol per week. For more information on how alcohol can affect male fertility, take a look at our blog: “Alcohol and Sperm Quality”.


Studies show that women younger than 35 and men younger than 40 have a better chance of getting pregnant. Men can produce sperm cells almost through their entire life, but the sperm cell DNA is more fragile and prone to damage after the age of 40.

As men age, their testes tend to get smaller and softer resulting in a decline in sperm quality and production. These changes are partly because of an age-related decrease in testosterone level, which plays a very important role in sperm

production. Higher male age (>40 years) is not only associated with a decline in sperm production but also with increased sperm DNA fragmentation and worsened morphology (shape) and motility (movement). These negative effects make the sperm cells less qualified for egg fertilization.

CONCLUSION: with an age under 40, you shouldn’t have to worry much about age as a factor in itself. However, studies have shown a slow decline after the age of 30-35 years

and if you are above 40 years of age, your sperm quality can be affected due to increased sperm DNA damage resulting in a decrease of sperm motility and concentration. Remember that you cannot evaluate the quality of a sperm sample by just looking at it – this requires a sperm analysis.