Shafali Talisa Arya

Infertility is undoubtedly one of the biggest challenges faced by couples. It is a challenge encompassed with both mental and physical pain, hope, loss, heartbreak and of course for some couples it can also end with success. Whilst some cases of infertility can remain unexplained, there are countless reasons as to what contributes to the occurrence of infertility. Some causes will be related to the woman and some to the man. Unfortunately, men are often overlooked.

Truth of the matter is men are also part of the infertility carousel.

The way in which men experience infertility is often overshadowed by the complexities of infertility, its treatments and the impact this has on women. According to the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority one third of infertility cases are due to male related problems. Male factor infertility can be the product of low sperm count and poor sperm quality, issues surrounding ejaculation and can also be a by-product of health issues such as diabetes. In some cases, life style factors such as smoking can also contribute to male factor infertility and this can damage your sperm DNA.

As well as the physical complications generated by infertility, its presence also has the ability to cause psychosocial consequences. However, there is still a lot to be learnt about how men experience infertility. Having recently researched infertility from the male perspective, I was fortunate enough to gain insight into some of the trials and tribulations faced by men whilst on the infertility journey. Here’s a summary of what I found:

The first and probably the most important thing to remember is that infertility is an emotional journey for both parties involved. Men do get emotional when it comes to infertility and that’s OK! It doesn’t make you any less of a man.

There will be moments during your journey where you may feel lost, irritated, angry or embarrassed – all of which are completely normal – It’s all part of the infertility process.

Most of the focus from the medical professionals will be towards your partner, even though the infertility may lie with you – Many men have reported this.

You may have mixed emotions towards other methods of conception. That’s OK too! Spend a little time researching to find an option that works well for you.

Finally, some days and times of the years may be a lot harder than others. But do try to remember that you are not alone. There is support out there, so reach out!

Whilst researching, I also came into contact with some books written by men going through the process of infertility. Books like these are a valuable source of information! Whilst there are many books on the subject of infertility and its numerous tests and procedures, How to make love to a plastic cup – A guy’s guide to the World of Infertility by Greg Wolfe was definitely a good read! It provided insight like no other into what men experience in a funny, light-hearted way answering a host of questions that may enter the minds of those going through infertility.