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Infertility affects 16% of couples who want to have children and in 40% of cases the cause is man, show data from the National Center for Biotechnology and Information in the United States.
However, treatments to treat male infertility are outdated and scarce , according to experts at the University of Edinburgh. Most procedures and investigations are dedicated to women.
Men can feel excluded when problems arise when having children. Some believe that talking about it is still a taboo and they do not find emotional support.
Matt Leary is convinced that the lack of help ended their relationship of years. “My life was falling apart and no one offered help.”
Leary was told that he was infertile when he was 26 years old, when he had been trying to have children with his partner for three years .
I did not find anyone willing to help “
First they went to public health and then to private health, but nobody seemed to offer any solution and did not know how to assimilate it.
“The problem ended my relationship, my partner was determined to have children so separation was the only solution.”
This young Briton says he went into depression . “I felt unhappy because I could not give my partner something that, in theory, I should be able to give him,” he recalls.
“Wherever I went, I did not find anyone willing to help, ” he tells the BBC.
A problem of masculinity?
For Gareth Down, 31, the lack of help came to such a point that he created a support group for men with fertility problems like him to come if they needed it.
Down was told that his sperm did not have sperm when he was 20 years old.
This condition also put your relationship at risk many times.
After going through nine cycles of infertility treatment and four miscarriages, he and his wife managed to have a baby after eight years of trying.
Talking about it was also difficult. “They make you feel like you’re wasting the doctor’s time and resources.”
A survey conducted by Fertility UK and Leeds Beckett University revealed that 93% of respondents felt “less men” when they were infertile.
“Having children is in our DNA, that’s the purpose of having sex when you get older so not being able to be a father made me feel useless, ” answered one.
Those responsible for the study said that many respondents framed the impact in terms of gender , which is expected given the traditional associations between masculinity, fertility and fatherhood.
Susan Seenan, director of the NGO that participated in the survey, encouraged men to talk about this problem: “Men are half of the equation on fertility and when they can not create the family they want they suffer physically and mentally as much as women”.
Causes of infertility
There are many reasons why a man can be infertile .
The most common is the low quality of the semen, the fluid that contains the sperm, either because it has few sperm or because they do not move correctly.
Damaged testicles, ejaculation problems and low levels of testosterone, the male hormone are also reasons that can lead a man to be infertile.
Infertility in men can be determined by clinically analyzing semen and urine.