DOI: 10.1142/s2661318223742285 ISSN: 2661-3182

#355 : “No One Asked Me If I’m Alright”: A Mixed Methods Study Exploring Information/Support Needs and Challenges Engaging Men Diagnosed with Male-Factor Infertility

Kate Obst, Melissa Oxlad, Deborah Turnbull, Nicole McPherson
  • General Medicine

Background and Aims: Men desire to be actively involved in preconception care. However, health systems do not consistently or proactively engage men and there is little acknowledgement of their needs during this time. The lack of gender-specific service provision in infertility treatment likely contributes to men’s poorer mental wellbeing following infertility diagnosis and infertility treatment. This research sought to understand males’ psychosocial and support needs when diagnosed with male-factor infertility.

Method: Mixed methods design, assessing men who had undergone diagnosis and/or treatment for male-factor infertility in past five years within Australia. Study comprised: 1) online survey (assessing psychological functioning, fertility knowledge, information sources, social support and perception of resources) and 2) semi-structured interviews to further explore participants’ lived experiences of male-factor infertility. Participants were recruited through Andrology clinics, social media, infertility support pages and ANZICA counsellors.

Results: During their infertility journeys, participants mostly received information fertility doctors/nurses and the internet. However, their preferred method of informational knowledge would be through a verified male infertility website. Qualitative data were analysed by reflexive thematic analysis, which resulted in three key themes, each with two sub-themes, summarising pertinent aspects of men’s lived experiences when diagnosed with male-factor infertility (Figure 1). The majority of participants were in later stages of their fertility journey, indicating they felt more prepared to discuss their experiences given most (or all) of the initial-stage emotional and physical intensity of their diagnosis and active treatment had passed.

Conclusion: There is a clear need for in/fertility services to implement proactive support approaches that engage directly with male patients and acknowledge the complexity of lived experiences when receiving a diagnosis of male-factor infertility.

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