As many as 1 in 8 couples in the United States suffer from infertility. When it comes to the cause, about 40% can be traced to the woman and another 40% traced to the man (the remaining number are either undiagnosed or a combination of causes). Both men and women can struggle with their identity once they’ve been given an infertility diagnosis and it isn’t uncommon for men to feel that they are “not a man” because of it. Those feelings can lead to depression, intense grief, and a breakdown in their relationship. But infertility doesn’t make you any less of a man. In fact, the issue isn’t entirely uncommon for many men; it affects millions of men in the United States alone.
James D’Souza recently wrote an article for Huffington Post about his struggle with his infertility diagnosis. He notes that he felt isolated after his diagnosis, and that many of the support groups and online forums focused on women. “Of course society puts all sorts of pressure on women and people in general, but the silence is stifling around particular issues surrounding men,” he notes. “Men can communicate. Men want to communicate. But awareness of [male infertility] needs raising.”
The causes of male infertility range from tumors to low sperm counts to erectile dysfunction and illness. Even something as simple as stress can affect your fertility. Some issues can be overcome with the help of a doctor, while others may require you to look into alternative family building methods with your partner such as embryo adoption. Finding a group of men who understand what you are going through can help. Check out blogs such a My Little Soldiers, a male-focused infertility blog, or online forums that cater to men. Having a community around you can show you that you aren’t less of man and that you certainly aren’t alone.