What is it about?

There is little research exploring the desire for fatherhood. In this study I interviewed 10 men about their wish to become a father. The men had similar experiences to those in, or who have had, infertility treatment. These included a sense of loss, depression, exclusion, isolation, and risk-taking behaviour. Over the life course the men also found ways to adapt and reappraise their beliefs concerning themselves emotionally, psychologically and socially. To help understand this process, gender-role therapy is presented as a possible approach for working with childless men.

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Why is it important?

There is very little work on men's experience of not becoming a father yet there are more childless men than childless women. Not achieving the desired and/or expected parenthood status may lead to economic, emotional, psychological, physical and social issues.


I (Robin Hadley) carried out this research because I am a man who was desperate to be a dad in my mid-30's. I thought I was the only one who felt bad about not being a dad. However, a lot of men feel that way but find it difficult to talk. This article gives insight in to the range of experiences, thoughts and feelings about men and their wish to become fathers. Both Terry Hanley and I hope you find the work interesting and of use in your professional and personal lives.

Dr Robin A Hadley
Manchester Metropolitan University

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: Involuntarily childless men and the desire for fatherhood, Journal of Reproductive and Infant Psychology, February 2011, Taylor & Francis,
DOI: 10.1080/02646838.2010.544294.
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