Dr. Nam discusses challenges faced by men with infertility


“In addition to the psychological and emotional burden associated with infertility, it's also been growing in incidence,” says Catherine S. Nam, MD.

In this video, Catherine S. Nam, MD, highlights key points that were discussed in the editorial, “The deafening silence of male infertility,” for which she served as the lead author. Nam is a urology resident at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, MI.

Video Transcript:

One of the main things that we wanted to highlight from multiple angles is the psychological burden of infertility. Especially for male infertility, it's quite hard, because it has significant implications in terms of the social norm of masculinity and the psychological aspects of that. It also has sexual dysfunction, and it also affects the relationship that they have with their partners as well. So, we wanted to highlight that from a professional psychological perspective, as well as from the patient's perspective. [We wanted to highlight] a little bit of what it means to be providing care for male infertility, while also navigating the challenges of fertility yourself when you're a urologist in the sphere. One of the quotes from one of our patients that really resonated with me as I was working on this piece was, "not the standard plan, but our plan". [This is] highlighting all the different ways in which you can get to the same outcome of achieving pregnancy and childbirth, but it takes a lot of twists and turns that patients don't expect a lot of times.

In addition to the psychological and emotional burden associated with infertility, it's also been growing in incidence. I think having the epidemiological background of why this might be happening [and] some of the risk factors that are associated with the decreasing sperm count worldwide over the last few decades is important to understand. This is a trend where it's becoming more and more common, so this is going to be a growing issue for a lot of our patients as well.

I think a main thing that we have to talk about whenever we talk about infertility is access to care. A lot of the insurance coverage does not cover male infertility workup or management in particular. I think there's a lot more advocacy that can be done to make it be more accessible. The financial burden associated with it is also astronomical for a lot of our patients. There's been a lot of advocacy from the ASRM [American Society for Reproductive Medicine] and RESOLVE or other organizations in the sphere, but I think there's a lot of room for growth and opportunity there as well. [For] our underrepresented minorities, both from a racial perspective as well as gender diverse individuals, there's a lot more effort that needs to be taken into place to make sure that the infertility care that we provide is inclusive of all individuals and more accessible to them as well.

This transcription has been edited for clarity

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