Husband has severe infertility

posted 2 months ago in Family
Post # 2
Member
462 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: May 2018

These circumstances are always hard because it’s not black and white, so it can be hard to allow yourself to grieve. The loss of an expectation you’ve had, possibly for your entire relationship, is important to mourn. At the same time, it’s not impossible that you could conceive still. Even outside of the marvels of modern medicine, people do sometimes get that diagnosis and then conceive unaided later on. It happened to my cousin after years of IVF.  
The important thing to do is to emotionally prepare. If you’re unable to conceive through IVF, but you still want kids, find an alternative. Adoption, fostering, sperm donation if your husband can get on board with that emotionally. But infertility is a hard road, and you also should prepare for the possibility that at the end of it, you may not even want to have kids anymore. Your husband needs to be reassured though, that no matter how you build your family, he’s the one you want to do it with.

Post # 3
Member
385 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: September 2017 - Rossino Castle

I’ve been on both sides of this.

I’m my first marriage my ex was the factor, or so we thought, as he had an extremely low sperm count, with almost no normal ones.

I was 22 years old and nothing came out from my tests, so we were convinced that was the only problem. 

He took it pretty hard, but was also the kind of person to bury things under the rug instead of facing them, so all the pain kept festering and worsening, while he refused to even have a conversation about it. 

Infertility was not the main reason that ended our marriage, but was the tipping point of him showing his true colors.

Now, I’m the one who’s infertile. I might have been infertile all along, we don’t know yet. Nothing still came out from all the tests, but we did 2 ivf/embryo transfer with no results. In September we are having another and running another bunch of more invasive tests.

I’m about to turn 35 and what has been saving me so far is my husband reaction to all of this. He’s been my rock, my unwavering support and, most importantly, he’s been completely open and candid about what he feels, how he’s facing everything and how he doesn’t blame me at all. 

Openness is a saving grace in this situations. Talk about everything ;your feelings, your fears, your hopes, your planes.

Find a plan b, and a plan c, that works for the both of you. Don’t feel forced to agree to something you are not comfortable with just to please him, and don’t force him to do the same,but  also give yourselves time to reflect on the alternatives and what they would mean to you.

We came to the conclusion that, as a couple, adoption is not for us. Should ivf keep on failing, we will probably travel to Spain to try with a donor eggs.

There is no right or wrong answer to this, you just have to be honest and open with each other and have each others back. 

Good luck and a hug. 

Post # 4
Member
4724 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: September 2012

We have unexplained infertility. When we first started tests, my husband really dragged his feet getting his SA done. He finally broke down and told me he didn’t want to do it because he knew how much I wanted children, he thought I might leave him if it turned out to be male-factor infertility.

He was right about how much I wanted children. However, I want my life with him even more. If I have children, I want to have them with HIM. His numbers were fine, but we’ve got through years of failed fertility treatments. (Currently on my second FET). I’ve known some couples where the stress causes problems, but I can honestly say this experience has brought us even closer together.

You’ll have to think about and talk through options. IVF might work… it might not. Will you resent him if it doesn’t? Is he open to your using donor sperm if needed? Work through your feelings now so you can lean on each other during the fertility treatment. 

Post # 5
Member
291 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: July 2012

My husband and I are going through this now. Last year we found out my husband was sterile. He will never be able to father a child, and it was really hard news to accept. We took several months off from any treatment while we thought through our options and ultimately decided to use a sperm donor to have a child. He was always open to adoption, and I was the one who wanted a biological child, so it made sense for us to go this route. 

One of the biggest issues that we’ve faced is me not wanting to confide in him about how sad I am about our infertility because I don’t want him to feel even more guilty. He has been incredibly involved and has done anything and everything he can from attending every appointment, picking out the donor (I let him have the final say when we got down to three we liked) and being involved with all of the IVF meds and injections to make sure we have the best results. 

I would highly recommend that you hold off on IVF right away. He needs time to process the information and you both need to grieve a bit before diving into treatment. IVF is a marathon and you need to be ready to go through it together as a team. Infertility has the ability to either break or strengthen your marriage and I’d suggest seeing a counselor who speciailizes in infertility just to make sure you’re on the same page before you start treatment. 

Post # 6
Member
3124 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: July 2018

Yes, we are dealing with some male infertility too. It was a surprise because we conceived our toddler son quickly. There’s a FB group called “ttc with male factor infertility” that I’ve found helpful. Good luck! We are doing IVF soon too. It takes a long time to get all the testing and bloodwork and HSG and all that junk done…

Post # 7
Member
303 posts
Helper bee

I think a lot of people deal with infertility, but we are all afraid to talk about it. I haven’t tried to TTC yet, but because of my lack of periods, I got tested for a bunch of things when I was 16. I was told that I was highly likely to be infertile, and it is never bothered me until I got engaged. Don’t fret, Bee. It will be okay. There are still chances, and you married your partner for other reasons, not just his “special juice.” I feel like men don’t communicate their emotions well, in general, which could be another reason he is taking this hard. He isn’t a lesser husband because of this.

Post # 8
Member
1083 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: August 2012

Infertility sucks no matter how you face it. In my case, it’s my PCOs that stop us from conceiving naturally. Oral meds to get our first child. We have a planed embryo transfer for next month to hopefully conceive a second. The best thing you can do is show him how much you care about him and that he is not just a sperm number to you. Whenever I am feeling down about me being the problem, my husband reminds me that he didn’t marry me for my ovaries, and I could never let him down. This is what everyone needs to hear when dealing with infertility. Good luck. 

Post # 9
Member
247 posts
Helper bee

Sorry you’re going through this! My SO was married before and his exwife could not have children, there were some contributing factors on his part but they took a backseat as her factors had to be solved before they could ever move forward. Potentially Too Much Information, sorry, but has lower counts and essentially a faulty valve. So sperm is made but rarely exits. We knew while dating us getting pregnant someday wouldn’t likely be straight forward. Once we really started talking about starting a family it was difficult for awhile. I was sad and very scared about getting pregnant being more complicated than just having sex. He felt bad that he could be holding me back from my dream of having children. Luckily, we were able to conceive naturally but it was a total surprise and after about a year of it not being a possibility. 

Occasionally he’d make comments about being with him was a mistake and I could see it really effected his self esteem. But I don’t think these issues are male or female issues, we just hear more about the female side of it. Infertitily is a bitch. It really sucks that it’s something you both have to go through but one person can feel like it’s their bodies “fault.” You know your guy best but I really tried to remind my boyfriend as much as I would love a family I would still choose him first, every time. I would still want to marry him even if everything failed. We talked about how far we’d each be willing to go as far as treatment, all our feelings about adoption, and what a life without a biological child would mean or not mean to us. When I got overwhelmed or depressed I felt guilty telling him but occasionally would as hiding it seemed to actually be a bigger wedge to keep that a secret. 

I think it’s important to be honest about expectations and fears going forward with infertility treatments. It can become very all consuming too so it’s important to be able to focus on your relationship in other ways as well. I wish you all the best!!!

Post # 10
Member
287 posts
Helper bee

We had male infertility and it took over a year to conceive (naturally, a week before IUI). One thing is that even though it was hubs who was having issues it was never his fault. WE were struggling with infertility not him. People assumed it was me, but it was no one else business what was going on. Sometimes I will admit I would get frustrated but it’s nothing he has control over.

Does he have any sperm? We had motility problems and the fertility doctor working with husband gave him a ton of supplements to try which worked amazingly. 

Post # 11
Member
9525 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper
  • Wedding: October 2013

we dealt with issues from both sides but mostly me, both of my kids are IVF. we didn’t look at it as an him vs her issue, but an us issue. 

Resolve.org is a really great resouce and I loved their message boards when I was going through Infertility

 

a friend of mine who dealt with 100% male factor, recommends this book:

https://www.amazon.com/How-Make-Love-Plastic-Cup-ebook/dp/B003QHZGPS

Post # 12
Member
1966 posts
Buzzing bee

I didn’t experience this but I know a couple that did and I have found their journey to be very encouraging mostly for the way they treated each other and worked together to reach their decisions. Their issue was male infertility, low testosterone and zero sperm count. They were told off the bat that biological children would likely be off the table for him. The couple found a doctor willing to look more deeply into the situation. They gave him a medication to encourage his body to make testosterone and make sperm. After several months his count was still at zero so they went in surgically to see if they could retrieve any sperm cells. It took two tries. The first try turned up nothing and the second try a few months later resulted in four sperm cells. They knew ivf was their only hope, so her eggs had already been harvested. When the docs put the sperm with her eggs only one of the sperm cells was healthy enough to fertilize an egg. They got one embryo. From that embryo they got a daughter. They could have gone through all of that again when they wanted another child, which they definitely wanted, but he felt awful taking the medication and really disliked the whole process. They took some time to think about it. He ultimately decided that he would be ok with using donor sperm for future pregnancies even though that meant they would be his wife’s biologically but not his. They enjoyed the pregnancy experience and his wife really enjoyed breastfeeding. They ultimately had four children, which included a set of twins. He treats them all the same as is very involved in parenting. 

I think it was a difficult decision for them individually first and then to discuss together. They took time after the first pregnancy to let him decide for himself what he was comfortable with.on his part, I think his decision had a lot to do with his wife’s joy and not just his own preferences. Ultimately, with such an emotionally charged situation, it’s critical that a couple be united. Taking a break to think things through or to take a break from thinking about it at all is really necessary for coping.. It’s exhausting.

My husband and I experienced fertility struggles of a different nature. We couldn’t afford fertility treatments and they weren’t covered by insurance at that time, so we just faced it in our own way. I had my own way of facing the uncertainty, which was sometimes NOT facing it because I couldn’t constantly be thinking about it and testing and hoping and hopes dashed. It was too much sometimes. Some of my friends asked if I was doing this that or the other thing. It wasn’t their ride. It was my ride. I dealt with it in my own way. Each person deals with it in their own way, even within a marriage. Check in with each other along the way. Try not to let this overshadow everything in your life and marriage, but I know, easier said than done. Nourish yourself, nourish each other, nourish your marriage. Best of luck.

Post # 13
Member
1061 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: December 1969

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@gimmepretty:  I cannot like this answer enough!

Post # 14
Member
4189 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: April 2016 - Manhattan, NY

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@happyjuju:  I went through this with my husband. Male factor infertility is so much more soul crushing because it just isn’t talked about as much, so men often feel isolated and really take it as a blow to their pride/manhood when they get that kind of diagnosis, especially a severe one. My husbad and I went through a lot over these past 2 years in terms of testing, working with our IVF Center and a urologist, and I sought help in the form of counseling. We are finally pregnant for the first time ever and overcoming the obstacles to get here has just made a stronger foundation to build our family on. I’d be glad to chat more privately if you’d like! 

Post # 15
Member
4051 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: October 2015

In my relationship, I’m the one with the problems. However, the number one thing my husband has always made a big point to say is that it’s not a “me” problem, it’s a “we” problem. I don’t have infertility, WE have infertility. 

But those feelings are hard. I used to cry to my husband and need constant reassurance that I was “enough.” Am I going to be enough for him if I can’t give him children? Will he some day regret staying with someone who may never fulfill one of his biggest dreams? I used to have the same nightmarish concerns as your husband. I would tell my husband that should we ever part ways, he’d be fine. He’s young, attractive, incredibly successful. He’d be married and a father within three years. But I would ask who would want a 30 year old infertile woman? 

We could not afford IVF and other fertility treatments had failed. We were thinking about adoption, but that was also a huge uncertainty and I was terrified of more heartbreak. For a long time, everything just felt bleak. We discussed having children the first week we dated. I knew he was going to be the father of my kids from the jump. The thought that it wouldn’t be a reality was overwhelming. 

I can’t stress this enough, Bee: Your feelings are 100% valid. Disappointment and fear is almost a guarantee in situations like this. But the guilt and failure your husband is likely feeling is also extremely valid. As overwhelmed and disappointed as you feel, remember that he is feeling the same things. Make it a WE problem. Always phrase things like you’re in it together – because you are. My husband never made it feel like it was my fault/problem. He made a point to let me know we were in it together, no matter what. I knew he was terrified and disappointed, but when he voiced it, it was always in a “we/us” sort of way. He never talked about HIS disappointments, but OUR disappointments. 

I would also suggest couple’s therapy. You’ve just been handed a terrible blow. Having someone to assist with sifting through all of the conflicting emotions will be incredibly helpful. Be as supportive as you can. You both WILL get through this. My husband always told me, “No matter what happens, we’re going to be okay. Whether we have a bio kid, adopt, foster, etc. we’re going to be fine” and it used to center me. Our marriage was the most important thing to us. 

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