Andrew Huberman – How to Optimize Fertility in Males & Females Podcast Summary

How to Optimize Fertility in Males & Females | Free Podcast Summary

Andrew Huberman – How to Optimize Fertility in Males & Females

We talk about the generation of human eggs and sperm, the ovulatory/menstrual cycle, conception process, and fertility in both genders. One needs to be optimizing egg and sperm health for vitality and longevity, even if one does not intend to have children.

Sperm cells

  • Sperm cells are germline cells, meaning the activities of an individual do not change the genetic makeup of those cells
  • Sperm cells contain 23 chromosomes, 22 autosomes and one sex chromosome (X or Y)
  • The job of the sperm cell is to deliver the genetic material from the father in the form of a haploid cell
  • Spermatogenesis involves GnRH, FSH, and LH hormones, with the testes as the target
  • It takes about 60 days for sperm to be born from their parent cells and mature to the point where they can be a good swimmer

Testicular temprature

The testes need to be kept two degrees cooler than the body temperature for the production of healthy sperm, which is why they are located in the scrotum outside of the body.

Hot tubs, hot baths, saunas, sitting for long periods, wearing tight clothing, and using seat heaters in cars can all raise the scrotal temperature and lower the sperm count. Spermatogonia differentiate into spermatocytes, which mature into haploid sperm cells. Mitochondria are crucial for the separation of chromosomes during fertilization


Ejaculated sperm travel through the seminiferous tubules, epididymis, and vas deferens. Seminal fluid quality can be affected by lifestyle choices such as smoking and drinking. Vasectomies prevent sperm from exiting the testicle. Sperm must swim a long distance to reach the egg, and frequent ejaculation increases the concentration and quality of healthy sperm.

Fertility depends on components from both the male and female sides. Timing ovulation and intercourse is critical, with regular ovulatory cycles being ideal. The egg is available for fertilization for only 24 hours after ovulation. Ejaculation after 48–72 hours of abstinence maximizes the concentration of healthy sperm.

Tracking the ovulation

There are various ways in which women can track their ovulation, including the temperature method or using apps. The regularity of the menstrual cycle duration can help predict ovulation, and a woman’s libido tends to increase prior to ovulation.

Changes in pH and vaginal secretions also occur to support sperm motility, and commercially available lubricants can be detrimental to sperm health. It is advisable to discuss lubricants with an OB-GYN or urologist for optimal fertilization.

Fertilization of the egg

For women who are 30 years old or younger, the probability of successful fertilization and pregnancy is 20% in the first month of trying. However, most couples will not conceive in the first month, and they should continue trying in subsequent months.

Typically, OB-GYNs advise couples to try for 6 months before seeking medical intervention. As a woman’s age increases, the probability of a successful conception decreases.


Miscarriages can arise from a variety of sources, including genetic defects, issues with the uterus, sperm, or egg. The egg-sperm dynamic is important in fertilization leading to pregnancy. The probability of miscarriage increases with the age of the egg, reaching 25% for women aged 35 and above and 50% for women aged 40 and above.

Chromosomal abnormalities, such as trisomies or deletions, can lead to miscarriages, even when chromosomal arrangements are normal. Age is a major factor in determining the likelihood of a successful pregnancy.

Fertility in women

To determine their basic level of fertility, women can measure the number of follicles released from the ovarian reserve each month, which can be done by ultrasound or by measuring the anti-Mullerian hormone (AMH) levels.

It is recommended that women measure their follicle count and AMH levels multiple times over a period of time to get an accurate picture of their fertility. Similarly, the quality and quantity of sperm are crucial in determining fertility. It only takes one successful sperm and one successful egg to achieve successful fertilization and pregnancy, but a lot of sperm are required to increase the probability of successful fertilization.

The sperm economics and timelines

Urologists and OB-GYNs typically want to see 15-20 million sperm per milliliter of semen, 2–5 milliliters of semen overall, and 50–60% motile sperm to do IVF. Men should get their sperm analyzed at least once every 5 years and consider freezing their sperm if they want to conceive in the future.

Women should get their antral follicle count measured to get an indirect measure of their egg reserve. It is recommended to have a sperm analysis and AMH levels measured early to have a comparison point for future fertility.

Optimize fertility

About 1 in 5 couples have fertility issues due to sperm quality or a lack of sperm. DNA fragmentation analysis and sperm shape analysis can be done to determine if sperm are capable of fertilizing an egg, and hormone analysis can provide insight into underlying health issues.

To optimize fertility, it is recommended to get 6–8 hours of quality sleep per night, limit alcohol consumption to two drinks per week if not trying to conceive, and avoid smoking nicotine and cannabis when trying to conceive.

Reducing stress levels and getting enough quality sleep can also help. It is important to get an STI check if sexually active, as STI checks are crucial for fertility and avoiding miscarriages, especially for chlamydia.

Stay away from laptops and phones!

  • Males and females should understand and maximize the quality of both the egg and the sperm when trying to conceive.
  • Keep testicles cool by avoiding hot tubs, saunas, and laptops on the lap.
  • Reduce the amount of time spent sitting and avoid seat heaters.
  • Avoid a man-spread stance if your legs are large.
  • Phone use has been linked to decreased sperm quality.
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