It’s not a surprise that the conversation around infertility doesn’t typically explore male infertility. Women will face the majority of treatment, but we can forget that it’s a journey that impacts both partners.
During Men’s Health Month, we’re sharing the facts you need to know about male infertility.
Here’s what you need to know about male infertility:
- 1 in 8 couples will be impacted by infertility
- Male factors cause 1/3 of these cases, 1/3 are female factors, and the remaining are a combination
- 9% of men, 25-44 years old, have seen a doctor about infertility
Though cause can vary, these factors can increase the likelihood of male infertility:
- Heavy alcohol and drug use
- Environmental toxins
- Cancer treatments
The Emotional Impact
Despite the prevalence of infertility – and the shared emotional impact on a couple – male infertility can still be a taboo subject. Men can also face a difficult emotional journey – particularly if their partner has to go through treatment because of their diagnosis.
In a 2017 survey, researchers asked men how infertility impacted their lives. 93% said it had a negative impact on their well-being and self-esteem. However, almost 40% didn’t seek support.
Matt Mira, a TV writer and podcast host, who along with his wife Doree Sharfir, was featured on our podcast, This is Infertility. They wanted an outlet to share their experience with male infertility and IVF.
“There’s always the guilt that I was feeling of not having to do anything,” Matt said. They started their own podcast and were shocked by how many people stepped forward to share their own experiences.
How Employers Can Help
Without the proper support, the stress can have an effect on the workplace. Research shows that employees rank infertility as more stressful than unemployment and divorce.
In fact, about one-third of the calls Progyny’s Patient Care Advocates (PCAs) receive are specifically for the male partner.
We’ve made major progress to destigmatize infertility. However, it’s crucial that employers provide fertility benefits that offer the clinical and emotional support employees need to start a family.
Knowledge is power. Educated and supported members make better, informed treatment decisions. This leads to better outcomes for employees and employers.