Fertility problems affect men too

I heard a man talking about his wife’s fertility problems on the radio the other day. He said he didn’t think men felt the same way about having children as women did – and made it sound as if not being able to start a family would not be any kind of issue for a man.  It made me rather sad as he said it with such confidence – and yet that’s so far from the experience of most men I talk to who are going through fertility tests and treatments.

Fertility problems are women’s issues

All too often, fertility is seen as a woman’s problem, and we’ve seen that a lot recently with all the debate about women “leaving it too late” and needing to have children earlier – but it’s important to remember, especially today on Father’s Day, that men suffer just as much as women do when they can’t have children. In fact, there’s some research from Keele University’s Robin Hadley which suggests that men are just as broody as women, and that involuntary childlessness is more likely to make men feel depressed and angry than women.

Sometimes men do feel the need to disguise their feelings, especially if they think they need to be strong for their partner, but unlike the man I was listening to, I think most men do find fertility problems difficult – and today would be a good day to do something nice for your partner if you’re trying to conceive.

It’s not just women… (for Father’s Day)

When we hear about infertility, all too often the focus is on women whether it’s stories about women leaving it too late, being desperate for babies or wanting to have it all- but amongst the media cliches it’s important not to forget, especially on Father’s Day, that men find infertility difficult too.

We hear far less about the way that men feel about infertility, and it is certainly true that some men do find it harder to talk about their fertility problems than their female counterparts.  However, the stigma of infertility can be just as tough for either sex – and many men want to be fathers just as much as their partners want to be mothers.  There’s some fascinating research by Robin Hadley from Keele University which found that men were just as broody as women, and that involuntary childlessness was more likely to make men feel depressed and angry than women.

There was an interesting article in the Washington Post recently about the male experience of infertility. A number of men talked very frankly and honestly about the difficulties they have encountered, and it’s well worth a read.