What Men Need to Know About Their Fertility

It’s not just a woman’s burden to bear

Ashley Abramson
Elemental
Published in
6 min readDec 11, 2019

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Illustration: James Daw

KKhaled Kteily didn’t grow up dreaming about being the CEO of a sperm-freezing company. But an accident changed the course of his career — and his views on fertility. “In 2014, I got second-degree burns all over my leg that took over a month to heal,” Kteily says. “As a guy, your first instinct is to think, ‘Thank God that didn’t affect me anywhere more permanently.’”

After the accident, Kteily realized his ability to reproduce was more vulnerable than he once thought. “I’ve always imagined myself as a husband and father, and anything that changed that felt scary,” he says. Kteily, who was 25 at the time, wasn’t quite ready to have kids at that point—he still doesn’t have children—but he wanted to make sure he didn’t lose the opportunity.

So, that same year, he went to a local sperm bank, which he says was “the singular most awkward experience of his life,” mostly due to the lack of privacy in the process.

Kteily’s bad experience was one of the reasons he founded Legacy, a Harvard-incubated male fertility startup that provides at-home sperm testing and analysis kits, as well as the option to freeze your sperm. The sperm analysis process helps couples who are having trouble conceiving, and the sperm-freezing option helps maximize a man’s chances of conceiving a healthy child whenever he’s ready.

While many men spend their twenties doing whatever they can to avoid becoming a father, Kteily says most aren’t aware of how complicated and difficult it can be to conceive a child. Not only does sperm quality decline with age, he says, but it can also be affected by unpredictable accidents or medical conditions.

Cultivating that awareness is a big part of why Kteily started Legacy. Beyond just offering men a more private way to have their sperm tested, he wants to help men take charge of their reproductive health by starting new conversations about male infertility — an issue that’s surprisingly common but less commonly talked about than female infertility.

IInfertility is defined as the inability to conceive after attempting for 12 or more months. According to the Department of Health and Human Services, up to 13 of every 100 American couples…

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Ashley Abramson
Elemental

Writer-mom hybrid. Health & psychology stories in NYT, WaPo, Allure, Real Simple, & more.