The emotional side of male infertility.


 

Many us would be sur­prised to know that men are respons­ible for up to forty per­cent of cases of infer­til­ity in a couple. Sev­er­al factors can affect the male repro­duct­ive sys­tem caus­ing the sperm pro­duc­tion to decline. These include sur­ger­ies, chron­ic ill­nesses, and pre­scribed med­ic­a­tions.

Also, poor life­style, espe­cially alco­hol abuse, smoking, recre­ation drugs, inad­equate diet, lack of exer­cise and emo­tion­al stress can have dam­aging effects on men’s abil­ity to repro­duce

Due its influ­ence on the nervous sys­tem, pre­lim­in­ary med­ic­al stud­ies have shown that acu­punc­ture can, in many cases, increase testoster­one levels, reduce stress and anxi­ety, and improve erectile dys­func­tion, and sperm qual­ity and volume

Since it takes approx­im­ately three months for the sperm to be pro­duced, it is import­ant to treat a male patient for at least that peri­od of time before a meas­ured sperm improve­ment can be expec­ted.

In Ori­ent­al medi­cine, the kid­ney organs are the found­a­tion of the body. They store the life energy that trig­gers the major hor­mon­al changes that occur in our life from the onset of puberty to men­o­pause. In men’s health, the strength of these organs is respons­ible for, not only our sexu­al drive but also the qual­ity and quant­ity of the sperm pro­duced by our body. Oth­er factors such as an excess amount of intern­al heat can also have a det­ri­ment­al effect on the men’s repro­duct­ive sys­tem, as well as the poor cir­cu­la­tion of blood in the sexu­al organs.

With Mod­ern med­ic­al tech­no­logy, West­ern spe­cial­ists are now able to per­form incred­ible feats to resolve men’s repro­duct­ive prob­lems. Indi­vidu­al sperm can be injec­ted straight into the egg (ICSI), to bypass qual­ity and mobil­ity issues, and in case of ejac­u­lat­ory dif­fi­culties, semen samples can be col­lec­ted dir­ectly from the testicles.

Unfor­tu­nately, there are many times when the couple will not be suc­cess­ful.

In that case, both part­ners have to accept that they will nev­er accom­plish their dream. It is a very dif­fi­cult pro­cess of griev­ing for the life they will nev­er have.

In these cases, it seems nat­ur­al to empath­ize more with the women who will nev­er bear a child, although it can be equally dis­tress­ing for her male part­ner. While Aus­trali­an stat­ist­ics show that a quarter of women will nev­er have a child, to my know­ledge no research seems to have been con­duc­ted on the incid­ence of men who have nev­er been a fath­er.

In addi­tion, some men will remain without a child because they nev­er had a long-term rela­tion­ship, or they were unlucky to have found their life part­ner too late in life.

There is also the issue of the fall­ing birth rate. In many coun­tries, women are now choos­ing to have chil­dren later in life when their fer­til­ity is declin­ing, so fam­ily size has decreased, and few­er men are get­ting the chance to be a fath­er. Since the young gen­er­a­tion had tra­di­tion­ally been the main social and eco­nom­ic sup­port for the older gen­er­a­tions, this is becom­ing an enorm­ous con­cern for future soci­ety.

In many cul­tures, it is a male’ s duty to pro­duce off­spring, and keep the fam­ily name and genet­ic inher­it­ance alive. When a man is unable to do so, he can exper­i­ence a sense of hav­ing failed towards his ancest­ors. Without chil­dren to keep them con­nec­ted with oth­ers, many men struggle against loneli­ness and depres­sion, with increased risks of sui­cide, addic­tion, viol­ence, and incid­ence of heart and lung dis­ease.

 

Robin Had­ley is an Eng­lish­man who nev­er had the chance to become a fath­er. He remem­bers being “ broody “ while he was in his 30s. Find­ing him­self unable the express his long­ing for a child, he ended up suf­fer­ing a great deal. Con­sequently, he decided, sev­er­al dec­ades later, to quit his job as a pro­fes­sion­al pho­to­graph­er to become a coun­selor.

After dis­cov­er­ing that very little research had been con­duc­ted about men’s exper­i­ence of child­less­ness, he sub­sequently self-fun­ded his Mas­ter of coun­sel­ing degree on the sub­ject of “The life exper­i­ence of men ages 50+ who don’t have a child, and wanted to be a fath­er ’”.

He dis­covered that, while Brit­ish men had often been con­di­tioned to sup­press their emo­tions, once a trust­ing rela­tion­ship was estab­lished, they had little dif­fi­culty in express­ing the emo­tion­al tur­moil they had been facing for so long. Many par­ti­cipants linked their child­less­ness to epis­odes of depres­sion or revealed that they have stayed in ter­rible rela­tion­ships for years because they didn’t want to miss on the oppor­tun­ity to be a fath­er.

Mr. Had­ley found little dif­fer­ence in the desire to become a par­ent between female and male child­less indi­vidu­als. His research also indic­ated that “For some male not becom­ing a fath­er had a great­er neg­at­ive impact than repor­ted by the female par­ti­cipants”.

This lead to the cre­ation of a sup­port organ­iz­a­tion called Aging Without Chil­dren (AWOC), for a pos­it­ive later life without chil­dren. It has con­duc­ted many suc­cess­ful work­shop and sem­inars for both men and women in Eng­land. Unfor­tu­nately, hav­ing failed to receive any gov­ern­ment fund­ing, it is dif­fi­cult to assess how long it will be able to sur­vive.

I would like to believe that the situ­ation is any bet­ter in this coun­try, but unfor­tu­nately, it doesn’t seem to be the case.

 

Olivi­er Lejus MHSc. BHSc. is a Registered Acu­punc­tur­ist prac­ti­cing in Sydney.


About Olivier Lejus

I was born in France and I emigrated to Australia in 1980. I worked as a circus performer, puppeteer and actor before I began studying Traditional Chinese Medicine a the University of Technology of Sydney in 1997. I graduated in 2000 with a Bachelor of of science degree in Traditional Chinese medicine. I am now specializing in Japanese style acupuncture for the treatment of female and male infertility, pain, and anxiety.

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