In the media, infertility is often portrayed as a ‘woman’s problem. Usually when we hear about a celebrity speaking out about their battles with fertility, it is a woman who confides in her social media followers or to a reporter.
But there is a new wave of male celebrities opening up about their own experiences trying to conceive
Ideally, this will help to de-stigmatise male infertility, and encourage more men to speak openly about their own struggles.
In 2015, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg posted a statement in which he revealed that he and his wife Priscilla Chan were having troubles conceiving. He wrote, “We’ve been trying to have a child for a couple of years and have had three miscarriages along the way. It’s a lonely experience. Most people don’t discuss miscarriages because you worry your problems will distance you or reflect upon you — as if you’re defective or did something to cause this.”
Anyone struggling with their own infertility or miscarriages will recognise these feelings. Seeing them voiced by someone like Zuckerberg could provide comfort to others, and reduce the dreadful sensation of being ‘alone’ and somehow at fault.
Actor Hugh Jackman also revealed that he and wife Deborra-Lee Furness have also struggled with infertility
In an interview with Katie Couric, he told the host, “It’s almost secretive. But it’s a good thing to talk about. It’s more common and it’s tough, there’s a grieving process you have to go through.”
Neither Jackman nor Zuckerberg shared the specific reason for their infertility, other celebrities have in the past
Gordon Ramsay and Lance Armstrong both disclosed that they had dealt with male infertility. Armstrong used sperm that he froze before his treatment for testicular cancer to have his first 3 children. Chef Ramsay reportedly suffers from low sperm count (and his wife Tana has polycystic ovaries), and so 4 of their 5 children were conceived with IVF.
Male infertility plays a role in around 40% of couples struggling with conception
Remember, male factor infertility is much more common than you might think. If you are worried that it may be affecting you, consider the following:
- Have your semen analysed – Your sperm will be checked for quality, quantity, and motility (mobility)
- Adjust your lifestyle to improve the quality of your sperm – Lower your alcohol consumption, reduce recreational drug use, and lose any extra weight.
- Keep your testicles cool – The high heat of hot tubs, saunas, and wearing briefs can damage your sperm quality.
- Consider your age – Many men successfully have children well into their 40s and 50s. however, sperm quality can decrease as you get older.
Are you experiencing male factor infertility? If so, do statements like these from celebrities make you feel less alone? We’d love to know, just email us on firstname.lastname@example.org