Psychological and social aspects of infertility in men

Delaram, M.
June 2014
Iranian Journal of Reproductive Medicine;Jun2014 Supplement, Vol. 12, p132
Academic Journal
Introduction: Research concerning the psychosocial aspects of infertility and infertility treatment focuses more often on women than men. The aim of this review was to synthesize the English-language evidence related to the psychological and social aspects of infertility in men and discuss the implications of these reports for clinical care and future research. Materials and Methods: A structured search identified 73 studies that reported data concerning the desire for fatherhood and the psychological and social aspects of diagnosis, assisted reproductive technology (ART) treatment and unsuccessful treatment among men with fertility difficulties. The studies are diverse in conceptualisation, design, setting and data collection, but the findings were reasonably consistent. Results: These studies indicated that fertile and infertile childless men of reproductive age have desires to experience parenthood that are similar to those of their female counterparts; in addition, diagnosis and initiation of treatment are associated with elevated infertility-specific anxiety, and unsuccessful treatment can lead to a state of lasting sadness. Men prefer oral to written treatment information and prefer to receive emotional support from infertility clinicians rather than from mental health professionals, self-help support groups or friends. Nevertheless, structured, facilitated psycho-educational groups that are didactic but permit informal sharing of experiences might be beneficial. Conclusion: There are gaps in knowledge about factors governing seeking, persisting with and deciding to cease treatment; experiences of invasive procedures; parenting after assisted conception; adoption and infertility-related grief and shame among men. Few resource-constrained countries have any data concerning male experiences of infertility.


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