Men wanted to answer survey on fertility

Men can often feel rather left out when it comes to fertility treatment – and the support available to couples can often seem very female-focused. Now, a team from Leeds Beckett University have partnered with Fertility Network UK to try to find out more about men’s experiences of fertility problems. They believe not enough is known about how men cope with fertility issues and will use the results of the research to help to raise awareness of men’s needs.

They will also produce a report at the end of the study and present the findings to health care professionals to ensure that the male perspective is taken into consideration in fertility clinics and in fertility counselling settings.

This survey is completely anonymous so please do fill it in – or get your partner to – and ensure that the researchers get a good response and can start to encourage changes in the support for men during treatment.

You can find the survey here 

Male fertility evening

It is often noted that there’s a lack of support for men going through fertility problems and it is certainly true that much of the help on offer is aimed primarily at women. Now, for the first time, one London clinic is offering tailored support for men.

Andrology Solutions is running a male fertility evening on February 16th with a guest speaker, Gareth Down, and a team of andrologists at hand to answer any male fertility questions. You can find out more here.

Men talking fertility

800px-I_Can't_Think_StraightWhen it comes to the emotional aspects of fertility problems, things are all too often focused entirely on women – and yet, we know that men can suffer just as much as their female partners even if they don’t talk about it as openly.

Earlier this year, there was an event in Tooting in London looking specifically at men and fertility, and James, the organiser of the event, has just sent me this video from the event. They’re hoping to organise more events during the coming year, and I will make sure anything upcoming is posted on this blog and on the events page so that you know what to look out for. You can also read an article written by James here 


Fertility resources for men

So much fertility advice and support is female-focused – and if you look at a fertility forum, it’s usually women who are there talking to one another. You could be forgiven for thinking that fertility problems only happen to women…

Recently there have been a growing number of men calling for resources aimed specifically at them, and there is more understanding that men need support too – but perhaps in slightly different ways.

I just came across this US website – which has a lot of information and useful links in a really accessible way.  Infertility Network UK’s support groups are all open to men as well as women. You may also want to check out Mensfe, books such as My Little Soldiers by Glenn Barden and some of the blogs on the male perspective –

Do get in touch if you know of any other specifically male fertility sites, and I can add them to the list.

A male point of view

I don’t usually include guest blogs on Fertility Matters, but today I am adding a post written by someone else because it covers an area that is so often overlooked – and that’s the male take on infertility.

It’s something we often talk about when we’re offering support to couples with fertility problems, as it’s quite true that most of the support currently available is aimed at women. The truth is that no one has yet worked out quite what kind of support men really want, and and how best to offer it to them – online forums and support groups don’t seem to work – would meeting in the pub be better? But would men really want to meet and discuss infertility in the pub? I’ve tried asking – often – but no one has ever come up with an idea that works…

That’s why I’m featuring a post today from a man – Glenn Barden – who has written a novel from a male perspective – so, over to you Glenn!

If you search for blogs on trying to conceive and infertility you will be hard pressed to find any written by men. Despite man problems accounting for approximately a third of all infertility problems you would be forgiven for thinking that infertility was a female only medical condition.

In our confessional world where everything is discussed and blogged about, male infertility feels like one of the last great taboos. And I can understand why. When my wife and I were struggling to make a baby I also found it hard to vocalize my feelings. My inability to become a father ate away at my very being.

I remember sitting in the doctors room waiting for the results of our fertility tests and praying that my sperm would not be judged to be fault and that my wife would have “the problem”. When the doctor announced my wife had polycystic ovaries I almost wooped for joy. I don’t know how I would have coped if my virility had been judged to be faulty. Imagining what it would be like for a man to be told their sperm was faulty was the basis for my novel – My Little Soldiers.

During our IVF journey and subsequently, I have met men who had sperm issues and found them to be damaged souls full of shame. I even had a mate who kept his struggles hidden from me for years for fear of the stigma. In a modern world where the role of men is being questioned by men themselves, and conferences are even being held discussing what it is to be a man, male infertility is a very useful for device for exploring modern masculinity, as well as a good arena for comic material. At its heart my novel is a love story but I wanted the comedy, much of it drawn from my own experiences, to contrast the heartbreaking tale of loss and yearning.

I hope the novel gets more men to open up about their infertility problems, and also for their partners to realise that whilst they may be on the frontline there is man next to them who is just as emotionally invested as they are.

Already one reader has said my novel made her reevaluate her own husband’s outward appearance of strength and detachment. I hope more will do the same.  

My Little Soldiers is available from Amazon here