We all remember that Seinfeld episode where Kramer changes his underwear from briefs to boxers to increase his sperm count, “I’m out there Jerry, and I’m loving every minute of it,” he shouts fervently as the canned laughter ensues.
But if you’re in one of the six Australian couples in Australia who has experienced a fertility problem, you’ll know that infertility is no laughing matter.
At Fertility SA we understand that there are a number of factors that can lead to fertility problems, and while maternal age has long been known as a major cause of infertility, research has now shown that approximately 30% of fertility issues are related to men, specifically, the quality and quantity of sperm.
A recently released 38-year study also showed that sperm count has declined significantly since the 1970s, which suggests both environmental and lifestyle factors are more likely to be the cause of these problems – and not the type of briefs you wear.
So, when male infertility is so common, why do men find it so difficult to talk about?
Just like women going through fertility problems, there’s the usual grief response from men too – loss, followed by anger and then the hardest part, guilt, for being the one who is potentially bringing infertility to the relationship.
For many men, fertility is also wrapped up in masculinity and virility, which often makes men embarrassed or ashamed to discuss fertility problems with mates.
While not at all fair, these are very normal emotions and when men speak with other men who have been through the same thing they often realise these feelings are (while ultimately unhelpful) completely common.
That’s why talking about what you’re going through is an essential part of dealing with fertility problems.
As June is Men’s Health Month we are shining a light on male fertility by holding a session for men at Fertility SA to allow open discussion about the experience, led by David Rawlings, the author of Swimming Upstream: The Struggle to Conceive.
David’s book is a refreshing, humorous, insightful and honest first-hand experience of going through IVF, and shines a light on the importance of talking about it, particularly with other men.
His book, which is co-authored by one of Australia’s top fertility counsellors, Karen Looi, explores the key issues men face when experiencing fertility problems, and lifts the lid on everyday issues, such as: social isolation in a child-centred world; fertility myths; why men don’t talk about problems with conceiving; the impact of infertility on your sex life; dealing with grandparents in waiting, and plenty more.
So, if you or your partner are sick of hearing “set the boys free” or “just relax and it will happen”, join us for an insightful session that will get you talking about the real-life challenges of fertility for men, with people who truly understand.
Come along to the men’s fertility session:
Wednesday 20th June
At Fertility SA
Level 9 431 King William Street South Australia 5000