INFERTILITY BLAME GAME
This one hits close to home, as I treat fertility patients everyday in clinic. 99.9% of my fertility patients are – and always have been – women. I cannot think of one man who sought treatment for fertility challenges in the past 10 years of my professional clinical career. Erectile dysfunction? Sure, a few. But sperm quality? Nope.
The psychological and medical burdens of dealing with fertility issues have been placed squarely on the women’s shoulders. Not only is this incorrect on the most basic level – given that it takes viable sperm + a healthy egg to create a pregnancy- it’s especially wrong now, when a high proportion of infertility issues can clearly be placed at men’s feet.
Historically, fertility has been a concept applied only to women. One reason is that fertility rate has been defined as the average number of live births per woman of reproductive age. It’s ingrained in society about women’s ticking biological clocks, but men think they’ve got the goods until they die. Women feel the pressure, while men don’t (generally speaking).
Male reproductive issues cause up to 1/3 of infertility cases, equal to the proportion of female reproductive challenges. The remaining cases of infertility stem from a combination of male and female factors (subfertile + subfertile), but if either was with a partner who was incredibly fertile (a few still exist), then getting pregnant wouldn’t be as challenging.
info x Shanna H. Swan, PhD, author of Count Down