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Planning for and having a child are life-changing events and should focus families’ attention on health. Many families are unaware that men’s health and lifestyles can affect their chances of becoming a father and the future health of their children.

But, how well does the health system cater for men’s health needs at this time? And what can be done to improve men’s involvement?

The Healthy Male +Paternal Health Project is hoping to answer these questions and many more about men’s health needs and experiences on their journeys to fatherhood.

The +Paternal Health Project will determine how best to engage and support men from before pregnancy (pre-conception) to early fatherhood. It will identify what needs to change to create more ‘father-friendly’ environments and strategies to support ‘father-inclusive’ care — changes that will improve the health of men, children and families from diverse backgrounds and circumstances.

Learnings from the Project will be of interest to all organisations that support family health and will inform the development of new programs, workforce development activities and advocacy for policy change.


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Why is the +Paternal Health Project needed?

How can you be involved?

Project development

Want more information?



Why is the +Paternal Health Project needed?

We know that the health of fathers can influence the health of their children. We also know that the transition to fatherhood can be a time of stress that can lead to postnatal depression in men, with up to 1 in 10 men experiencing this. However, for a range of reasons, addressing men’s health needs as they become fathers is often overlooked.  

The reproductive health system includes health support from pre-conception through pregnancy and into the post-natal period.

Although the system focusses on mothers and babies, it provides many opportunities to engage men and support their health needs and their transition to fatherhood. This includes discussions with men about:

  • Fertility
  • Sexual and reproductive health
  • Risk factors that could impact on the health of their children
  • Postnatal depression
  • Miscarriage or the loss of a child
  • The information, supports and services that they could access.


How can you be involved?

Healthy Male is conducting two national surveys.

Men’s lived-experience survey

This survey is for men who have fathered or tried to father a child in the last five years. The questions will ask about men’s experiences of the health system, whether their health needs were discussed and/or addressed and whether they felt supported on their journeys to fatherhood.  

Please note: The survey will open on 20th January 2020.

Health professional survey

This survey is for health professionals from general practice, fertility support, midwifery, obstetrics and gynaecology services. The questions will explore current practice, systems and processes for engaging men and the barriers and enablers to creating a truly father-inclusive health system.

Please note: The survey will open on 20th January 2020.

We’d love to hear your opinions and for you to share the surveys with your friends, family and/or colleagues.


Project development

Developed with alignment to the National Men’s Health Strategy 2020-2030, the + Paternal Health Project aims to improve the health of men and their children by influencing changes to the health system to better-support the engagement of fathers and potential fathers

During the first stage of the Project we will examine the current situation across Australia in relation to men’s involvement with the reproductive health system.

We’ll be talking to a wide range of stakeholders, reviewing the published literature and conducting surveys of men and health professionals.

Our findings will be shared at a national Round Table Event to be held in Canberra in 2020, where we will identify opportunities and priorities for future work. Outcomes will be documented in a Case for Change Report.

In stage two, Healthy Male will start to address the recommendations arising from stage one by developing and testing new ideas that have emerged from the process.

We acknowledge that there are a wide range of organisations with expertise in related areas and are keen to work with others to increase the focus on men nationally. Opportunities may arise through health promotion, education, primary health, fertility support, post-natal support, general health and well-being, workplace policy development and implementation and/or the mental health system.


Want more information?

For more information about the +Paternal Health Project please get in touch via our Contact us page.