Erik & Phillippa: Our Story of Infertility

Erika and Phillippa

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On paper, we are a couple in the early 30’s who has it all. We have good jobs, a nice 250 m2 house with children’s section, two cars, a nice family and a lot of good friends…

Erik became a branch director in a bank just before he turned 30. I am a trained journalist and work as a live reporter. In the winter of 2018, I spent exploring my first chef position in the production industry.

The many years of education and hard work have seriously kicked off our career. Along the way, we have been each other’s favorite sparring partners, best friends, and intimately – well, let’s just say it has never failed – at least not before the fertility treatment journey began. We met each other at a local club in Vordingborg 8 years ago. Erik tried a little half-heartedly to sell his body to the highest bidder before the transfer window closed a little to five in the morning. His compelling pout did not impress at that time. But there was something about him anyway. So, therefore, he got a counter offer to invite me on a real date. Subsequently, one thing led to another. We moved together in Copenhagen in 2013, worked, finished education, broke up and reunited – a couple of times. (Many times, if you ask our friends)

One day in 2016 Erik surprised with the most beautiful ring and perhaps the craziest proposal in history. He went to his knees a little to five – though in the afternoon – on the same dance floor where he got his first rejection. It was wacky and absolutely perfect at the same time, and this time he was bought on the spot.

In 2017, we held our dream wedding with 90 of our best family members and friends. So the frames were in place. We had surrounded us with good people and prerequisites for the next chapter: Children.

But like all good fairy tales, there are many twists and turns before the happy ending.

We had actually started the baby-project when I got off birth control pills in 2015. But nothing happened for months. There was plenty of sex. And really good sex. The happiness in the bedroom is basically when you trust each other so much that you dare to completely be yourself. And we dare to do that. Therefore, it was also a big disappointment when half a year of fantastic sex had gone by without resulting in a pregnancy.

After 6 months of actively trying to conceive but without success, we went to see a professional. The doctor told us. “Typically career people. You decide that now you want to be pregnant because it fits into your calendar. And then you come running here when you have not become pregnant within the first few months. But this Is not the way things work. You cannot plan a child. Go back home and try, and then come back when at least a year has passed. “

The raised finger had done his job, and we went home relieved and thought; “oh okay. The doctor is probably right. But hey, it’s also very cool to continue trying (so far)”. So, we continued for a year’s time but there was still nothing happening…

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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.