While for many the word ‘infertility’ conjures an image of a woman, around 30-50% of all infertility cases are due to the male partner. Men and women tend to deal with an infertility diagnosis differently, but it’s still a heavy burden to bear, regardless of gender. In this article, we share some ways of coping as you navigate this challenging part in your family-building journey.
Make a game plan
It’s tough not knowing what will happen, especially if you’ve long been dreaming of parenthood. Speak with your doctor and identify the next step forward. Don’t be afraid to ask questions about your options, including your chances of conception for each. Be open with your partner on what you’re comfortable trying to become a parent (be it IUI, IVF, ICSI adoption, or donor sperm) and take time to ensure you’re both on the same page. Read up on your specific infertility issue and empower yourself with all the knowledge possible. This gives you some control over the situation and if one thing doesn’t work, you’ll know what to try next.
Tweak your lifestyle
There are cases where it’s impossible to become a biological father – but this is relatively uncommon. Often, lifestyle changes can do wonders on sperm quality. Eat right, keep a healthy weight, reduce your stress, and add some exercise to your day. Speak to your doctor about any medication you’re taking as some may affect your fertility. You can also test your sperm quality as you go along – with the YO At-Home Sperm Test you can measure your viable sperm and easily share numbers and a live sperm video with your doctor. Being proactive gives you more power on your journey.
Acknowledge your feelings
Men are less likely to talk about what they’re going through. For many, an infertility diagnosis is a direct hit on masculinity, producing lots of strong negative emotions. It’s important to remember that you’re not the only one going through this or feeling this way. As we shared earlier on, male infertility is more common than most of us think. It helps to speak with someone, be it a friend, a doctor, or a support group. If it gets too much to handle, consider enlisting the support of a counselor specialized in infertility.
Take time to destress
Journaling about your feelings, exercise, meditation, and yoga are some of the options that can help you destress and hit that reset button. Even a movie or a book can be a good break and a way to relax. Do not force yourself to keep everything in – sometimes a good cry is exactly what the doctor ordered. As Dr. Judith Orloff explains, ‘tears are your body’s release valve for stress, sadness, grief, anxiety, and frustration’, all of which can accompany a fertility journey.
Receiving a male infertility diagnosis can be crushing – but it’s not necessarily the end of your parenthood goals. Staying on top of your health and being open to different treatment options can help you stay optimistic during this challenging time – and potentially get you closer to fatherhood faster.