Infertility may be the worst thing a man faces, especially if fertility is manhood to him. These tips for living with male fertility problems are from The Fertility Sourcebook and my husband’s experience with azoospermia.
“…the number-one problem most men faced was admitting their infertility to another male, particularly close family members and friends,” writes Sara Rosenthal in The Fertility Sourcebook. “Admitting infertility to even one other male will help you find a ‘place’ for your feelings.”
The more men talk about infertility, the easier it gets. When my husband and I first realized we were dealing with male fertility problems, we had a hard time talking about. But now – three and a half years later – it’s much easier to talk about.
Here are five tips for coping with male infertility…
5 Tips for Living With Male Fertility Problems
Figure out your worst fears. If you talk about your sperm problems, will you be ostracized by your friends, family, or coworkers? Will you be laughed at by people you respect? Will people make fun of you? Try to figure out if your worst fears are legitimate. Often, we have preconceived notions of how people will respond if they find out about certain health problems – and those fears are rarely justified.
Get educated about male fertility problems. When a couple can’t get pregnant, it’s a male infertility issue about 33% of the time, a female fertility issue 33% of the time, and unexplained infertility 33% of the time. You’re not alone – there are many men who are living with men’s infertility! The more you learn about male infertility (such as how to increase sperm count or how to make sperm healthier) and your specific fertility problem, the less isolated and more normal you’ll feel.
Talk to your partner about how you feel. I know how hard this is for me – my husband says talking about his feelings is physically exhausting! But, what you suppress and keep inside you will eat away at you, making you weak and powerless. Talk to your partner. “The more your partner feels included in your pain, the mores she can support you rather than just ‘guess’ at how you must be feeling,” writes Rosenthal in The Fertility Sourcebook.
Find a good male friend. If you can’t talk to your brother, father, uncle, or other male friends or family members, then you may need to rethink your relationships. After all, if you can’t talk about personal issues – like living with men’s infertility – with the people you’re closest to, then what’s the point? Your closest friends and family members want to support and help you. You’ll feel better if you reach out to them.
I rounded up a list of fertility blogs and websites for men coping with infertility – they may help.
Learn about the possible infertility treatments. My husband and I tried intrauterine insemination (IUI) and asking friends to donate sperm. Those options didn’t work. We researched in vitro fertilization (IVF) and even had a training session at our fertility clinic, but I couldn’t proceed with the treatment. We also considered adoption and fostering. Even though we haven’t gotten pregnant and haven’t solved our fertility problems, it felt good to take an active role in figuring out how to cope with infertility! If you can take action towards solving your fertility problems – even if it’s just talking to a male counselor or joining an infertility support group – you’ll feel a bit better about living with men’s infertility.
Are you struggling with fertility problems? Comments welcome below.