Background: As pregnancy and childbirth have long been considered women's issues and male infertility has long been surrounded by taboo, limited research has focused on the experience of infertile men. The purpose of this study was to compare male motives for parenthood, male well-being and disclosure patterns concerning the method of conception among men from couples starting treatment with IUI using their own sperm (autologous sperm recipient, ASR) or donor sperm (donor sperm recipient, DSR).
Methods: This prospective study included 46 DSR- and 151 ASR-couples. Self-report questionnaires assessing parenthood motives, well-being and disclosure patterns concerning the method of conception were administered to both men and women prior to treatment. Unpaired T-tests and Fisher's exact tests were used to test for significant differences.
Results: When compared with ASR-men, DSR-men expect more positive effects from parenthood on relationships and feelings of fulfilment, and report less negative effects of infertility on sexuality, but a lower self-image and more guilt. DSR-men plan to disclose the method of conception less frequently and have so far disclosed to a lesser degree than ASR-men.
Conclusions: DSR-men feel differently about parenthood and infertility compared with ASR-men, and their higher expectations combined with lower self-esteem need (more) attention during counselling.