For men facing fertility problems, perhaps the greatest challenge is simply opening up and talking about the experience, even more about their sperm. Part of this difficulty comes from the man simply not knowing enough about his own reproduction. Information on infertility is so often presented from the woman’s point of view.
Even with the right knowledge, there is a stigma attached to men experiencing infertility that makes it hard for many to discuss their problems. If a man talks too much about what he’s feeling or the difficulties he’s experiencing, he’s viewed as weak – unfortunately, because feelings are considered too feminine. With a little work, though, we can break down these barriers, so let’s explore how men can feel free to discuss their fertility.
Hormones & Sperm: Know the Lingo
Men will likely encounter a number of technical terms when they first seek help with fertility problems. These terms can be confusing and uncomfortable at first, but once they’re understood, couples will be able to discuss their fertility needs more easily. Here are a few of the important terms:
- Hormones: Chemicals in the body that regulate many body systems and functions. An important hormone involved in male fertility is testosterone, which is produced at the same time as sperm. When testosterone levels get too high, the body stops producing the hormone and sperm along with it.
- Sperm count: The number of sperm in your semen. Average is around 15 million sperm per milliliter of semen. If a man’s sperm count is lower than average, it is called oligospermia, while having no sperm at all is called azoospermia.
- Sperm motility: The ability of a man’s sperm to move through the woman’s reproductive system to fertilize the egg. A low number – below 50% – of moving sperm is called asthenospermia.
- Sperm morphology: The appearance and shape of the sperm. Abnormal morphology can negatively impact fertility.
These are just some of the basic terms to know when first exploring fertility options. Your doctor will undoubtedly have more, and they will be able to explain them in as much detail as you need. Don’t be afraid to ask questions.
It’s Okay To Talk About It
Even outside the doctor’s office, you should find somewhere where you feel safe talking about your fertility journey. Obviously, you should talk to your partner, as she is going through similar experiences right alongside you. Sharing the journey will make things easier for both of you.
Support groups are also a fantastic option to pursue. In these groups, men can gather together with others who are having trouble conceiving and talk about what they’re experiencing in an understanding and caring environment.
If you have questions about your fertility problems or would like help finding ways to deal with them emotionally, talk to your doctor about what infertility options are available in your area. If you want more tips or information about improving fertility, follow us on Facebook and Twitter, or sign up for our newsletter below.