When a couple face infertility, a complex stage begins. The way they cope with the situation is especially important. Now, more than ever, is when the couple must join forces and go in the same direction.
How can a man support his partner?
Starting IVF needs to be a decision made by both partners, regardless of who has been diagnosed with infertility. In cases where the problem affects the woman, the role of her partner is fundamental.
“As we can see every day in consultations, the most common thing is that women make an appointment for psychological care and go alone, rarely accompanied by their partners,” explains Dr Silvia Moreno Golmar, director of the Psychology Unit of Clínica Tambre.
By attending counselling sessions alone, this can sometimes cause issues in a couple’s relationship because of the other partner’s absence in sharing that part of the journey.
The commitment and involvement of men in the process is crucial. Although on a physical level, they do not go through the same as women, their role is nevertheless important. It is very significant because the emotional side cannot be overlooked in IVF patients.
Psychological support for men is not as common as it should be
There are some men who find it difficult to express their feelings or emotions and they are expected to be strong. Therefore, it can be more difficult to support them psychologically because of this situation.
Society has mistakenly linked fertility with masculinity over decades. This belief can generate low self-esteem and feelings of guilt, shame and frustration when infertility arises. Our mission as IVF professionals is to break the taboos about male infertility and to seek new ways of tackling the issue.
“In situations where donor sperm is required, men may feel a disconnection from the process and the future child,” Dr. Moreno Golmar says. Unlike women, who in cases of egg donation experience pregnancy and labour, men do not participate at a genetic or physiological level. This scenario leads to doubts and fears that must be handled despite the fact that the emotional impact on men tends will try to be hidden by them.
Undergoing IVF as a couple implies taking care of each other and being attentive, with a willingness to listen and speak honestly. Any wrong assumptions based on stereotypes and social roles will never be helpful.
This is the reason a man’s role is important, even if he has a different role and responsibility.