Discussions about infertility often revolve around women, but male partners or husbands also undergo difficult challenges that come with infertility.

The blame game

It can be difficult to know what the cause of infertility is. Sometimes, infertility strikes after the first child is already born, called secondary infertility. As fertility specialists like Dr. Fisch work to provide an accurate diagnosis of the problem, it could be a combination of issues. For women, pelvic infections, endometriosis and fallopian tube damage could be causing problems. For men, sperm quality could be a factor.

As a couple struggles with the frustration of diagnosis, and possible treatments, men and women often cope with the problem differently.

What do men feel as they experience infertility with their partner?

The desire to have children is far from just a womanly thing. Most men have strong desires to have a family, to raise children. In fact, for many men, this is the most important goal they have in their lives. When these goals are delayed or stifled, men feel the profound sadness and frustration that comes with it.

Men in a partnership with their spouse or significant other also feel a strong love for this person, and a strong desire to build something with them together. It can be extremely painful for men to see their wives or partners who are undergoing treatment for infertility, and who are experiencing deep despair. Men sometimes feel helpless as their partner suffers through the emotional and physical toll of infertility and accompanying treatment.

Frustration can lead to anger for both partners. Relationships can struggle. Males and females typically have different coping mechanisms for their pain, and that can strain relationships even more. Some women feel like the men in their lives don’t care, perhaps because men often withdraw when in pain, rather than expressing their feelings.

In reality, men often feel a mixture of emotions, even if it is internal. They may feel fear that the infertility is their fault, and therefore they are to blame for the suffering of their partner. Most couples form with the idea of future children, and this can be devastating to a man to realize that he can’t provide for those ideas, if there is indeed male factor infertility.

As men support their partners and educate themselves about the causes of fertility and the reproductive system, their pain can be alleviated.