Supporting Men With Male Infertility and Associated Masculinities: A Review of the Literature
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This scholarly document examines the research literature concerning the forms of support for infertility that men desire and value, how men manage their masculinity concerns associated with male infertility, and what online and offline forms of psychosocial interventions are available and effective. In this document, I present a summary of the type of support that men with infertility seek and receive (e.g., informational, instrumental, appraisal (shared experience), and emotional). I also highlight important themes about how men manage their masculinities through medicalization and use of scientific rhetoric, active involvement and lifestyle change, and the use of relatable humour and language. In light of these insights, I identify if and how men are accommodated or not, by the online and offline forms of psychosocial support in which men with infertility are engaging. I recognize implications to the field of counselling psychology and for male and female counsellors practicing infertility counselling, such as masculine-informed protocols, interventions, and ways of engaging male clients. I also identify key areas for future research, including increasing the representation of men in infertility research, developing male-sensitive/gender-informed evidence-based interventions, using gender-focused standardized measures, and measuring outcomes relevant to male infertility distress and masculinity. Finally, I suggest that future research would further our understanding of how masculinity and infertility are connected, how infertility impacts men over the longer term, and how men reconstruct their masculine sense of self in light of an identity disruption.