Infertility: An Emotional Roller Coaster

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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:

  • The emotional distress of not falling pregnant each month
  • Individual testing to identify potential problems
  • Choosing an option to help you conceive
  • Baby making sex
  • Financial stress of having a baby the medical way

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.

For Him

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.

Advice for those trying to get pregnant

  1. Relax; it can take time. Women in their mid to late 20's can take up to 4 cycles on average and the numbers get higher with age. Don't freak out around your man, it will only build pressure on him.
  2. Keep baby making fun and not a sperm production line devoid of emotion and sexiness.
  3. If you are not falling pregnant consult your doctor together and discuss whether testing is appropriate.
  4. Talk to your friends who have kids about their experiences and what worked for them and encourage him to do the same.
  5. Keep pressure low. How many times have you heard about couples who tried everything for years and then just gave up and resigned themselves to not having kids. Then they got pregnant? Pressure to have kids would seem to have an impact -- find ways to keep positive and relaxed.
  6. Discuss fertilityIf you are yet to start trying its worthwhile discussing the possibilities of infertility and the steps you would like to take if things don’t go to plan.

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.

Troy Jones: Troy's company produced the Being Dad series and he has traveled the globe interviewing hundreds of new dads and experts. As a result we like to think of him as a "well renowned global guru in all things Being Dad;" sounds impressive anyway. Troy has a beautiful daughter Matilda, who appears in the Being Dad series. Sam Holt: Best known for coming up with a new idea every five minutes it's little wonder that Being Dad was, in fact, his idea. Fortunately, Being Dad was one of Sam's better ideas and with the help of Troy and Tom it has grown way beyond all of their expectations. Sam has a son, Hugo, who is too cute to be his. Tom Hastwell: Lured out of the corporate world by Sam and Troy, Tom has been bitten by the business bug. Troy and Sam are eagerly awaiting news that Toms wife is pregnant so that they can attach a camera crew to him for nine months and actually put him to work. Tom is currently practicing for kids.

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