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Men Supporting Men: Infertility Peer Groups at RESOLVE

It’s well-known that infertility affects many individuals and couples around the world – but it’s still a topic that remains shrouded in silence – especially among men.

For Men’s Health Month, Johannes Soulages and Nathan Silva, two dedicated hosts of RESOLVE’s Peer-led Support Groups (PLSGs), helped provide some much-needed insight into why talking about male infertility is so important.

Soulages initially became involved with a RESOLVE PLSG when he and his partner were doing their own IVF cycle. He recognized that there was no support for men, and his goal was to help break the male infertility stigma. On the other hand, Silva saw RESOLVE’s call for volunteers on social media for the Men’s Virtual Support Group and mentioned, “Having gone through male factor infertility, I thought it would be a good opportunity.

Many RESOLVE support groups meet virtually via Zoom. These virtual meetings provide a private space for men to connect and share their experiences in a way that’s still convenient for them. The structure might be different from one group to another, but the goal remains the same: providing a safe environment for open discussion.

RESOLVE’s support group, designed exclusively for men, offers an instant connection because, according to Silva, “we all understand each other’s experiences.”

Infertility is incredibly personal and difficult to talk about, but there’s tons to talk about. Soulages mentioned, “We talk about everything from collection and injections to baby showers, IVF cycles, semen analysis, and sharing with other men.

Unfortunately, there’s a lot of stigma surrounding male infertility. According to Soulages, many still equate sexual performance with fertility. Men aren’t used to being vulnerable with other guys. However, during support group sessions, participants have the opportunity to be as open as they wish. Silva said, “Every month, themes like mixed emotions when loved ones announce pregnancies, decisions regarding donor or surrogacy, and supporting partners come up.”

Being part of a RESOLVE support group has positively impacted Soulages and Silva. Soulages specifically indicated that talking during group sessions has proven incredibly therapeutic. Alternatively, Silva said:

I didn’t realize how therapeutic hosting would be for me. Listening to others and discussing this topic has helped me process my own feelings and understanding of what I went through. I’m thankful for the men who join and share their stories, perspectives, heartaches, and triumphs.

We asked Soulages and Silva what they wished other men knew about RESOLVE PLSGs. Soulages wants men to know that not all support groups are created equal. It’s not what you might imagine – a gathering of men sitting together in a circle, taking turns talking. It’s much more dynamic than that, and there are lots of different formats that fit different people’s needs.

Silva indicated that more people should know about support groups in general as an important resource for dealing with infertility. Many people provide positive feedback regarding their experiences, and support groups are an incredible way for people to navigate the challenges of their infertility journey.

Infertility can be a lonely and isolating experience, particularly for men. RESOLVE Peer-led Support Group hosts like Johannes Soulages and Nathan Silvia are working hard to change that. These groups provide a safe and supportive environment to men who are struggling, often in silence, with infertility. Joining a support group can help men share their experiences and break the stigma often accompanying male infertility.

Learn more about their support groups and others here: