Fertility Friday: Male Factor

One of the most under talked about sides of infertility is Male Factor infertility. Which can range anywhere from low motility & numbers all the way up to azoospermia. I figure this is largely due to the fact that most guys, just typically aren't big talkers.

I remember after we had been trying for just over 2 years, I broke down in tears because there was yet another pregnancy announcement within a week of another friends. I kept asking myself and my husband 'what's wrong with me?'; what did I do wrong to deserve this?' Answer to both of those questions, by the way, is nothing. I did nothing wrong. Yes, I have a medical condition that makes it harder but over the last six and a half years I've largely come to terms with it.

I imagine when guys find out they have male factor infertility they often feel the way I did on that night. However, wanting to be the strong, silent, supporting, wonderful husbands they are, they keep it to themselves. I do know that some guys do struggle with this. I've listened to podcasts, and read through forums where guys will ask the same question I asked myself 4 years ago.

The Resolve Network, which I highly recommend to anyone who is struggling with fertility issues, says this about Male Factor 'Of course, the impact of an infertility diagnosis on men can be great, especially if they have long held ideas about becoming a parent. The same issues that confront women are present for men, and both sexes cope with having taken parenthood for granted. The failure of their procreative body functions is often devastating for men, especially since they are so closely linked with sexuality. Men may consider it an assault on their masculinity if they are the cause for the failure to conceive.'

Men are seen as the strong type, the ones who hold it together, but it can be just as devastating for them as it can be for the women.

There are a few blogs I follow that are direct from men who struggle with male factor, one blog is called Almost a Father, it's one man's journey through male factor to the birth of their daughter through IVF with a sperm donor.  Recently during National Infertility Week he wrote about such feelings, and how years later, it still affects him.

"I still flinch when I meet someone new at school who asks ‘you just have the one?’ as if we had the luxury of being able to choose how many kids we would have.   The question ranks up there with ‘why don’t you just adopt’ that we heard during the journey.
I know I’m a guy and I shouldn’t have all these feelings of infertility angst.  I didn’t birth our child, didn’t have my nether regions violated on a weekly basis with ultra sound wands, shots of various sorts and egg sucking paraphenelia. I just provided a sample.
But I also provided my heart and soul to my wife during the process, and I had to deal with the reality that at the end of the day, it wasn’t about just us anymore."

Another blog I follow pretty regularly is 'A Few Pieces Missing from Normalcy'   who writes through his feelings, challenges, and thoughts while living childless due to azoospermia. It's a raw, moving, and gritty blog, and has me coming back to read every time there's a post.

If you are struggling with male factor, you can call a RESOLVE volunteer whose partner has male factor infertility, please call the RESOLVE HelpLine at 866.NOT.ALONE (866.668.2566) and press extension 5

All I can say is, continue to be there for each other. Continue to be open and real. It's hard. Trust me. We've had those gut wrenching raw conversations about what it might be like to live without kids, but we also know what we want to fight for and just how far we're willing to go. Only you can know that as a couple though. Don't let the world tell you what to do. First seek God, then trust that he is leading you in the direction he wants. No world approval necessary.



Blessings,
A

P.s. This also happened to me this week....I'd like to thank the local hospital for sending out age appropriate marketing that reminds me that my eggs are aging as fast as I can eat a box of cookies. #notpregnant #hilariouslyinfertile
The only thing I'll be giving birth to in the next 9 months is a food baby.

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