Keep Talking

One unusual initiative aims to help men let out their feelings about infertility and fertility treatments. The message is: "Keep Talking."

Men have a great deal of trouble revealing their feelings. The idea of "bucking up" and being "a man" serves to keep explosive feelings inside. But the pain of infertility won't dissipate without confronting the attendant emotions.

For this reason, Steven Sonsino, a businessman who has personal experience with the heartache of infertility helped create a DVD that was recorded live at a conference held on National Infertility day. The DVD is entitled, "The Infertility Rollercoaster – What It Feels Like For A Guy."

Wider Recognition

Sonsino explains that the idea of male emotional pain in relation to infertility is beginning to receive wider recognition and because of this, the organizers of the conference decided to allow video cameras into the conference hall. "Despite the increased awareness of the problems of infertility, men are still emotionally immature when it comes to explaining their needs and wants, even to their partner," said Sonsino.

The chief executive of Infertility Network UK, Clare Brown, says the message to "keep talking" is perfect. Even though counseling and support are made available to couples in fertility treatment, the men still don't want to talk. Even though they must be going through the same anguish as their wives, only 10% of those who call in to the organization's hotline are men.

Male Perspective

Brown says Steve Sonsino's "Keep Talking" message serves an important purpose because the tone is more lighthearted than the messages women receive about the emotional pain of infertility. The approach helps men to accept the idea that they are in pain and by speaking out, they can heal. Sonsino covers all the important topics but perhaps more to the point, tells it from a guy's perspective. This is a unique approach.

A female infertility patient who attended Sonsino's lecture, Nicola Dawson, said she couldn't stop crying and laughing along with the other 500 participants as Steven gave his talk. She found his words an inspiration. Nicola's husband wasn't there for the lecture, but you can bet she bought him a copy of that DVD. "I think it will be incredibly helpful for him to realize that he’s not alone in his feelings. I think Steven’s lecture will have made a huge difference to an awful lot of people," says Dawson.

A male infertility patient, David Lowe, said that he attended the conference because he and his wife have begun IVF treatments and he had found it one of the most difficult things he's ever experienced. "Nevertheless, I found Steven’s talk very moving, entertaining and funny! … His talk really helped us," said Lowe.

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