The Male Ego in Infertility: How to deal with it

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“The male ego with few exceptions is elephantine to start with.”

– Bette Davis

Infertility is an issue which is faced globally. While commonly associated with women, it is a medical fact that male issues contribute to more than half of all cases of global childlessness, infertility issues are often assumed to be women’s issues.

The social stigma associated with women is typically the subject of fertility studies. While in most cases, women in different parts of the society are hounded for ‘being infertile,’ male infertility is something which needs immediate attention, and requires more conscious studies to be conducted globally.

A research led by Dr. Hagai Levine, Head of the Environmental Health Track at the Hebrew University, found a significant ongoing decline in sperm count of Western men.

“Given the importance of sperm count for male fertility and human health, this study is an urgent wake-up call for researchers and health authorities around the world to investigate the causes of the sharp ongoing drop in sperm count, with the goal of prevention,” Dr. Hagai Levine explained.

The ‘How to Deal with it’?

Let’s just get this straight. Just like women, men too have desires to experience parenthood. Also, no matter if ‘the problem’ is with ‘him’ and not with ‘her’, the reverberation of it is often faced together by the couple. In fact, feelings of stress, depression, guilt, or anxiety hit men a lot, and it is often unobserved in the society that we live in.

Men often experience the stress of not being able to procreate; they would take an emotional sequelae that often institutes in the form of anger, depression, feelings of worthlessness and anxiety concerning potency, masculinity, and sexual inadequacy.  And as it continues with time, the marital problems and guilt would worsen, and can potentially cause further damage.

Hence, it is essential for a partner – the woman in most cases, to understand implications of show she acts in such a situation. Slightest forms of any pressure, negativity, discussion with or even the slightest of awkwardness can make a person go through a lot. The social observation is also corroborated by medical experts and fertility specialists, who have a consistent exposure to marital problems and the incumbent fertility issues that come with it.

According to Dr Gautam Allahbadia , an IVF specialist in MMC (Millennium Medical Center, Dubai), “Low sperm count in men being one of the most common issues today,  can be treated with donor sperm, medication, surgery and some lifestyle modifications. The underlying cause is what determines its treatment.”

In clinics like MMC IVF Dubai, which is headed by Dr Gautam Allahbadia, various surgical sperm retrieval processes are available such as Percutaneous Epididymal Sperm Aspiration, Testicular Sperm aspiration, and Testicular Sperm Extraction. These procedures mostly address the issues related to male impotency, which though less marked for public notoriety, still forms the bulk of infertility in couples.

While many men are reticent to take the potential benefits to procreate, at times talking to a counselor with or without your partner can help.

According to Phyllis Zelkowitz, director of research in psychiatry at the Jewish General Hospital in Montreal, there is help that men can find in online groups – which hold a lot of promise because they normalize an isolating experience. It’s hard for men to talk about these issues, she says, “because they’re out of tune with their peer group–most of the people that they know are having babies, and they’re not.”

Zelkowitz and her team is now testing an app they developed, called Infotility, that offers men steps to take to improve their fertility as well, as a message board to reach out to peers.

While society has been more vocal about women and fecundity, men’s rights communities have been gathering around the idea that sperm counts are dropping, which is making it acceptable for men to discuss the matter of infertility.

A leader in manosphere, Rollo Tomassi, who runs the website The Rational Male stated,

“For guys in the ’sphere, there’s finally some sort of barometer to test their overall health from a historical perspective.”