Q: We’ve been trying to get pregnant for about six months without any success. I went through some preliminary fertility tests and they all came back without finding any issues. Now my doctor wants my husband to come in and get tested. How do I ask him to be tested for potential male fertility problems? I feel that he might get embarrassed or feel insulted, that it’s an attack on his manlihood.
A: Your husband clearly has a very considerate and loving wife, and for these reasons he will most likely respond well to you. But there are a few pointers to consider before broaching difficult subjects with your partner. First, find a good time to have this conversation that is void of distractions and other stressors. Then, it’s always good to introduce a difficult topic by using an empathetic statement such as, “There isn’t an easy way to communicate this with you….” Third, saturate the conversation with love and appreciation for all the effort your husband is making in the process. Finally, tell your husband what is needed from him. Men are typically fixers, so have next steps ready to communicate. Also, non-verbal actions and body language often communicates louder than words. If he’s quiet, be quiet with him. If he needs a hug, have open arms. He will resolve this news in his own way. Your delivery, both verbal and non-verbal, love and continued respect is the best of what you can offer him.