How to Support the Infertile Man

Couples who have to cope with infertility often have an uphill battle to climb, and coping is a very difficult task. They have to face many questions they can’t answer on their own, let alone understand, since infertility is an issue with many variables. Infertility in the Philippines may be especially challenging to handle, with such a heavy cultural emphasis on building a family as an important facet of life.

Infertility is not something that can just go away or be cured by hard work. It requires medical diagnosis and treatment by a physician trained in assisted reproductive technology, as well as self-education, insight, and planning for coping mechanisms on the part of the patient.

Becoming educated about the procedures and treatments for male infertility, it is important to determine goals and limits before starting any therapy. By deciding in advance which procedures are acceptable not only medically, but also from a financial and emotional standpoint, then both the patient and his partner can plan their course of action. Assisted reproductive technology can be very expensive, and medical insurance usually does not cover it. Additionally, since getting pregnant has many pitfalls, to be successful in achieving fertilization and pregnancy may require several attempts. Rather than continuing or repeating procedures that leave you emotionally and financially drained, it is important to manage expectations accordingly.

It is also very important to consider alternative solutions as viable options to building a family. Couples need to think about how important it would be that the child come from their own egg and sperm. They should ask themselves whether sperm or egg donations or even adoption are acceptable, should assistive reproductive therapies fail. By setting limits on other approaches to infertility, this reduces anxiety during treatment cycles, and feelings of despair if they fail.

Men and women often differ when it comes to talking about feelings. Across different cultures, men are usually less enthusiastic and verbally expressive, and do not usually counseling. Support groups where men can discuss these issues are available, and may be an effective means to cope before, during, and after treatment. It is healthy for men to discuss their problems with infertility with other men, express frustration and grief during failed treatments. Keeping feelings to oneself such as guilt, anger, or despair can be damaging for them.

If support groups and counseling services are not attractive options, talking with friends and family about your feelings can make dealing with infertility much easier. Many times the best support comes from those closest to you.

Managing stress can make a significant difference in successful versus failed treatment for male infertility. Stress-reduction techniques such as yoga and meditation, as well as exercise and massage, can improve not only the quality of your life, but increase your chances for success. Cognitive behavioral therapy, which trains the patient in relaxation techniques as well as stress management, may also improve semen quality.