There's Nothing Wrong with Me
More Than A Man Can Handle
Without a doubt, one of the most overwhelming and upsetting events in a man's life could be a trip to the fertility specialist to determine fertility. Something about the very idea leaves a man cold and sweaty, all at the same time. Women will run to a specialist for help, especially when it comes to having a much-wanted baby. Men, however, may be resistant and even hostile to fertility testing. Most women chalk it up to male pride - but there may be a lot more to it than that.
Men Are Just Different
According to Dr. Paul Turek, a fertility specialist and the founder of the Turek Clinic, a facility that specializes in men's reproductive health care, the culture of men is very different from that of women.
"Women live with a monthly biological event that helps remind them to take care of themselves," says Dr. Turek. "We live in a society where men usually don't seek help unless they are in pain or are compelled to by loved ones."
Couple this information with male pride of fertility and you've got a bitter pill to swallow. Dr. Turek says the best way for a woman to deal with this is to let the man know how much it means to her to have a baby. "Men, even if they want a baby, will be most motivated if they are doing it for their wives," he says. "Even if they won't go see a doctor for themselves, men are often happy to do it for someone else. It should be a very positive, very helpful thing."
The "D" Word...Denial
Another view comes from Dr. Daniela E. Schreier, a licensed clinical psychologist, who says that denial is often the initial response of a man when asked to take a sperm test. "It may constitute a blow to his ego, admitting there may be difficulty with his reproductive capacity," Dr. Schreier says. "Gender education and cultural underpinning indicates a man has to be fertile and reproductive." Stereotypically, strong men can make babies - period. The obvious threat is that a man's masculinity comes into play when a sperm test puts him face-to-face with his own mortality and the possible loss of his bloodline.
"As long as a man is conflict and problem avoidant, he will not want to admit he may have a part in it because with knowledge comes responsibility, which means co-joint action, activity and problem solving rather than blaming," Dr. Schreier says.
By taking a non-combative, low-key approach and talking about the issue when there is no pressure or stress, it is possible to put the discussion in context, looking for mutual understanding. Love, care, support, and respect without blame are key to the success of such a discussion. Blaming does nothing positive - focusing on a solution does.