Guys have a problem with listening. Sure, that sounds sexist, but when it comes to listening to their wives, most women would agree. It’s no longer just a perception either. According to a survey, the average man listens well to others, but when it comes to his significant other, he can only manage six minutes of focus before zoning out. Maybe his mind drifts off because he starts to think about a baseball game or what he’s going to eat. Or maybe, he’s trying to avoid a difficult conversation.
For male conversation avoiders, nothing makes his mind scram more than talk of infertility. Not only do guys not like to talk about it, they don’t deal with it. About 80 percent of men in infertile couples won’t get their fertility checked. These stats are part of the reason why Resolve, the National Infertility Association, holds National Infertility Awareness Week, which is April 23-29. The organization seeks to spark conversation about infertility with this year’s theme, “Listen Up.”
With that in mind, how can you get your husband to “listen up” about male infertility? Well, we’re not miracle workers, but we can give you some conversations starters. You only have six minutes of his attention, so here are six facts about male factor infertility to mention before he starts thinking about the game.
- Symptoms of Male Infertility
Many times there are no apparent symptoms of infertility, besides not being able to conceive a child. Aside from the obvious, ask your mate if he has difficulty ejaculating—either ejaculating a small amount or none at all.
Also swelling, lumps or pain in the testicle area could indicate a health issue that’s causing infertility.
- Why Sperm Count Matters
Quick question: When is 15 million not a lot? When it’s a sperm count. Guys should have at least 20 million sperm per milliliter to be considered fertile. Anything below that may be the cause of your problems.
The only way to find out the count is getting a test. But before you insist he takes a trip to the doctor—which he may be hesitant to do—he can save money and time by using SpermCheck instead. It’s an over-the-counter, home male fertility test that gives results in minutes.
- Fertility is a Two-Way Street
While women get most of the attention when it comes to infertility, the truth is guys contribute to half of all infertility cases. If you’ve already been diagnosed with fertility issues, it doesn’t mean your mate isn’t contributing to the problem. If a guy has low sperm count or poor sperm motility, it’s best to find out before you go through any unnecessary or costly procedures.
- Causes of Male Infertility
There are several things that can contribute to a low sperm count and infertility issues—some medical and some behavioral.
Health issues such as urinary tract infections, prostatitis, diabetes, and high blood pressure can contribute to a low sperm count. Other conditions such as varicocele—an enlarged vein in the scrotum—can also be a factor.
As far as behavior, smoking, excessive drinking, being overweight, working out excessively, or exposure to toxic metals can contribute to infertility. If you and your partner use lubrication, such as K-Y Jelly, it can inhibit sperm movement, which can hinder chances of conceiving.
- How to Improve Fertility
If a guy’s sperm count is low, there are things he can do to raise it. Reducing stress, exercising regularly and losing excessive weight can help. Also taking antioxidants such as vitamin C and E and selenium are helpful.
- When It’s Time to See a Doctor
If your mate is experiencing some of the above issues and he’s tested his sperm count, and it’s below the fertility threshold, it may be time for furthering testing with semen analysis.
The analysis is performed by a doctor and evaluates sperm based on three factors: motility (sperm’s ability to move), morphology (shape of sperm) and count. At least 50 percent of sperm should be swimming forward, and at least 14% should be shaped normally.
There you have it. Six facts to pique your partner’s interest in talking about infertility. If he makes it through the conversation, make sure you revisit the talk. The more open a couple is about infertility, the better they can cope with it and seek necessary help or testing. Infertility awareness week is coming. No better time for the six-minute talk.