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Keywords:

  • communication;
  • fertility;
  • gender;
  • men′s health;
  • psychosocial nursing

Abstract

Aims

To explore and to identify the possible need for psychological communicative support in men undergoing fertility treatment.

Background

Male infertility affects many aspects of a man's life and may cause a life crisis. Although infertility treatment is now commonplace in men, they often feel remote and disconnected from the treatment process.

Design

A descriptive survey.

Methods

A questionnaire with structured and open-ended questions was completed by 210 Danish men undergoing fertility treatment. The questionnaire covered three issues: individual perception of male infertility, gender equality issues, and communication with health professionals in the clinic. Data were collected during 2008.

Findings

Of the participants, 28% believed that their reduced sperm quality affected their perception of masculinity. 46% stated that equal involvement between partners was a very important element of the treatment; however, 63% said that the health professionals communicated primarily with their female partner. Finally, 62% found that there was a need for a deeper dialogue with the nurses concerning male infertility and 72% lacked information about the psychological consequences of male infertility. In general, participants wanted a more open and balanced dialogue about infertility treatment and the role of the male partner during this process.

Conclusion

Infertile men want health professionals to view them on equal terms with their partner. When treating the infertile man, there is a further need to develop more inclusive communication skills.