Coping With the Emotional Stress of Male Infertility
When infertility is discussed, the conversation generally focuses on female reproductive issues. However, male factor infertility is a contributing factor in approximately 50% of infertile couples. Unfortunately, because the discussion about the emotional experience of infertility is typically centered around women, men are often left out of the conversation and are left to deal with their emotions on their own, even though men are just as likely as women to feel a profound sense of sorrow or anxiety.
While receiving a diagnosis of male infertility can be undeniably heartbreaking, there are several ways in which men can cope and possibly even improve their fertility health.
Acknowledge Your Feelings
The first step in coping with the stress of male infertility is to simply acknowledge what you’re feeling and to give yourself space to feel those emotions. During this time, be open with your partner and communicate what you’re feeling. It can also be helpful to talk to a third party, such as a doctor, a friend, a counselor, a support group, or a pastor. Keeping something so stressful a secret can eat away at you, but opening up and sharing what you’re going through can help lighten the load.
Once you have given yourself some time to process what you’re going through emotionally, you can start taking control of the situation. Some things you can do include:
- Making an appointment with a male fertility specialist
- Getting a second opinion
- Researching as much as you can about fertility
- Preparing questions for your doctor
At the same time, talk to your partner about what this means for the long term. Research the various fertility treatment options that are available and discuss which ones may be the best for your situation. Also, talk about these treatment options in terms of what you can handle emotionally and financially.
Focus On Your Physical Health
Taking control of your physical health can be an enormously beneficial way to cope with the stress of having male factor infertility. Taking care of yourself physically can actually help you mentally because it provides you with a means of doing something about your problem. Not only can it dispel feelings of hopelessness or sorrow, but it can also potentially improve your fertility health, especially if you’re dealing with something like poor sperm quality.
Some ideas for taking control of your physical health include:
- Eating a healthy diet consisting of vegetables, lean proteins, whole grains, and limited processed foods
- Being physically active
- Avoiding cigarettes, excessive drinking, and drugs
- Achieving or maintaining a healthy BMI
All of these and more can help improve your sperm quality while also helping you cope with any emotional stress that you are feeling.
To learn more about male fertility or to make an appointment with a male fertility specialist in the San Diego area, contact Male Fertility & Sexual Medicine Specialists today.