Women for years have spoken about being childless and longing to have a baby. Dads are coming forward to share their pain of being childless. Stefanie Marsh from the Daily Mail wrote an article on what childless men are experiencing.
A case study was done on Robin Hadley. He was an angry person in his early 30s, he could not understand why he was feeling so angry. He felt his life was incomplete.
He got on well with his work colleagues and friends. He felt that there was something missing in his life. He felt jealous when his friend’s wife was pregnant.
Robin said, ‘You don’t think of men getting broody, but that’s exactly what was happening to me. I was watching my friends start their own families and thinking: why should they have everything I’ve always wanted?’
Robin is now 57, happily married but still childless, and one of Britain’s only professional experts on male involuntary childlessness — where men are childless not through choice but circumstance.
Men being childless is a subject we hardly talk about. We read and hear about 20 per cent of women over 43 who are childless, men who are in that same position are rarely heard. The pain of not having a child can affect men as well.
I keep on saying that men will rather talk to a pint before they open up to anyone let alone a professional who can help. It’s a macho thing men see themselves as weak or feminine especially by other men. Robin says, ‘Although men don’t have a biological clock in the same way women do, ‘they have what I’d call a “social clock”.
There have been famous men who have children very late in their lives for example — Rod Stewart or Ronnie Wood or Billy Joel — really don’t represent the majority. Male fertility declines sharply with age and ordinary people don’t have the financial resources a pop star has to go towards childcare at that stage in life’.
The question here is surely men, unlike most women, can easily have a child in their 50s? ‘Many men see their early 50s as the cutoff point,’ says Robin. ‘They feel uncomfortable with the idea of being an “old” father.’
Recent advances in fertility treatment have allowed single women whose fertility window is closing to go it alone using donor sperm — a relatively cheap, widely available and increasingly socially acceptable process. Single men, however, do not have that choice. Read more
How to Recognize Male Infertility
It can be hard to recognize male infertility. A diagnosis of male infertility typically happens after testing of both partners and finding fertility trouble in the male.
Out of every five infertile couples, one couple will experience reproductive problems as a result of male infertility. Male infertility may have genetic causes or may be caused by things like drug abuse, infections, and excessive exposure of the testicles to heat.
To figure out whether you have male infertility, you should look at your risk factors, examine your physical condition and ask your doctor about fertility testing options.
Recognizing Physical Symptoms of Male Infertility
Understand that male infertility often has no obvious signs. Many infertile men experience a regular sex life and have sperm that looks fine to the naked eye. In this sense, it is difficult to recognize the physical symptoms of male infertility. Warning signs are rare, but some infertile men have lumps or swelling near the testicles, breast growth, erectile dysfunction, and respiratory problems
Feel for a lump or swelling in your testicles.
A lump, swelling or pain and discomfort in your testicles can be a symptom of male infertility.
Examine your testicles while standing in front of a mirror. Hold your right testicle with your hand and your thumb on top. Roll it gently and feel for any pain or discomfort.
Next, hold your left testicle and roll it gently to feel for any pain or discomfort. Do not worry if one testicle feels slightly larger than the other one since this is perfectly normal. If you feel any pain or a heaviness in your groin, you should see a doctor
Inspect your breasts to see if they have grown excessively.
If you have grown very large breasts (known as gynecomastia), you may be experiencing a symptom of male infertility.
- Talk to your doctor if you have large breasts. Gynecomastia is often confused with just having fatty breast tissue, so you should ask your doctor to look at your breasts. Your doctor may check for breast cancer or an infection of the breast tissue called mastitis
Look at your body and facial hair.
One symptom of male infertility is a decrease in body hair, which can be a sign of a hormonal imbalance. If you have significantly less hair growth than normal, you may be experiencing a symptom of male infertility.
Consider whether you have difficulty maintaining an erection.
Erectile dysfunction can also be a cause of male infertility.In this case, you should ask your doctor about treatments for erectile dysfunction. Common treatments for erectile dysfunction include sildenafil (Viagra), tadalafil (Cialis), avanafil (Stendra), and vardenafil (Levitra, Staxyn).
These types of medications help your body increase blood flow to the penis. However, you should see your doctor for full treatment options and approval of any medication. In particular, the above treatments are dangerous for people with low blood pressure, liver or kidney disease.
Check for respiratory problems or infections.
Another symptom associated with male infertility is respiratory problems. If you have trouble breathing or have had a lot of respiratory infections, you may have a condition associated with male infertility.
Testing for Male Infertility
Test your sperm count. Approximately two-thirds of men who experience infertility have difficulty with sperm production. Difficulties with sperm production include not only how many sperms are produced but also the quality of the sperm.
In terms of quantity, ejaculating less than 15 million sperm per millilitre of semen is considered a low sperm count. If you suspect you may have a low sperm count, you should ask your doctor about getting your sperm count tested. You could also do a home sperm test.
Do a sperm test at home. You can purchase a home sperm test online or at major drug and department stores. Typically, these home sperm tests are reasonably accurate in measuring sperm count. You will have to ejaculate into a cup, wait ten minutes, and then look for your results.
Remember that home sperm tests are limited in their ability to test for male infertility. They only measure sperm count and do not check for things like motility, shape, and other aspects of sperm quality.
Check to see if your medical insurance plan covers infertility tests.
Although many plans cover the diagnostic tests needed to determine infertility, there can be complications. You should check with your insurance plan to see if they cover the infertility tests you want to take.
- Some plans cover the diagnosis of infertility but not the treatment. You should also see whether or not your plan covers infertility treatment.
- Check to see if there are age and gender related restrictions in your plan.
Ask your doctor to test for male infertility.
Your doctor will likely conduct a physical examination and look at your medical and sexual history. The next step will likely involve an analysis of your semen. You will have to masturbate into a cup and they will send the sample to the laboratory for sperm count testing.
- If the sperm analysis is not sufficient to determine infertility, your doctor may do a scrotal ultrasound test. This test is used to look for problems such as varicocele (varicose veins in the scrotum).
- Get hormone testing to see if there is a problem with testosterone.
- Get a post-ejaculation urinalysis. This test is used to determine if your sperm is travelling in the wrong direction and ending up in your bladder.
- Look into genetic tests. If the sperm analysis finds a very low count, you can get genetic testing done to see if your condition is inherited.
- A testicular biopsy may be conducted in unusual circumstances. This test can determine whether the problem lies with sperm production or transport. Acknowledgements Spencer McCleave, M.D. Family Medicine Physician
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