Male Fertility and Mental Health: 3 Reasons Why the Connection Matters
Male fertility, even today, is still closely associated with the perception of the quality of a person’s manliness. This is a toxic argument for a number of reasons, one of which is that the lack of general knowledge and education about male fertility can cause couples having difficulty conceiving to disregard the male partner and only focus on the female partner for what can amount to months or even years – stalling helpful, time-sensitive treatments and delaying parenthood unnecessarily. Another, very important reason why the idea of manhood being equated with fertility is a harmful ideology is that it can be deeply harmful to male mental health.
3 Reasons Why Male Fertility And Mental Health Are Connected
Male fertility, much like female fertility, is considered to be a basic human function. So, when you have difficulty, it can feel as if the condition is a personal flaw.
Male infertility is a medical issue, it is by no means a reflection of who someone is as a person. However, we have centuries of societal opinion to the contrary. Even though we may logically understand that we are not at fault for problems conceiving, it can be tough to believe that and feel it day-to-day. This is why it is so important to have a solid support system in place when a couple is facing an infertility diagnosis – for either or both partners.
Male fertility is still unfairly stigmatized, partly due to a lack of general education about how sperm issues work.
Male fertility issues carry an unfair stigma, whether there is a wrongly perceived personal failing or that you must have made a mistake from poor judgment that put your sperm at risk. While it is possible that fertility issues can stem from injury or lifestyle choices, this is normally less common, and potentially treated by simply altering said lifestyle choices. There are healthy, responsible, young men who find out through a semen analysis that their sperm is not ideal – whether because of its shape, motility (ability to move), or count. There is never one sole reason for why men face infertility, just as it would be foolish to assume the same for women.
- Male support resources are lacking.
Supportive resources for men experiencing an infertility diagnosis are not always easily found. Support groups are possible, but for men, they are normally limited to online/virtual meetings. If this is your preference, of course, it is an option to consider. If you find that you’d be comfortable within an in-person setting, for men, this can be harder to come across locally. Understandably, it can be tough to vocalize your medical issues in public among those you are getting to know, and this is very true for fertility. Until resources for men are more widely available and the stigma of both seeking treatment for a male factor issue and talking about male factor infertility is finished, there will continue to be a lack of full support that could greatly benefit a patient’s mental well-being.