Advocate. Inform. Empower

A Man’s point of view on Male Factor

By DW

When I first found out that, the reason that my wife and I weren’t conceiving, was due to me and my lack of quality sperm, it was definitely a blow. Not to my fragile male ego, or anything ridiculous like that, but more to my self-esteem. I had never smoked, or taken drugs and I didn’t drink nearly as much as youngsters do these days, so what on earth could the reason behind this possibly be? I also felt incredibly sad that I wouldn’t be able to give my wife what she dreamed of having, the natural way, that the only way we could achieve this dream would be with a barrage of tests and invasive infertility procedures. We were given less than 1% chance of conceiving naturally and so I wanted to smack the people who, for the past 6 years, have insisted on telling us to “relax and it will happen”.

My wife and I did argue a bit after the diagnoses, I was so sure that she must blame me and she got quite frustrated insisting that she didn’t and they turned into quibbles, but nothing major. I queried my Mum regarding my childhood (one conversation you really don’t want to be having with your Mum… “hey Mum, why are my swimmers rubbish??”) and there was nothing untoward that she could remember, no mumps, no football accidents, nothing that sprang to mind.

Each fertility specialist we saw gave me worse and worse news, just compounding the fact that this was all my fault. Our current specialist was so sure that my sperm had chromosomal abnormalitiesm that we spent a long 3 weeks seeing if, in fact, we would be able to use my sperm to conceive with. The tests thankfully came back negative for any abnormalities. This year I eventually went to a Urologist, just to try and get some answers. Previous fertility specialists had said that it wouldn’t change the outcome, so there is no point, but my wife insisted, in case it was something serious. It turns out I have a varicole on one of my testicles, but nothing that should make such a dramatic impact on my sperm quality, so I left with one kind of answer and a few more questions!

I am not going to go into details about our cycles, but I just wanted to rather touch on the feelings that I experience when I see herself put her body through the rigorous process that each IVF entails, especially our 3rd one which we have just been through, as it was a ZIFT, which is the most invasive of all fertility treatments. It broke my heart constantly, watching my wife inject herself during her cycle knowing that, if it wasn’t for me, she wouldn’t have to. We are currently in our 2WW and still praying that it is at last our time to be parents. ZIFT is suggested to either older patients, or patients with Male Factor infertility and so we truly hope that it will work for us. We also decided to use Donor Sperm with my own, just to try all we could to result in a pregnancy.

I initially struggled with the idea of Donor Sperm, flatly refusing to even consider it, as we were going through all this to have OUR baby and I worried that, if we used Donor Sperm, I would not feel part of the pregnancy, nor would I feel like the father of the baby. I came round to the idea when I realised that, by not considering the use of the Donor Sperm, I would potentially be denying my wife every woman’s natural right, to be pregnant and to have a baby. Also, we are currently on the waiting list to Adopt a baby and so I came round to the fact that conceiving a baby with Donor Sperm and yet bringing it up as my own, would amount to the same thing as bringing up an adopted child, with the additional bonus of being there from conception to birth and that is a bond that nobody can undo! Due to the fact that both my zygotes and the zygotes created by the Donor Sperm were transferred back, does mean that, chances are, we won’t necessarily know which sperm is the one that results in our much longed for baby.

The one and only positive thing to come out of this journey, is that it has strengthened our relationship immensely and those folk that constantly say “you’re happy now? Wait till you have kids, then you will know strain on your relationship” really have no idea what they are talking about. You want strain? Try 6 years of infertility, it either makes you or breaks you and I am proud to be able to say that it truly has made us invincible.

Leave a comment

Get the IFAASA newsletter.