Loss of germline precursor cells in C. elegans has previously been shown to improve protein homeostasis and extend lifespan, possibly due to reallocation of resources to somatic cells. In contrast, mutants that are sterile simply due to loss of sperm or oocyte production have a normal lifespan, often leading to the conclusion that loss of reproduction per se may have minor effects on C. elegans. We have found that inhibiting reproduction in C. elegans via the DNA synthesis inhibitor 5-fluoro-2-deoxyuridine (FUdR) improves protein homeostasis, stress resistance, and healthspan in wild-type animals. We find that FUdR is dependent on oogenesis and oocytic maturation. The effects of FUdR are dependent on FEM pathways, which regulate initiation of spermatogenesis. Loss of FEM expression leads to feminized animals that maintain arrested oocytes and are refractory to the effects of FUdR. FUdR-dependence is restored by spermatogenic signals, which trigger oocytic maturation and ovulation. Further, loss of FEM-3, a novel protein required for spermatogenesis, is sufficient to improve aspects of proteostasis. These effects are independent of previously described germline signals, including the DAF-16/FOXO, DAF-12/VDR, and HSF-1 pathways. These findings suggest that genetic or chemical inhibition of oocyte production can improve protein homeostasis in C. elegans.