Advice and Support for Men Coping with Infertility
Infertility issues, for both men and women can result in significant emotional stress. For men specifically, their infertility struggles can feel particularly difficult to overcome. Infertility can trigger a variety of different emotions in a man, including: disappointment, marital/relationship complications, a feeling that he's somehow let himself and others down, and fear that he may have to additionally deal with other medical issues – like sexual dysfunction.
Although the culture of infertility is supportive, it is not very well-versed in emotional reactions for men. It's rare for a man to come across articles and television shows that are aimed at discussing male infertility, whereas for women, there is an entire world of media dedicated to the subject on magazine stands, talk shows, and et cetera.
Whatever the cause for male infertility may be, there are certain steps that men can take in order to ease the burden it places on their shoulders. First is to make a plan and decide how you and your partner are going to proceed. Choices need to be made in regard to what treatments and procedures are viable, both financially and emotionally– how many tests will you undergo? Which procedures are on the table and which aren't? How much focus will be placed on the infertility? The hard truth of the matter is that couples who place all of their attention and energy on infertility often find themselves drained. They should instead focus on working to find a balanced approach to infertility soon after diagnosis.
The second step is to find an outlet for the stress being caused by infertility. The outlet should be two-fold: emotional and physical. Now, for most men, physical stress reduction is probably the easier part – go to the gym, take a long walk, or whatever activity you enjoy most. However, the emotional stress reduction techniques may come as something new, or at the very least something men can be reluctant to work on. This doesn't mean that anyone should feel compelled to share their personal struggles with the nearest stranger; it just means that it's important for men to recognize that bottling up their infertility issues is not healthy or proactive.
Men should look for local support groups or counseling services. There exists a plethora of online forums in which men can use the anonymity of the internet to discuss their feelings. Family and friends are probably the easiest go-to, and they are an excellent source of encouragement, but men should also realize the value of support groups and services that are well trained and very experienced in infertility.
At the end of the day, infertility is truly a personal issue that requires a lot of time and energy. It's very important that men who are dealing with an infertility diagnosis take the recommended steps above in order to ease their stress. Once you and your partner have decided that you are ready to meet with a fertility specialist to discuss the decisions on treatment, please contact the Male Fertility Specialists.