Women often experience many emotions when they find out that their male partner has an infertility diagnosis. Sometimes male infertility can be the sole issue that prevents conception.
According to Resolve: The National Infertility Association, approximately 30 percent of all infertility is attributed to male factors
This organization says men are not as willing as their female partners to talk about their experience, adding that “perhaps this is because we traditionally think of children as a woman’s province, or because over the ages, conception has been thought of as the woman’s responsibility.” However, infertility is a couple’s problem that must be faced as a team.
Male Factor Infertility from the Female’s Perspective
The female partner will typically be very sad and also surprised. Many times the female partner has already believed that for long periods of time that she was the “problem” as to why they can’t get pregnant. Some women experience relief knowing that they are not the problem. However, this is then replaced with concern and anger as she knows it’s not her partner’s fault. Shifting the focus from the cause onto the next steps to take to manage the issue is helpful in getting a plan for moving forward.
It is best to face the issue together and not attempt to assign blame. It’s crucial to be supportive of one another and seek professional advice in an environment that is medically safe and reassuring.
Male Infertility from the Male’s Perspective
Often, the male partner feels embarrassed, less “manly”, and is reluctant to want to talk about their feelings, because they feel shame and guilt at being identified as the problem. There is still a stigma in which male patients are apprehensive to discuss their diagnosis for fear that their difficulty reflects negatively on their masculinity.
This is a good time to seek support from a counselor to help provide guidance and resources to help you communicate with your spouse about this issue. Consider also joining a local or online support group for infertility to gain support from those with a similar diagnosis and facing the same choices you are.
What Should Women Do After Male Partner’s Infertility Diagnosis
The first thing to do is not lose hope that you can still have a baby. Many male infertility diagnoses can be resolved. The first step to take is to go see a urologist if the male partner hasn’t yet. Seeing a urologist can help, because the urologist can try treating the problem.
Some issues that create male infertility can be treated or corrected with surgery. Treatment may often consist of antibiotics for an infection, surgical correction to remove a varicocele, reverse a vasectomy, or repair an obstruction with a duct and medications to improve sperm production.
Keep in mind that donor sperm can also always be used along with an IUI or IVF. Next, you should consult with your reproductive endocrinologist for the best plan for having a baby.
Support is paramount when dealing with a male infertility diagnosis. At Aspire Fertility, we have counselors on-site that can provide a safe environment in which to have these conversations and to provide hope for alternate roads to successful conception. Contact our Houston, Dallas, or Atlanta locations to help you through this process.