Infertility is one of the toughest challenges that any couple can deal with when they are ready to have kids. Although most people linked fertility-related issues to women in the past, infertility in men is now becoming a common subject.
What You Should Know About Male Infertility
There are many causes of infertility in men, including lifestyle, genetic, medical and environmental factors. While you can take measures to help the affected men overcome infertility, reproductive issues can have a major impact on the mental health of the individual in question.
Here is what you should know about the hidden shame of infertility in men and its potential mental effects on men:
The Emotions Associated With Male Infertility
Although it is natural for both men and women to experience grief and sadness when they learn that they are unable to conceive, there are certain emotions that have a higher percentage of being linked to men dealing with male-factor infertility. In most cases, infertility in men will be accompanied by emotions such as anger, shame, anxiety, resentment, confusion, stress and depression.
If there are no interventions to help the affected person cope with the situation or overcome infertility, the end result could lead a number of negative directions.
The Feeling of Guilt and Inadequacy
For many years, fertility in men has generally been associated with manliness. In many cultures, men are described as strong, capable and independent. Since many men who make their wives pregnant are often congratulated by those around them, those that are struggling with infertility are likely to feel guilty for their inability to make their wives pregnant.
In fact, most men who cannot impregnate their wives will feel that their manliness is at stake. This factor could result in a feeling of inadequacy.
The Sense of Being Alone
Infertility is an issue that most affected couples struggle with privately. In addition, many men are known to keep their struggles and the challenges they deal with to themselves. Only a few men will take to social media or join support groups in a bid to share their experience and encourage others in the same situation.
As a result, men who struggle with infertility may look at their friends and peers who have kids and get the idea that they are the only ones with reproductive issues. However, the truth is that a significant number of men around the world experiences similar struggles. This sense of being alone could further bring about negative emotions and breed isolation.
Many women may not know how men with reproductive issues feel about their situation. As a result, most infertile men are likely to be jealous of friends and peers. When jealousy is coupled with feelings of inadequacy and being less of a man, there is a good chance that the social life of the affected man will suffer. Infertility in men could make the individual pull away from friends and isolate himself in social setups. Isolation could have a major impact on his overall mental health.
Missing Out on the Relationship
Because of feelings of inadequacy, a man struggling with infertility may have difficulties getting intimate with his partner. Stress and isolation are also likely to result in a breakdown of communication between the partners. When there are feelings of guilt coupled with emotions such as anger, a couple’s relationship is also likely to suffer. Without offering the required support and seeking professional help, both the man and the woman could miss out on the simple pleasures of a relationship.
Both men and women have to familiarize themselves with infertility and learn effective ways of offering the necessary emotional support to their partners. This will go a long way in dealing with the mental impact of infertility.
Offer Support to One Another
One of the best ways to deal with reproductive issues is for couples to offer each other the required support. This will involve showing empathy, being honest with each other and maintaining open lines of communication. In the case of male infertility in particular and considering the hidden shame associated with the inability to impregnate a fertile woman, men are encouraged to take advantage of the support groups around them. Today, the good news is that social media outlets offer great platforms for men to share their struggles and get advice.