When couples experience infertility, there's often a misconception that the problem is the woman's. But according to the American Society of Reproductive Medicine, infertility issues are split evenly between males and females. Each group is responsible for 30 percent of infertility, and the rest is attributable to a combination of both male and female factors or unexplained reasons. Therefore, it's important to have both partners' fertility checked if you're having trouble getting pregnant. See a specialist if you're under 35 and have tried to conceive for a year, or if you're over 35 and have tried for six months.
If a male factor is what's making it tough for you and your partner to conceive, it's important to understand what may be causing his infertility and what your options are. Here are answers to 10 common questions.
1. How can I convince my guy to go to the doctor?
Some men don't even like to visit the doctor for a regular checkup, so the thought of going for a fertility workup is probably not at the top of your guy's to-do list. Even though he may not show it, your guy may be feeling like he's less of a man if he can't get you pregnant right away.
But not being proactive about your fertility may be even less manly, according to Denny Ceizyk, whose blog, almostafather.com, details his journey to fatherhood after being diagnosed with low sperm count. "Not 'checking your boys' after one year of 'trying to have a baby on your own is like ignoring the 'check engine' light when it first goes on. It could be nothing, but if you let it go, it could cost you far more in the long run that if you just take care of it soon after that warning signal first appears," he explains. Now Ceizyk is the father of a young daughter, and has this year contributed to the Bust an Infertility Myth Blog Challenge, a public awareness campaign from RESOLVE, The National Infertility Association.
If your guy feels uncomfortable or embarrassed about that first doctor's visit, offer him your support and remind him you're in this together. Whether infertility is identified as male or female factor, it is a shared problem in a relationship and should be addressed as a couple.