Tips for Supporting Your Male Partner Through Infertility
Studies have shown that approximately 30% of all infertility cases can be attributed to men. For most couples who have been trying to conceive, it can be emotionally tough to speak to one another openly about it, and often the anxiety and anticipation tend to be overwhelming. In addition, men often find it difficult to talk about the issue, due to societal conditioning that expects men to be less forthcoming about their feelings.
This is why communication with your partner, if he is infertile, is extremely important not only to let him know you are there for him but also to help him express what he is going through. Here are the ways in which you can be there for your husband:
- Talk about it: The failure of one’s basic biological functions can be equally devastating for men – they can often feel that they have let their wives down, or feel insecure about their masculinity. The key is to make your partner understand that you are both in this together, and to motivate each other.
- Set goals: Infertility is a process, a journey that takes a whole lot of patience and understanding. Set goals about how much time and money the two of you would be willing to spend towards the end goal of conceiving, and do your research together. Yesterday’s “it’s impossible” may well become today’s “I’m willing to work towards it more than anything”.
- Share the burden: After a diagnosis of male factor infertility, there are many options that couples consider, including IUI treatments, and sometimes both husband and wife may have to go for treatments together. They involve a whole lot of paperwork, uncomfortable questions from doctors and invasive procedures for the man as well as the woman. In such a situation it is important to lean on each other, talk, and ease the process for each other.
- Encourage him: Men often feel depressed but do not either know how to express it or end up telling their wives they deserve a ‘real man’ who can raise a family with her. If your husband feels this way it is crucial to let him know how much he means to you, and to let him know this is not something he has to go through alone.
- Let go of the past: Men also tend to blame themselves for their lifestyle choices from the past, or feel that there is something that could have been done differently. This is why you must avoid bringing up the past, and try to look forward to what the future may hold if you keep trying. It is important not to let the past pull you down.
Infertility is often extremely hard to cope with for men, and initially can also lead to feelings of hopelessness, or inadequacy. Remember the above, as it will help you face infertility and find a solution together.