Even in 2021, fertility and infertility are topics that remain fairly taboo, especially where men are concerned. People tend to find it awkward and feel reluctant to talk about their own experiences when it comes to conceiving a child, leading to a culture that is often uncomfortable opening up. Unfortunately, though, infertility is a very real issue that affects 1 in 7 couples, and it is not always the woman who is infertile. Low sperm count, poor sperm morphology or motility, damaged testes and blocked tubes are some of the many reasons why men are unable to conceive, as well as various lifestyle factors.
With unfair perceptions and stereotypes surrounding masculinity, men tend to struggle with symptoms of depression, anxiety, and low self-esteem if they cannot conceive a baby naturally, and they often suffer in silence. Ironically, struggles with mental health can further reduce the likelihood of conceiving a child, so it becomes a vicious cycle. What’s more, men also have to care for their partners who are undergoing treatment, like supporting them with their hormone injections. Again, this is a lot for men to handle on top of their own emotional turmoil.
There are lots of ways to support a man suffering with infertility. Firstly, it’s important for both parties in a couple struggling to conceive to maintain open and honest communication with one another. In addition to that, there are support groups available all across the UK that encourage people to share their feelings and experiences and gain mutual peer support.
Counselling is also an important consideration. At Concept Fertility, we offer confidential counselling sessions to all of our IVF patients, where you can discuss your concerns and any possible implications of treatment. Essentially, it helps when people feel that they are not alone – countless other men are experiencing the same thing and receiving advice from a trained professional can help you feel more in control of your decisions regarding your fertility options.