The basic union of life-creation, the joining of the dragon and the phoenix, of yin and yang – it’s obvious that egg and sperm have equal importance in conception. It’s likely you spent years avoiding pregnancy. Then in a solid relationship, at a time of hope for the future of the family, trouble conceiving can be a massive shock to your identity, and distressing for everyone.
When conception doesn’t happen or hold it’s likely that both egg and sperm are implicated. Recent studies point to a drop in sperm counts and parameters of sperm health over the last 50 years, yet women get nearly all the attention, tests, treatments, drugs and procedures. Even during IVF consults the planning and information seems to be directed at the women, with men sidelined. This can be really difficult and alienating for the future dad.
Following on from Petra’s talk on great ways to invigorate and protect sperm(https://youtu.be/V1t0_1QCHAQ) here is an article describing the journey to conceive from the perspective of men undergoing fertility treatment in the UK:
The men interviewed here talk honestly about the impact on them.
We never use the word ‘failure’ in clinic because it’s just not the case - there is nearly always the potential for improvement with treatment and lifestyle change. And those conditions that are less likely to change - for example blocked tubes, some varicoceles, genetics - deserve proper medical attention from male reproductive specialists. It’s not failure. These cards you have been dealt, they can be intensely tricky to play.
Many men we see in clinic describe the pressure of staying strong for their partner, and the lack of other men in the same boat to open up to. While there is a plethora of online chat groups for supporting women trying to conceive, there’s not much for men. This one might be an option: https://www.facebook.com/groups/mensfertilitysupport/
Often men realise down the track that friends or workmates have been going through the same thing. By opening up a bit you could be supporting someone else while getting a bit of fresh air into your issues, and realising it’s not just you. It’s (sadly) pretty normal, but definitely hopeful. Offload a bit, and give it your best shot.