My Book

‘How is a Man Supposed to be a Man? Male Childlessness – a Life Course Disrupted’

My book, ‘HOW IS A MAN SUPPOSED TO BE A MAN? Male Childlessness – a Life Course Disrupted‘ has been published by Berghahn Books!

The book is available to purchase through all good bookshops and online at Google Books, Amazon and Kindle and to loan from public libraries.

The Foreword, Introduction, most of Chapter 1 ‘Contexts of Childlessness’ and sections of other chapters can be viewed on Google Books Preview.

Follow this link to read a blog based on one of the themes of the book: Myths around Men.

My book has been recently referenced in Lucy Handley’s article for The Guardian, ‘How I found joy in life without children of my own.’


Read the full 5* Amazon reviews here!

Extract from Helena Turbridy’s (RGN RM Fertility+IVF+Miscarriage Coach) Amazon 5* review, ‘ Behind the scenes on a hidden journey…‘: ‘…a book that shines a light on a rarely discussed topic: male childlessness. The author, Hadley, brings a unique blend of personal experience and academic rigour, offering us a comprehensive exploration of a very sensitive subject. As a fertility coach, I appreciate how the book addresses the profound impact of childlessness on men, providing invaluable insights for both healthcare professionals and individuals. It’s a testament to Hadley’s extensive research and deep understanding of the emotional and psychological aspects of involuntary childlessness in men…what is surely a significant contribution to the field of fertility and a much-needed voice for the side-lined male experience of childlessness.’

Extract from David Walker’s 5* review, ‘An excellent book‘: ‘As both a clinical psychologist and a man who cannot have children, I can highly recommend Hadley’s well researched and structured book, on both a personal and professional level…It is essential reading for professionals working in the fertility field and those working with ageing, and for those in contact with men without children. This book makes an important contribution to the literature surrounding involuntary male childlessness and will be an inspiration and comfort to many.’

Mary-Claire Mason, Health Writer, Journalist & Author, “A highly personal book yet also an academic one with all the critical rigour that entails makes this a compelling book. It’s a must read for illuminating men’s experiences of involuntary childlessness for one reason or another e.g. infertility, not meeting the right person. So often they are invisible but Hadley shines the light on them, their stories and investigates the consequences for them as they age at a personal level and also in terms of health and social care provision.” For Mary-Claire Mason’s full review for the Medical Journalists Association follow this link. Mary-Claire Mason wrote the ground-breaking book ‘Male infertility – men talking,’ London, Routledge.

Professor Eleonora Bielawska-Batorowicz, Institute of Psychology, University of Łódź, Poland, “In the literature devoted to reproductive psychology, childlessness does not constitute a topic that is very often discussed. When it is researched, the studies focus mostly on women and their reactions to infertility diagnosis and treatment. The long-lasting consequences of not having a child are analysed with less scrutiny. From that perspective, this book by Robin A. Hadley is very special – it is about childlessness and not only about infertility, it is also about men and their views on childlessness and its effect on their lives.”  For Professor Eleonora Bielawska-Batorowicz’s full review in the  Journal of Reproductive and Infant Psychology (DOI: 10.1080/02646838.2022.2061932) follow this link.

Dr Hannah Marston, The Open University, ‘ I am pleased to share the following book review: How is a man supposed to be a man? Male childlessness a Life Course Disrupted, written by Dr Robin A. Hadley. I hope it inspires you to read the book and also to understand the importance of ageing without children in our inter-and-multidisciplinary fields… In this book Hadley lays bare the complex contexts surrounding aging and male childlessness in a powerfully emotive and academically rigorous manner. The book contains a powerful message to those in academia and policymakers and institutional stakeholders, of the urgent need to acknowledge this structurally excluded population. The book is of interest not only to gerontologists but anthropologists, demographers, embryologists, psychologists, sociologists, practitioners in health and care, counsellors, social workers and students at all levels and the general public.’ Dr Marston posted her review  of my book with the Gerontological Society of America and in the Ageing Issues blog of the British Society of Gerontology.

Dr Rick Bradford,  “Without question, for anyone interested in the experiences of childless men, this is a most valuable source. The dearth of research on the topic is recommendation enough. Based on Hadley’s doctoral study, the central focus of the book is the extensive set of interviews with fourteen childless men in later life. One of the factors which emerges is that such childless men consider themselves outsiders from the world of parents and families.” For Dr Rick Bradford’s full review in the Male Psychology: The Magazine of The Centre for Male Psychology, follow this link.

Professor Steve Robertson, University of Sheffield, “I think this is an excellent piece of scholarship that covers an often unspoken topic in a sensitive, novel and comprehensive way. In this sense, it contributes important new knowledge to an area by considering it from a different viewpoint – most notably moving beyond a simple biomedical view or an experiential view of younger men and infertility.”

Emeritus Professor Josephine Tetley, Manchester Metropolitan University, “This is an important piece of work that addresses areas of masculinity, sexuality, life and an exploration of lived lives through research that have previously been underrepresented in the academic and public press.”

The global trend of declining fertility rates and an increasingly ageing population has serious implications for individuals and institutions alike. Childless men are mostly excluded from ageing, social science and reproduction scholarship and almost completely absent from most national statistics. This unique book examines the lived experiences of a hidden and disenfranchised population: men who wanted to be fathers. It explores the complex intersections that influence childlessness over the life course.

394, 12 illustrations, bibliography and index.

List of Illustrations
Foreword: by Graham Handley
List of Abbreviations
Chapter 1. Contexts of Childlessness
Chapter 2. Ageing and Male Involuntary Childlessness
Chapter 3. Methodology, Method and Analysis
Chapter 4. Pathways to Involuntary Childlessness
Chapter 5. Negotiating Fatherhood
Chapter 6. Relationships and Social Networks
Chapter 7. Ageing Without Children
Appendix 1: Pen Portraits, in Interview Order, and Interviewer Reflections
Appendix 2: Interview Schedule – First Interview Guide
Appendix 3: Interview Schedule – Second Interview Guide