Surrogacy and Sperm Health

Surrogacy And Sperm Health

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If you’re trying to conceive then you probably know by now that there’s not just one route to having a baby. The medical community are making new and innovative developments in fertility all the time – not just for heterosexual couples, but for LGBTQ+ couples too. In a new world of surrogacy, sperm or egg donations, IVF and even womb transplants, there’s no standard route to growing your family.

This Pride Month we wanted to talk about a route that helps thousands of LGBTQ+ couples become parents – surrogacy – and how you can find support and resources to help you on your journey. 

What is surrogacy?

Surrogacy is when a woman carries and gives birth to a baby for a person or couple who can’t. There’s…

Full surrogacy, where the eggs of the intended mother or donor are fertilised with the sperm of the intended father and implanted with a treatment such as IVF. This means the baby has no genetic connection to the surrogate but does to the intended parents and/or donors.

Partial surrogacy, where the surrogate’s egg is fertilised by the intended father through IUI (artificial insemination), so the baby will have a genetic connection to the surrogate but not the intended mother (unless the mother and surrogate are related, which isn’t uncommon!)

Who can benefit from surrogacy?

Many couples who have babies via surrogate are cisgender (meaning non-transgender) heterosexual couples who were unable to conceive. There are also single women and men who begin their families through surrogacy.

But surrogacy offers an alternative to adoption for many LGBTQ+ couples looking to have kids, but can’t do so naturally. This may be same-sex couples, couples who don’t have a womb such as trans women, or any variation of a couple who want to be parents but can’t carry a baby themselves. 

Just like heterosexual couples who can’t conceive, it can be difficult for many LGTBQ+ couples to let go of the dream of having biological children, and adoption isn’t the right option for everyone. So for some, surrogacy is the perfect route to parenthood!

Things to consider

Surrogacy isn’t always the easiest process, and going down the surrogacy route includes a lot of different decisions and considerations:

  • Who will be the surrogate? How do you find her? How do you make sure she’s safe, healthy and happy throughout the process?
  • Whose DNA will you use? If you have two sperm options, how do you decide which to choose?
  • If you need an egg donor, where do you find one?
  • The journey may be emotionally difficult for everyone involved, how do you make sure everyone is supported?
  • What are the legal rights of the surrogate and intended parents that you need to consider?

It may seem stressful and difficult to navigate, but don’t worry, there is support out there to manage everything surrogacy-related – and we know just where you can find it.

What is My Surrogacy Journey?

Introducing our wonderful partners Two Dads UK and their organisation: My Surrogacy Journey.

Michael and Wes (Two Dads UK) became fathers to Talulah and Duke through surrogacy, and they built this family through a trusting, solid relationship with their gestational surrogate and her family. They are passionate to improve the journey of parents and surrogates and bring an inclusive platform of support through My Surrogacy Journey.

My Surrogacy Journey is a not-for-profit organisation that supports and facilitates the journeys of their Intended Parents members. They provide tailored support based on relationship status, gender and sexual orientation, so you can bypass unhelpful information. And not only do they provide practical help in the form of health screenings, counselling and surrogacy contacts, there’s even the possibility of finding donors with close resemblance to the parents through facial recognition software. This means even if you can’t be genetically related to your child, they could still look like you.

A surrogacy journey involves a lot of people – the parents, surrogate, donor(s), and all the connected families. MSJ practices transparency and support for everyone in the equation. So when it comes to starting a family, everyone stays safe.

Part of My Surrogacy Journey’s support is our own ExSeed at-home testing kits. If you’re in a couple with two options for sperm, deciding whose sperm to use can be easier when you know which is stronger! Not only this, but testing can help you make lifestyle choices in your fitness or diet in order to produce healthy sperm, and altogether have a smoother, more successful surrogacy journey. You can read more about our partnership if you follow this link to our introductory blog.

With at-home testing kits, it’s now easier than ever to check in on your fertility health, and it’s more accessible for LGBTQ+ people.

How does this benefit LGBTQ+ couples?


Empowerment. Knowledge is power when it comes to your fertility journey and both ExSeed and My Surrogacy Journey are dedicated to empowering you with all the information you need – about your choices and your body. This way you can take control of your own decisions when it comes to building a family.

Privacy and safety. Going to a fertility clinic isn’t fun for anyone, but can be pretty difficult or even risky for some. At-home sperm testing is not only ideal for men, but for trans women who may feel safer testing at home.

Inclusivity. Heterosexual women are often the centre of focus when it comes to fertility, which can exclude many parents TTC! ExSeed and My Surrogacy Journey provide everyone with the help they need, no matter what their journey looks like.

If you and your partner are looking at surrogacy as an option, go to mysurrogacyjourney.com and get started on your journey to parenthood.

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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.