It’s a real and painful issue for thousands of western men so why, wonders Andrew Anthony, is so little being done – or said – about it?
It’s like a judgment on your masculinity,” says Glenn Barden. “You do feel like less of a man.” Barden, a 48-year-old TV director from London, is talking about an issue that is little discussed in public or the media, but which affects a growing percentage of the population: male infertility. He spent most of his 30s trying to have a child, and the failure to do so left him depressed, he says, sometimes in tears, and “hiding under the duvet”.
In his case, his sperm count – the main marker of male fertility – was not even deemed problematic. But he avoided alcohol, stopped smoking dope, wore loose underpants, and followed the approved advice to maximise sperm production, all to no avail – no specific issue was diagnosed and yet his wife did not get pregnant. He felt as if he was falling short of what was required of him as a man. And that failure made him paranoid, frustrated, envious and angry.
I would walk past children playing in the park and I’d feel my heart breaking into tiny pieces
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