Why male fertility matters. A conversation with Lauren Manaker.

Lauren Manaker grabbing her favorite snack.

Lauren Manaker grabbing her favorite snack.

I am so excited to share my recent chat with Lauren Manaker. Lauren is passionate about her family, nutrition, and the fertility space. Lauren is also filling the vast void in the (in)fertility space by tackling the subject and providing evidence-based nutritional counsel for male fertility.

To kick off the discussion, I asked Lauren to tell me two lies a truth and reveal the truth at the end. Read on to find out if you can figure out which of the three statements are true before Lauren shares it with us later on.

Two lies and a truth!

LM: I cried for two days when George Michael died.

I have a twin sister.

I have a rubber Duckie collection.

When did you know that you wanted to become a Registered Dietician?

LM: I knew I wanted to do something in the health sciences, and dietetics was a match for me. Unlike a lot of other dietitians, I am not a "foodie". I am a math and science geek, and nutrition is the perfect marriage of the two. I get to interpret data and do nerdy math equations every day!

What is your (in)fertility story and what made you want to share it?

LM: My story is not different from many others, but it was still a painful experience. My husband and I got married and wanted to start a family right away. Things did not go according to our timeline, and after spending a lot of time and even more money in the process, we are now parents to a four-year-old girl named Hannah. The process taught me a lot about patience and trust.

What inspired you to write Fueling Male Fertility?

LM: Once I started my business and was meeting so many women practically killing themselves trying to get pregnant, I realized that many assume that fertility is a women's responsibility alone.

“So many women carry all of the pressure on their shoulders and many men don’t make many changes to their life because they simply don’t know that they play such a role in fertility.”

A quick search will show that there are tons of resources about fertility and women, but only a handful are focused on men. I needed to fill the gap by writing an evidence-based guide for the man who wants to enhance his fertility through diet and lifestyle choices.

Why does male fertility matter?

LM: Male fertility matters because many experts say that 1/3 to 1/2 of infertility cases are due to male-factor causes. Ensuring both partners are doing what they can do to support their fertility is one of the best things a couple can do. 

What is something about you that we could never find on Google?

LM: I have one three hula-hoop contents in my life.

Speaking of Dr. Google... what is one thing that you wish people struggling with infertility would never search on Google and why?

LM: I wish people would not depend on the Internet for supplement recommendations.

“Over-supplementing can be dangerous, and every body has different needs.”

Two pieces of nutritional fertility advice that you would give to someone dealing with infertility?

LM: Make a point to eat at least five servings of fruits and vegetables a DAY for both men and women. Ideally, it would be two fruits and three veggies a day. Antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals are so important for fertility, and getting these from food is ideal. And Exercise. Moving your body is so good for your body and your mind during the process.

Favorite self-care practice?

LM: Barre class. It forces me to step away from my phone for an hour, sweat, and not think.

…And a good foot massage if my husband is up for it!

Favorite fertility food and why?

LM: Walnuts! They are an easy food to sneak in throughout the day and are super-portable. They have tons of features that are fertility-friendly: plant-based proteins, ALA omega-3 fatty acids, antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, the list goes on and on!

Guilty pleasure?

LM: Jamming out to George Michael in my kitchen with my daughter.

Hidden talent?

LM: Tap dancing and napping on-demand!

What gets you out of bed in the morning?

LM: My four year old daughter who refuses to get up without letting me know that it's morning time.

What are you most excited about right now?

LM: How times are changing and sharing personal (infertility) stories is more of the norm. There is comfort in knowing that you are not alone in difficult situations.

So which is the truth to my very first question?

LM: I cried over George Michael for two days!

A quick PSA from Nathalie and Lauren!

We liked chatting so much that we have joined forces to co-admin a private “fertility warriors” group to support the (in)fertility community on the Ellie App. We invite you to download the app today and continue the conversation with us when we launch on June 12th!

Lauren Manaker is a Registered Dietitian-Nutritionist (RDN), MS, LD, CLEC who focuses on reproductive health. Lauren authored the book “Fueling Male Fertility”, and is a counselor and consultant through her company, Nutrition Now. She is also a contributor on pregnantish.

Lauren’s pride and joy is her four year-old daughter who was conceived after many IVF cycles. Lauren's mission is to help busy people get evidence-based nutrition information that isn't based on fads or "Dr. Google".