Due to the very invasive nature of fertility treatment on the female body, male partners are often left feeling useless or guilty that they aren’t able to share the burden. Feelings of guilt are especially common with a diagnosis of male-factor infertility. Additionally, men are frequently alienated from fertility treatment, and the idea that “men have the easy job” amplifies this.
Of course the male experience is very different from that of a woman, which is why we are hosting a mans’ club – to provide men with a space in which they can openly express their very real and valid experiences. Men often report not wanting to tell their partner how they feel so as not to worry her, or because they feel what they are going through is insignificant in comparison to her. As a result, men’s experiences are marginalised because they don’t always feel comfortable with sperm-talk amongst male friends.
We are very excited to be joined by Rich Cowling, a new addition to the Fertility Group, who will be facilitating the sessions. Rich has a degree in Applied Social Science and is involved with a men’s talking group which aims to combat mental health issues specifically from the male perspective. He says: “Fertility issues can be an emotional minefield. I have always had an ongoing struggle with poor mental health. Over the last year I have discovered some new and exciting ideas which have changed my perspective on my own mental health and now I am trying to pass on these ideas to anyone who is interested.”
The sessions will be informal and friendly, but will also aim to explore:
- Infertility and masculinity
- Fertility treatment from the male perspective
- Donor treatment
- Miscarriage and loss
- Stress and coping strategies
- Pre and postnatal concerns for men
Our first Fertility Men’s Club will take place on Monday 3rd December, 6.30 – 8 pm at Lonsdale Community Centre. We’ll be having a separate session for the women too – so please all come along!
Editorial note: We are aware that this article is aimed at men in heterosexual couples. Please note that we welcome everyone at the Fertility Group, and will be writing articles specifically aimed at single parent and LGBTQ couples shortly.