A husband’s fertility journey


There was an interesting Q&A article in The New York Times, where a female writer who is currently undergoing IVF treatment posed a series of questions to her husband.

The questions addressed such issues as seeking a male perspective on fertility issues, how their fertility journey has changed their relationship, and how men and women may handle fertility issues differently.

These are feelings and emotions that we know are shared by many couples undergoing IVF or other fertility treatments, and so we thought we’d share the article here.

Remember that pre-Conceive can assist both men and women in improving their key fertility parameters, either independently of IVF or other Assisted Reproduction Technologies, or in conjunction with them.

If you are facing those issues yourself, read more about What is Pre-Conceive, How pre-Conceive Works for Men, How pre-Conceive Works for Women, or other sections of your choice of this site.

The New York Times article now follows:

A Husband’s Fertility Journey

By Amy Klein

After asking about how I’m doing with I.V.F., my friends and family always want to know, how is Solomon handling this? Although my husband considers himself a private person, he agreed to answer some questions.

We got married when I’d just turned 41 — were you worried about having problems getting pregnant?

We met when you were 39, and I really liked you so it wasn’t a consideration. I was already married once and my wife was much younger and had fertility issues unrelated to age (she has kids with her new husband). I honestly thought we would be fine – and we did get pregnant twice, right away. Besides, plenty of older women have babies … you just don’t hear about them.

How do you think the fertility issues have affected/changed our relationship?

In some ways it has became the centerpiece of our relationship. It tells us when we have to be where, when we can or can’t make plans. We even plan ahead for possible disappointments (like a failed intrauterine insemination), and make sure not to schedule social events on those days.

Do you think anything good has come out of this?

This has become the biggest thing we’re doing together: We didn’t buy a house or any major assets, or even finish our wedding album! We’ve invested a lot of time and money on this. Overall, it has brought us together. It’s exposed issues that we have learned how to deal with.

What have you learned about me in this process?

I learned  how to deal with your hormonal swings, I know that you need space much more. But you’ve managed to keep your eyes on the prize and educate yourself very fast to the point that you’ve become an authority. And most of all, you did maintain your sanity. You’re pretty even-keeled, for a woman. I’m joking.

Did you ever think, “Why is this happening?”

Of course I did. It was barely after our honeymoon and we were dealing with infertility. In the beginning, I had the ugly thought, ‘What have I gotten into?’ — but that’s what separates the man from the boy. And of course I didn’t make a mistake marrying you. I’m happy I married you, with or without this.

Do you have any regrets?

I think about how we talked about getting pregnant soon after we met (before you turned 40), but we wanted to know first if we’d want to commit to being together forever before bringing a child into the world. I often think about how we might have a child or two now.

If you’re one of those people who married young and had kids early, more power to you, but there is a reason we got together when we got together. We were both late bloomers.

What’s the hardest part for you?

When you called me to tell me there was no heartbeat [at the nine-week miscarriage] …. that was my kid! I was devastated. The next time I was more prepared.

Sometimes I feel despair because there’s nothing I can do to fix this. I have my bad days but I tend not to share them with you. I know that you go through a lot of bad stuff yourself. I usually process my stuff myself. That’s just the way I am.

What would you tell men going through infertility and in-vitro fertilization?

You’re dealing with probabilities here, so don’t look for immediate success. It’s a process. You have to be very patient, to expect failure as part of it. You really have to allocate time for this. You have to be extremely open to listen to your partner’s feelings, whatever they are, even if it’s not always positive. I was taken aback at you getting upset about your friend getting pregnant. But I thought about where you were coming from and tried not to fault you for it.

How do you keep a marriage strong through all this?

You have to make sure that the relationship is not only about making babies. We have a full life outside of conceiving: We have our jobs, we have our friends, our art, our families. We’re not obsessed by it.

Also, you have to enjoy the other person. And never assign fault through any of this.

What have you learned about being so public about the process?

For the most part, people are extremely supportive and appreciative of our frankness. Then there are those with agendas — they say don’t have kids, do have kids, try Eastern medicine, go to counseling, adopt. We have to stay true to ourselves and our process.

We are not the poster children for how to deal with anything – whether it’s I.V.F. or finances or marriage. We’re just another couple who makes mistakes like everyone else. We have our faults but we try to do the best we can.

The only difference between us and everyone else is that we’ve agreed to expose the stuff others keep private. And we don’t have the benefit of hindsight. People who after 10 attempts of I.V.F. turn to donor eggs or adoption and now seem angry that we don’t take their advice – yet they didn’t take other people’s advice when they were going through it.

I just want people to remember we are a real couple trying to have a real baby.

See the original piece here