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The Effects Of Infertility on Men

1 in 6 couples in the UK are struggling with infertility. People feel sorry for a woman who craves being a Mother.  The effects can be even more challenging for a man.  Read this article to find out what they are.

Infertility impacts every area of a couple’s life. 

  • Their Work
  • Relationships with friends and family
  • Finances
  • Social life
  • Own relationship
  • Mental and emotional health.

People feel sorry for the woman who is undergoing multiple medical tests and treatments. Few people think about what her partner is going through.

Infertility has many effects on men because despite his own concerns he often feels the need to be “strong” in support of his partner.

Typically a man wants to be able to “fix” any challenges they may encounter in their life. He has a primal desire to protect and make things better for his woman; This is innate. 
Infertility is, of course, not something he can fix and it can leave him feeling weak and “less than”.

Couples seeking IVF treatment on the NHS may face challenges due to lack of funding.  The alternative is expensive private treatment which can run into thousands of pounds. 

People have been known to sell their homes, or accumulate huge debt in their quest for a baby. Financial concerns can cause a great deal of worry for a man. The couple could disagree on how much debt they are willing to accrue for treatment which is not guaranteed to be successful.

  • He suffers inner turmoil
  • he wants them to have a family but.......
  • is also fearful of what it will cost them.

A man may also feel inept in his struggle to cope with his partner’s emotions, which may seem like a roller coaster. In the early stages of trying to conceive she will move from hope to despair as she has yet another period.

Invasive tests and treatments may make her anxious, depressed and generally unhappy.

Each month he:-

  • comforts her
  • supports her
  • tells her that he loves her no matter what and
  • does his best to help her to feel optimistic.

He may feel:-

  • sad
  • disappointed
  • depressed
  • hopeless
  • weak

But he keeps his feelings inside and puts on a mask. He tries to be strong and positive for her.

He may also feel lonely and long for the time when they used to have sex just because they desired it. Long gone are those days.

If they are undergoing IVF treatment some couples will stop having sex. They say “what’s the point, it doesn’t work”.  They feel that their body has let them down and often stop trying to conceive naturally.

All the joy, fun and tenderness of lovemaking have long gone. However much he misses it he may keep quiet, withdraw or become angry. This may also affect his libido and he struggles to perform on demand.

He may question whether he is enough anymore to make her happy. And worries that their future happiness is dependent on having children.

People struggling with infertility often lose that sense of “coupledom”.
They have forgotten how just being together was enough.
When nothing else mattered as long as they had each other.

The desire to conceive a child is all-consuming and takes over everything else in their lives.

If their infertility struggle is attributed to him he may feel guilt and shame.

He may have issues about using donated sperm.
He really wants her to be happy but he is unsure about them having a baby that isn’t biologically his.

Infertility is a dark and lonely place for everyone.
Women will share how they feel with their girlfriends.
Men generally don’t share their feelings. Bring a group of men together and they will talk about work and sport, not how they feel.

If a man were to share his own specific fertility issue with friends he opens himself up to ridicule in some cases. One man reported that his “friend” offered to do the deed himself. Needless to say he is no longer a friend.

Tips to Cope

  • Attend Couples Counselling
  • Join a Support Group
  • Fertility Coaching/Hypnosis

They provide an environment of safety and acceptance where couples can drop the mask and share:-

  • their experiences and feelings
  • communicate better and
  • have greater understanding of each other

The simple act of coming together can feel as though a huge weight has been lifted from their shoulders.

There is a huge lack of awareness and understanding of the emotional impact faced by anyone struggling with infertility. The only people who can truly empathize are those who have experienced the struggle themselves.

Alice Domar PhD leading expert in mind/body medicine says. “We know from research that support groups can help people with just about any health problem to feel better”.

Hypnosis can reduce the negative effects of infertility.  The Fertile Body Method combines hypnosis and other mind/body approaches to improve the success rates of natural conception and assisted reproduction techniques.  Book a no obligation complimentary 30 minute session here 

Imago Relationship Counselling provides a safe space for couples to share their feelings 

 

 

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