Getting the Low Down on Men’s Fertility
A new men’s only webinar from IVFAustralia is providing an open, online forum for men to ask questions about male fertility. The Low Down, as it’s known, is run monthly by a team of fertility specialists who try to shed some light on an issue that is rarely discussed.
Dr Shadi Khashaba from
IVFAustralia says that men often don’t realise that they could be playing a part in infertility issues.
“Women always think about it and follow up because they’re thinking about pregnancy, but men don’t think about it as much,” Dr Khashaba told The Beast.
However, a 2019 report from the Australian Royal College of General Practitioners reports that 15-20 per cent of couples will experience infertility, and 50 per cent of those cases will have a male factor present. That means that half of all infertility issues come from men.
The webinar began in September 2020 and provides a space for men to hear from fertility experts from the comfort of their own homes.
“It’s very unstructured, with three fertility experts,” Dr Khashaba explained. “We run it as a chat and discuss a few issues, and the public can ask questions that we try to answer.”
Participants may be surprised to find that the webinar does not go straight to IVF as the solution to infertility issues.
Dr Khashaba told The Beast he believes that a journey with fertility is not just about trying IVF straight away but having a more holistic approach.
He explained how many patients don’t realise that their fertility is linked to their physical health, mental health, sexual health and even stress levels.
“I always tell the couple that healthy parents have healthier children. The healthier you are, the more likely you are to conceive,” he said.
“In a lot of circumstances, a holistic response helps dramatically. It’s not just IVF, its cycle tracking, assessing bad habits like binge drinking over the weekend, and thinking about supplements like essential vitamins and minerals.”
Many men might also not realise how their day-to-day habits are affecting their fertility health, another area that The Low Down webinars hope to address. When there is little cultural discussion over these issues, it can be difficult to access knowledge. However, Dr Khashaba believes that the new webinars show that the cultural landscape is changing.
“Within the culture itself, it’s changing in Australia. Men are more willing to talk about their fertility and their mental health,” Dr Khashaba said.
“We need it more in the media, and then when you hear about it a lot, they start to think about it, and then they can discuss it.”
The webinar has proved incredibly popular in its first months, with registrations doubling after the first one.
Fertility can be a sensitive topic for some couples, but Dr Khashaba emphasized that any men or couples worried about their fertility can get in touch with their GP or a fertility specialist to discuss their options.
The next Low Down webinar will be held on Thursday, February 11 at 7pm. To find out more, please visit www.ivf.com.au/mens-only-webinar-the-low-down-series.