Tuesday, October 22, 2013

sperm talk

There was an interesting article in The Atlantic yesterday about male infertility. I always love when publications highlight male infertility, because I think it's such an understated topic among experts in the field. This piece highlights some of the changes that we need to see when it comes to discussing male infertility and its stigmas.

We suffered from both male and female infertility, but I did find that the doctors had a tendency to focus on my "issues" rather than my husband's. None of our doctors made recommendations on how we might be able to change the outcomes of Joey's tests. In fact, any changes we made -- diet, supplements, etc. -- were a result of our own research: Dr. Google. We were willing to try nearly anything, yet the doctors never offered options. Perhaps it was because they thought I had the bigger "issues." Or maybe it was because they didn't know what to recommend.

I thought this part, in particular, rang true:

"Male infertility may need a high profile advocate and a public health campaign, Barnes says. After all, erectile dysfunction had Bob Dole. Testicular cancer had Lance Armstrong. But male fertility lacks a celebrity to raise awareness that infertility is a 'normal' medical condition that 'manly men' deal with too."

To me, it was/is just as frustrating to hear about male celebrities in their 60s and 70s who are getting their partners pregnant as it was/is hearing about women who are in their 40s getting pregnant. And yes, there are several high-profile male celebrities who have spoken out about infertility (Hugh Jackman, Jimmy Fallon, Bill Rancic). Their emotional perspective is starting to shed some light on how our partners cope with this disease. But it's still "taboo" to talk about the biological aspects. You don't hear men talking about their lack of sperm or other potential barriers to conception.

I'm curious to hear from some of you who've battled with male infertility (either you personally or your partner, since I realize I have far more female readers than male) and get your thoughts on this article. Do you think there should be more awareness drawn toward male infertility? Did you feel your doctor or clinic was equipped to handle you or your partner's infertility?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hi. We deal with male IF. when we first heard it was male, we also searched google and grid diets & natural remedies. The doctor didn't offer anything but more tests. Eventually these tests & a visit to the geneticist confirmed it was a genetic problem. He has CAVD due to being a carrier for CF. Nothing can help that.

What I don't like is the assumption that Ivf someone is dealing with IF, it's assumed it's the female. And if it's the male, we can't talk about it b/c it may emasculate him. I tried telling a friend that he couldn't "do his business" & never could, he started laughing and said " poor guy. He must be frustrated" I was hurt. This isn't funny. It's not about a guy getting his pleasure, it's more Han that. Even in Hollywood, men may speak of IF struggles, but few say " it's me; I can't get her pregnant". I wish it wasn't such a stigma.