We want to have children, but we’re vegan! Some people wonder how being vegan will affect their ability to conceive. The good news is that a healthy plant-based diet can actually help fertility.
Let’s start with the men. Meat, especially processed meat, has a detrimental effect on male fertility. The more meat a man eats, the fewer and less active his sperm. To dispel a myth, vegan men have the same testosterone levels as meat eaters. To dispel another myth, consuming soy does not affect testosterone levels in men. Boys raised on soy protein formulas showed no breast growth, no early puberty, no changes in their bones and no other signs of hormonal abnormalities. Vegan men have much less risk factors for erectile dysfunction. Vegetarian men produce 29 million more sperm per milliliter and the sperm are more active compared to meat-eaters, so a veg diet can definitely help with fertility.
Vegan women too have hormone levels comparable to those of meat-eaters. Vegan pregnancy has some advantages too. For instance, pregnant vegan women have a reduced risk of complications such excessive gestational weight gain, gestational diabetes, pre-eclampsia and gallstones. Pregnant women following a well-planned plant-based diet also have a reduced risk of an infant being born with spina bifida, whereas a high meat diet doubles the risk of a baby being born with a cleft palate.
What about those turning to invitro fertilization? It turns out that eating plant protein increases the chance of pregnancy in IVF. Also a Mediterranean diet, rich in vegetables, fruits, whole grains, legumes, nuts, and olive oil and low in red meat, has been shown to increase the chance of a successful pregnancy, so a healthy plant-based diet can make a big difference.
Many vegan men and women are fertile and give birth to healthy babies. Congratulations to them all!
OK, gentlemen listen up! Vegans have just as much testosterone as meat eaters! Images of burly cavemen bringing home meat may have men thinking that steaks and burgers are key to masculinity, but it’s just not true. According to the lead doctor in the latest medical research conducted at the Miami University medical school, “The old idea that men needed to consume a traditional diet with plenty of meat to have a healthy testosterone level was based on pure conjecture, not based on evidence.” The latest study showed that vegans have as much testosterone as meat eaters. This was even true of vegans who eat a lot of junk vegan food, although we think vegans should go easy on the junk food for other health reasons.
While this research may be the latest to show that vegan men have as much testosterone as others, it’s not the first. Back in 2000, doctors at Oxford University found that not only did vegans have enough testosterone, but that they even had a little more than meat eaters. Going even further back, doctors at Oxford in 1990 also found that vegans had just as much testosterone as meat eaters. Take special note: consuming soy does not affect testosterone levels.
Testosterone is the primary male hormone and is responsible for the development of primary sexual development, which includes testicular descent, sperm formation, enlargement of the penis and testes, and increasing libido. Testosterone is also involved in regulating secondary male characteristics, which are those responsible for masculinity. These secondary sex characteristics include male hair patterns, vocal changes, and voice deepening, anabolic effects which include growth spurts in puberty and skeletal muscle growth.
There’s more good news. Testosterone is important in having erections. Besides having plenty of testosterone, following a vegan diet confers other advantages when it comes to erectile dysfunction.