Are Men Forgotten During the Fertility Treatment Process?January 18, 2019
During discussions between couples about whether a fertility issue exists, more often than not, testing and treatment begin down a singular route — the female partner. Of course, for some, they may already be aware of a fertility or medical issue with either partner, so bypassing one partner is a logical choice.
However, for those who are new to the struggle to conceive and are unaware of preexisting conditions, Fertility Solutions encourages couples to consider both partners during the screening process.
Why should the male partner be included in fertility testing?
In the United States, infertility diagnoses are equally divided among the male partner, female partner and unexplained infertility. This probably surprises most people, especially those new to the fertility community. Historically, infertility issues are closely linked, almost exclusively at times, to women. However, these days, we are very aware that male fertility issues such as sperm quantity and quality are just as prevalent as female fertility issues with egg quantity and quality.
Excluding the male partner does a disservice to couples seeking assisted reproduction services. It can take longer for an accurate diagnosis when only one partner is screened for fertility issues, and there is a chance of pursuing a treatment plan that might not be optimal for your situation if one partner’s fertility is ignored. It’s important for patients to advocate for themselves in this process, asking their fertility specialist to consider both partners’ medical histories and seek testing for the female and the male partner.
Male support in the fertility community
Because our societal discussions/understanding about male fertility are unfortunately behind female fertility, male partners can often find that they are not as supported during the testing and treatment process. Perhaps they hold a stronger fear of potential judgment from family and friends about their diagnosis or feel pressure to uphold traditional standards of male family planning responsibilities. This lack of support can alienate male partners when, in reality, they are just as much a part of the fertility community as women who struggle with the inability to conceive.
This is why resources like support groups, which can be in-person, online, for partners, male-only, female-only, etc., are so important. Support groups offer an opportunity to share your story with those who share a similar experience and are therefore more likely to understand your struggles, concerns and questions. Many who have joined fertility support groups have explained that these groups offer a judgment-free, safe space where they can turn when treatment proves overwhelming or even disappointing. And, as noted above, these groups come in many forms where you can publicly or privately seek refuge with those who are also undergoing IVF, using a gestational surrogate or working with a sperm donor. Find a support group in your area here.
Male infertility testing and treatment
Fertility Solutions works with couples to ensure that both partners receive the time and attention needed to form an optimal treatment plan that best suits their needs. We have relationships with clinics that specialize in male fertility treatment and have experience in coordinating male factor fertility issues with our fertility treatment services. If you have questions about male infertility or would like to request a consultation with our specialists, please contact our team directly today.