Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Getting Men to Attend Infertility Programs

Years ago when my wife and I were first starting to address our infertility issues we attended several all day seminars and multi-session seminars. As expected the attendance at the requisite insurance and female infertility sessions were packed but the male factor sessions were more sparsely attended (by the men anyways) and tended to be more focused on the highly technical issues instead of the emotional aspects of male factor infertility (MFI) issues.

I recently sent an email to a male counselor that works with the AFA who again confirmed that getting men to seminars is a tough sell but that he is part of an effort to put on a MFI seminar this coming May 6, 2006. Similarly Olivia Montuschi of the UK Donor Conception Network also asked for advice as to how to get men to attend more meetings.

Part of me wants to say the answer is actually simple but I don't think it is. Getting men to talk about their own infertility much less to get them to discuss donor conception appear to be impossible tasks. I think in the end for men to be active in addressing their infertility their desire for a child / family must be greater than their discomfort and the pain of acknowledging the issue.

My question to any men suffering from MFI reading this post is what would you want to see in the way of live programming that would enable you to proactively address these issues? To those wives reading this please ask your spouses this same questions and let me know their answers.

The Yahoo DI Dads groups appears to allow the men that are members the anonymity or remoteness of contact to allow them to participate openly regarding their feelings that perhaps in person some of them could not.


lia said...

Michael and I came the the conclusion some years ago that he didn't actually donate his sperm to the woman, he donated his sperm to the man. Because the woman was not infertile the male was. Donating sperm should be regarded more as a 'man to man' concept. This would remove a lot of discomfort. I also think that a relationship of trust should be encouraged and developed between the two males. I'm sure if we started to view dc in this way (right now the message boards are chock full of donors and (fertile) di mums - extremely daunting for any infertile male) it will appear a lot more 'wholesome' and less threatening to infertile males. If you are still attempting to form a group perhaps you could start one that focuses on a relationship between the donor and the recipient father rather than the current configuration of donor and di mum? This may bring the infertile dads out of the woodwork. The current use of language and relationships pretty much discourages and excludes the participation of infertile males.

leusgs said...

While I applaud your desire to bring infertile males out of the woodwork, I would not be so sure that encouraging the "man to man" approach would have any effect. It does nothing to make the concept of DI any more appealing to a man. Very few of the thousands of posts/articles/etc I have read by DI mums and donors touches properly on the feelings an infertile male faced with a DI decision.

Lee Ann Price said...

Help. I am looking for a site/blog that deals with parents of DI children and how/when to tell their kids. I have done numerous searches for DI and parenting, DI and mothers, DI and blogs - only to see your blog consistently popping up. Is there such a thing as a forum for parents of DI kids that you know of? I'd really like to connect with other parents on this issue.
Thanks in advance for your help.

DI_Dad said...

Lee Ann -

There are a few groups on Yahoo you might want to check out including:


If you are in the UK you could contact the Donor Conception Network through their website. They offer a series of pamphlets with advice regarding "telling" that you woudl find helpful and offer in person workshops when they meet that many UK parents of DI conceived children take full advantage of.

If you are in Australia check out the DCSG, The Donor Conception Dupport Group which also to my knowledge offers in person group meetings among various other resources.

Good luck.

- Eric