Men’s experiences of infertility has been the focus of my research interests over the last year (a previous paper I have published on the topic is available here), and is an area of research which has stemmed from my wider interest in men as fathers. I have recently had published a new paper on help seeking for male infertility, which was co-authored by Prof. Brendan Gough (of Psychology at Leeds Beckett University).
This paper is called ‘Searching for help online: An analysis of peer-to-peer posts on a male-only infertility forum’ and is published in the Journal of Health Psychology. The paper explores how men seek help from other men within the context of an online setting (a forum), the way they frame their desires for help, why they feel they need help and how masculinity constrains such attempts to gain advice or support. Understanding online settings can give us insight we may not be able to gain otherwise (it can be hard to know how men talk to other men about infertility as often such conversations are not visible within social life) and shows how some men need support for infertility, which can be a highly distressing experience that can create a lot of different emotions for those experiencing.
We still know a limited amount about how men experience infertility (either when infertile themselves, or when their partners are infertile) and much more work is needed to know how best we can educate men about their fertility, enable more conversations to occur to bring (in) fertility out of the shadows and into wider consciousness, and to help men (and their partners) when experiencing infertility. It is in this vein that this new paper hopes to add a little more to our understandings of men’s experiences of infertility.