How can I tell my partner we need to see a doctor?
Ensuring your partner is on board
Often times, a couple’s interest in starting a family is driven by the female partner. Her biological clock ticks more loudly and although infertility is rare, a woman will be alert to her body’s signals. She’ll follow her cycle and count the months as they go by. She’ll browse articles about infertility or speak with friends about their conception experience.
Men, on the other hand, may appear to be unaware that time is passing. They may need to be convinced that the time has come to seek medical advice. The idea that they may have contributed in some way to their conception difficulties may shake their self-esteem and their image of masculinity.
If there are conception issues to be faced, you need to address them as a couple. The only question is how. Men aren’t necessarily comfortable discussing intimate aspects of their relationship. The same is true of fertility issues. It’s understandable; many men equate fertility with virility, which is bound up with their self-image.
|Conception difficulties are just as likely to affect men as they are women. Male infertility is the primary diagnosis in approximately 25% of cases and contributes to a further 15–25% of the remaining cases.1 It is important that both partners are investigated to determine the right course of action.|
How to ensure your partner is on board
- Approach your partner over a walk or an extended drive. Men are often more comfortable with conversation when they’re actively doing something rather than staring across the table.
- Try to limit the amount of detail and depth of worry that you share in the first conversation. He may feel left behind and wonder how long you’ve been worrying about the subject alone. This can be divisive. What you actually want is to embark on a journey together. Learn all you need to together. Fertility.com will help answer questions ranging from lifestyle changes to treatment options. Start by sending your partner the link to fertility.com.
- Make him feel it is a joint decision: reassure him that as a couple, you’ll retain control. The decisions you take will be based on the information you receive from your doctor. Men may not always demonstrate initiative or lead the decision-making process in fertility issues. But they may not want to be led either. Involve him in the decision-making process.
No matter how uncomfortable it may feel, it’s important that you speak with your partner. You owe it to yourself. Peace of mind comes with the knowledge that you’ve taken all the necessary steps to fulfil your desire for a child. Talking to a doctor will help you identify any obstacles in your way.
|Fertility declines with age, as do treatment success rates.2 If you need to seek medical advice it’s important not to postpone the decision.|
1. Collins J.A. Evidence-based infertility: evaluation of the female partner. International Congress Series 2004; 1266: 57–62. 2. Age and Fertility. A Guide for Patients. ASRM 2003; http://www.asrm.org/Patients/patientbooklets/agefertility.pdf