by Sam Holt
Infertility can cause a great deal of emotional distress for both men and women. From a man's perspective it can be incredibly difficult to watch your wife go from a normal person to a baby obsessed conception machine.
The issues around infertility are many and varied including:
We've written previously about ways to make baby making more fun and successful in the article – Getting Him into Baby Making. In this article I will look at testing for infertility.
Tell him not to think of the test as a test of his manliness but a simple sperm donation. Having a fertility test is very worthwhile and can detect potential problems with fertility that may save you both years of heartache. Explain to him that it will expedite the process and make you much happier.
The actual test itself is a breeze and nothing for him to worry about. He may even be able to collect the sample at home. If not, he’ll be given his own room, a selection of "viewing material" and as much time as he needs to produce the goods. Sure it can be a tad embarrassing when he hands over the clear plastic cup full of mini-him's but you'll get over it and will probably have a good laugh about it with his buddies.
Getting the results back can be a tougher proposition, well at least dealing with the outcome can be. It's all about morphology (the shape and size of the sperm) and mobility (how good they are at swimming).
No one really knows why but the quality of men's sperm has apparently declined over the last few decades -- I blame mobile phones -- so more and more of us are being told that our sperm are no Michael Phelps. It's a bit of a dent to your self pride when you’re told you are not producing perfectly good swimmers so you'll need to be understanding with him. as I'm sure you would expect of him if the tables were turned.
Fortunately, medical breakthroughs can do wonders with most men who aren't blessed with great swimmers. Artificial insemination, fertility drugs and IVF are all options to ensure they his legacy will continue in generations to come. Make him aware of the options, talk through the pros and cons of each and make a joint decision on how to best move forward.
The toughest part of infertility for most men is knowing how to handle their partners despair at not being pregnant. It would seem that many women, once they decide they want to get pregnant, want the baby yesterday. It can become an all encompassing obsession that can be difficult to grasp as a man but I'm prepared to put it down to hormones.
This whole pregnancy , birth and parenting caper is about communication, support and understanding. Infertility, like miscarriage, is somewhat of a conspiracy of silence and the process can become very unpleasant and emotionally stressful.