Male Infertility--Men Talking

Male Infertility--Men Talking

Male Infertility--Men Talking

Male Infertility--Men Talking


How do men react to diagnosis of male infertility and how, if at all, are all their lives affected by it?Male infertility is commonplace yet the male experience of it has been woefully neglected.Male Infertility - Men Talking explores these issues by gathering together men's stories and seeing what common strands, if any, exist between them. Mary-Claire Mason explores the past and present medical management of male infertility as this forms an essential backdrop to the men's stories but the main emphasis is on how men's lives are affected. In the first half of this book the discovery of sperm and the man's role in reproduction is considered together with a review of how the past affects the present medical management of male infertility and the problems that bedevil it. The male voice predominates in the second painful events and relationships with families and friends, their feeling of isolation, their medical experiences, the importance of biological fatherhood, and their hopes for the future.


When Mary-Claire Mason first talked to me about her idea of writing a book on male infertility, in which men themselves would describe the experience from their own point of view, I encouraged her to do so. In a support group such as ISSUE, where we can put members in touch with others who are going through or have gone through similar experiences, we find that the shared experience can do a great deal to combat the isolation that many men, and their partners, feel when faced with the diagnosis of infertility. I hope that this book, by reaching a wide audience, will also help to dispel that sense of isolation.

Inevitably, the difficulties that men have in talking about their feelings publicly have meant that the group whose experiences form the background to this book was self-selected, and therefore perhaps coped better with the feelings of being trapped, devalued, and 'less men' than, in my experience, many men who suffer as a result of infertility. Because of this, the book does not touch equally on all the stresses that men can and do undergo when diagnosed infertile and there are still many areas about which I hope its publication will stimulate further discussion. I am thinking of such important issues as the strong needs of men to have their own genetic child; the conflicts arising from the use of donor sperm; the difference between the feelings of men who have a small sperm count and those who have none at all; the problems for men who become trapped in providing emotional support for their partners and are never able truly to express their own feelings of anguish; the difficulties created by the lack of proper testing in the early stages and failure to provide a clear diagnosis; and, not least, the emotional devastation that can be caused if bad news is badly communicated.

Mary-Claire Mason's book is to be welcomed because it begins to open up a subject which has been too little discussed.

John Dickson
Director of ISSUE

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