How to support your male partner with infertility

5 min
Updated Nov 29th, 2023

Table of contents

If your partner has been diagnosed with male infertility, they’ll need your support. His reaction to the news very much depends on the individual, but common feelings are anger, sadness or shame — perhaps feeling they have let you down. Unfortunately, much of the information about infertility is aimed towards women. And men don’t tend to have the same support networks within society that women have access to. This makes it all the more necessary for you to be able to provide support as and when needed. 

We’ll provide some ways in which you can support your partner here, but remember — there’s no one-size-fits-all because everyone is different. You know your partner best, so pick and choose from the ideas below. 

What is male infertility?

Firstly, we’ll quickly run through what male infertility is. It helps to know exactly what you’re facing as a couple, and it can also provide hope in knowing what treatment options are available, depending on the cause.

Male infertility means a man is not able to start a pregnancy with his female partner. There are various causes, such as poor quality sperm or not making enough sperm, a blockage in the genital tract or a genetic problem. To find out what the problem is, a doctor will arrange a semen sample to be analysed. Depending on what issues are discovered through the semen analysis, male infertility can be treated with lifestyle changes, medications, supplements and/or fertility treatments.

How to support your male partner with infertility

How common is male infertility? It’s comforting to know that it’s more common than you think. And that’s a good starting point. You can read and share our success stories about real-life couples just like you. You are in this together, and you aren’t alone. Let’s take a look at the proactive things you can do immediately.

Communicate openly

Many men are not used to talking about their feelings and are not likely to  talk about their infertility. They might not feel able to talk about trying for a baby with their friends like women are more prone to do. This can lead to feelings being bottled up, which can add to stress. This also makes your communication as a couple more important as you might be the only person in the world to whom your partner can truly express their emotions to. But talking about it can be hard — and painful. 

To make things easier, prepare some gentle, general questions such as: “How are you feeling about this?”. Acknowledge and validate his pain if he expresses it, rather than trying to immediately make amends and fix it. Also, repeat back statements he says to act as a sounding board and to demonstrate that you are listening. Most of all, he’ll probably just want you to listen. 

Educate yourself about male infertility

When a friend or loved one is diagnosed with a medical condition, one of the best ways in which you can show you care is to research and learn about their condition. The bonus with educating yourself about male infertility is that you are a team when it comes to trying for a baby — so it will benefit you too. 

Male infertility comes with a whole lot of unfamiliar words which you need to get your head around to give yourself the best possible chance of conceiving. The difference between oligospermia, azoospermia, sperm motility or sperm morphology… It helps to know the science behind it all so that you can know how to help optimise your fertility health as a couple. 

Be patient and understanding

The stress that infertility can place on you as a couple can mean that your reactions to things might be emotionally charged on either side. For instance, being short-tempered or snappy. You can say things in the moment which you don’t mean and will regret. Be patient and make allowances for innate reactions. Think before you speak by taking a deep breath. Walk away if you need a break. Communicate to your partner that you may say the wrong things now and in the future but that you care deeply. And set some goals together — a plan of action can help to motivate and encourage you. Remember that infertility is a process, don’t force any deadlines.

Encourage a healthy lifestyle together

Adopting a healthy lifestyle together is essential: it takes two to conceive, and you want both your bodies to be ready. But it’s also really encouraging to have company, motivation and support when making changes. If your partner has been advised to cut alcohol out, join him in swapping to alcoholic-free alternatives. Exercise together. Explore foods to include in a male fertility diet and include them in meals you make together so that you encourage a fun, varied and beneficial diet. Finally, take one fertility supplement together (Impryl contains the micronutrients needed for healthy sperm and egg, so you can make it part of your routine together).

Attend medical appointments together

It makes sense to attend medical appointments together. Sometimes the treatment will be together, and sometimes you’ll need to make a decision together. Many of the appointments will be hard-going physically and emotionally, so it helps to decompress afterwards with a meal out, a weekend away or a relaxing walk. 

The key to supporting your male partner with infertility is that it isn’t one-sided — you can support each other. As well as supporting your partner through his diagnosis, he will feel empowered to know that he can still support you too. Your strength will come from leaning on each other and taking action to give yourselves the best possible chance of conceiving. 


De Jonge, Christopher J  et al. Male Attitudes towards Infertility: Results from a Global Questionnaire. World J Mens Health. 2023 Jan;41(1):204-214. doi: 10.5534/wjmh.220099. Epub 2022 Aug 16.

Fisher, Jane RW and Hammarberg, Karin. Psychological and social aspects of infertility in men: an overview of the evidence and implications for psychologically informed clinical care and future research. Asian J Androl. 2012 Jan; 14(1): 121–129.

Maierhaba Abulizi et al. Dual mediating effects of social support and fertility stress on mindfulness and fertility quality of life in infertile men: A case-control study. Front. Psychol, 13 March 2023. Sec. Personality and Social Psychology. Volume 14 – 2023

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