Infertility is seen as a couple’s problem. A man or a woman maybe able to concevive with another partner. In studies by Stanton ; Dunkel- Schetter, 1991 and Dunkel- Schetter and Lobel 1991 have found that infertility creates levels of distress, adjustment related issues , depression, anxiety and reduced self-esteem among women. Men and women both assume that transition to parenthood is an important part of adulthood and hence a lack of the same is seen as a life crisis. Stanton ; Dunkel- Schetter, 1991.
Fecundity or the ability to produce children has a positive social value. Procreation is socially desirable for religious and family reasons. Children ensure the continuation of the family lineage. In India, childless women are often victims of societal wrath through isolation , impact on a woman’s identity, stigma and threat to a woman’s gender identity. They are isolated from auspicious functions in societies and with set limitations in functions like naming ceremonies or those associated with child birth.
There have a few studies specific to infertility related distress in men. Beaurepaire et al 1994, has reported one study and its findings were that men feel more in control of the situation than women and they were able to follow their own thresholds of emotionality, had lesser self blaming behaviour and felt lesser guilt than women. The engagement strategies used by men were to keep a distance from the problem causing events or scenarios, not letting the diagnosis take control over their lives, and information seeking about what can be done to overcome this and being able to identify solutions to the condition at hand. Another strategy adapted by both men and women were to seek social support, from friends, families or community based support groups. Hence they were able to cope much better with infertility stress.