Infertility is a painful trial for many couples. In fact, many more couples than one would expect struggle with reduced fertility. Much focus is put on female infertility, but 1/3 of the time the issue is male infertility.
Some causes and treatments of male infertility
Male infertility has a variety of causes, including low sperm count, sperm disorders, blockage, hormones, physical malfunction, disease, stress, or diet. Many of these problems can be treated with surgery, lifestyle changes, or medications. Talk to a fertility expert to get a clear plan of action.
Although men are usually less willing to talk about their emotions than women, they are also deeply affected by infertility and need to address their emotions in a healthy manner.
Men who find their desire for fatherhood frustrated by their own physical problems struggle with anger, guilt, and shame. There is a social stigma about male infertility – the implication being that somehow the man cannot function sexually. He can feel his “manhood” questioned or diminished by his infertility, which increases his anger and frustration and the desire to keep the problem secret.
Being secretive increases the man’s sense of isolation, escalates his anger, embarrassment, and loneliness, and can cause additional emotional stress between him and his partner
These feelings will only become more problematic if allowed to continue unexamined and unresolved. If you’re a couple suffering from male factor infertility, please talk to a counselor to help you both work through these problems.
A trained fertility counselor understands the stresses that you are going through, and we understand that the answers for a man are not always the same as for a woman. But neither of you can ignore your feelings. Men are usually hesitant to talk about their infertility or their emotions; rather, they want a sense of empowerment. Addressing emotions from the perspective of solving a problem often makes men more willing to talk. Your counselor can guide you through this process.
It is also important for the husband to recognize how his silence or anger might be hurting his wife. He will want to find a solution to that problem, as well. Your counselor will guide you in developing healthy, love-affirming processes that will help you grow together emotionally, rather than apart, during this trying time.
Your counselor will also help you redirect your focus from “having a baby” to other love-affirming activities. Sometimes the stress of trying to have a baby makes infertility worse, and by refocusing, you can decrease your stress, increase your happiness as a couple, and be ready for any outcome.
I have worked with many couples struggling with infertility and have helped both partners find renewed emotional peace and a vision for the future. If you’re dealing with infertility, find a counselor or support group you can trust to help you.