Tuesday, February 24, 2009

The Male Factor

real conversation from our house...

Me: If you died would you want me to make a baby with your frozen sperm?

Hubby: No, I'd want you to go find a new guy and have a baby. You know if you had a different guy you'd be pregnant right away. My bad sperm is the problem.

Me: Not neccessarily. I cheat on you alot and I haven't gotten pregnant yet.

Hubby: I'm going to remember this for the Maury show when you get pregnant.

So, today I'm going to post about the elephant in the room that appears when I talk with my friends about our infertility. In all of our testing the only thing we can identify as a problem is my husband's sperm. How do I feel about that?

1. I do not feel as though my husband is less of a man for having poor sperm. My husband is six foot four, played football in high school, and broke his hand in a drunken fight in college. He is a guy's guy. Even if he wasn't a guy's guy, I wouldn't think of him as less of a man. I won't be less of a woman when I go through menopause.

2. I do not blame him for our infertility problems. Even though we haven't had any bad testing on me, I don't think doctors know everything about infertility. I site all the couples who have unexplained infertility and no baby. Just because we can't identify a problem with me, I can't assume I'm fertile. I've never gotten pregnant with anyone else...and I could have...trust me I could have.

3. I am bitter that it seems like I have to do all the heavy lifting when it comes to IVF. It's frustrating that all he has to do is jack off into a cup. And despite what he says about the embarassment and akwardness, I think he gets some enjoyment out of it. However, even if the identified problem was with me, I would still be bitter that I have to do all the work.

There are only a handful of people who I have told about our infertility and everyone seems to want to know who has the problem. One person actually told me, "well, thank God it's not you who has the problem." Yep, thank God indeed, because it's so easy to have a baby by yourself.

I don't really think it matters who has the identified problem in our relationship. We are married so this isn't his problem or my problem. This is our problem. This is our issue. Together.

So let me hear it MFI girls. How do you feel? How does your husband feel? How do people react?

Thanks for the awards yesterday...gives me something to post about tomorrow!


Anonymous said...

Its a society "thing" that make men feel like less of men if they are the "problem" When its the woman with PCOS, or blocked tubes "thats OK" because the female doctor can fix the "female problems" or "you can just adopt"

But since we live in a patriarchal society men are made to feel that their seed is makes them men, and that isn't true.

As far as I am concerned there is no white or purple or black elephant in the room. Its we infertiles in the room, and while we each have different issues we are all the same--human beings who wish to have children.

*Hugs to you and your manly man hubby :)

ME! said...

EXACTLY!!! When my DH first was told he had azoo, he was so depressed. Worried that I would want to leave him, resented him, etc. Men tie up so much of their identity with their manly bits- function, size and so on.

To me, it is just the mirror or us gals. We hurt, but together is where we overcome this. I just said "so what? you don't have any sperm...we will try and find some- if not it is OUR journey together"

You are a great support to him. YEAH!!

Why Me said...

You are a team. It doesn't matter which part is broken, you are whole together. You will get there eventually. With us, it is also a sperm issue. We have an awesome 14 month old son who looks exactly like my husband. I thank God for this every day. I love that he has a mini me. You will find that your husband will be very supportive as you go on this journey together. Good luck to you! It will work out!!!!

Anonymous said...

The funniest conversation the husband had was when he was talking to someone on the phone about our IF and she (she's about his mom's age) asked if I would need to quit my job (I guess to "stress less", I'm not sure). He just answered, "I think she'd like that, but I'm not really sure how that would help my sperm."

I know that he feels kind of guilty, though.

Jo said...

In a weird way, I am almost glad that BOTH of us have a problem. So, we don't really have to point fingers. However, hubby DOES have issues with his issues, if that makes sense. I know he feels "less than" -- even though I assure him over and over again that I don't see it that way.

It's because of these feelings that I wonder how he would react to using donor sperm. Even though HE was the one to suggest it, I wonder how he will feel in the end if we do go through with it? Would it lessen his attachment? Would he feel it really was his fault after all?

IF just sucks, not just because of all the crap we have to go through, but because we even have to address these kinds of issues.

Oh -- and I totally agree with you about bearing the burden. It is SO unfair that their SOLE contribution is something most of them would do on their own anyway!


Chelle said...

This post made me laugh out loud! We (DH and I) have totally had that conversation before.

I am with you... I don't blame him at all. And I KNOW that he is no less of a man because of it. He still floats my boat and that's all I need!

On the IVF front, YES, it does indeed frustrate me because they get to jack off in a cup and call it a day when we have to go through hell. Not fair!

Anonymous said...

this is my second comment attempt :(

this society seems to always need to have someone to blame. arg. for the love of all...why can't it just be simple?

kirke said...

I can so relate to this post.

I sometimes resent the fact that I have to do all the shots, hormones and yuckiness, but that doesn't have anything to do with MFI. I would resent it no matter what. I resent it when I have to clean the bathroom.

Eb said...

I feel similar to yourself. Its our problem but oh so unfair that we have to do everything. I made my guy read a book about IVF and become the chemist - he had to know all the side effects of all the drugs and he has to be home when I inject at the beginning and of course for the Proggie shots.
He does it all and so much more, he is great and its still not fair.

areyoukiddingme said...

My husband and I had two miscarriages before any testing. He was convinced he was the problem, due to his having been in the first Gulf War. He thought he had mutant sperm. I knew I was the problem - don't know why. I was right, but we had many a competitive discussion before we found out.

On top of that, my husband did not grieve properly with our two losses, and so was not very involved in the pregnancy that resulted in our daughter. I had a lot of ultrasounds, and he was not present for any of them. I was injecting myself with heparin twice a day, and he couldn't even look at my stomach. It was too hard for him, and I resented it. Then I look at pictures from the hospital, and my tough guy, who nothing ever bothers, looks...scared. So I forgive him for giving in to his fear.

Tara said...

We aren't diagnosed with male factor, but his count has consistently been on the low side.

Infertility just blows - no matter who's "fault" it is.

I am glad that you and your husband have the strong relationship to acknowledget that it is "our" problem. Afterall, R could totally go get some other girl knocked up, but, the poor bastard chose me to have and to hold - in sickness and in health :)

s.e. said...

My husband has good counts but I still must comment.

This post was good for me to read. Because of a PCOS diagnosis, I am to blame for our infertility. I feel guilty that my husband is stuck with my issues and in this post, I feel like you have put what he has been unable to say into words for me. Thanks for the perspective.

And I even with the guilt, I am still very bitter with regards to all the heavy lifting. They do get off easy (pun intended!)

Erica said...

Well, looks like I'm the only asshole who does feel resentment at times because of the MFI. Maybe it's because my DH is very busy most days, into nights, growing his business. Maybe it's because he is all too rational, when I'm an emotional person. Maybe it's because I feel like I work really hard at our marriage, and he half asses it. Or maybe it's because I'm just an asshole. Regardless - I do believe in my marital vows. I do love him. It is OUR problem, not his. But, sometimes, like tonight...when he said I "just want to be popular in the blogging world" in response to his learning about my shipping of unused meds to an online IF sister...I feel like I could run away SCREAMING!!!! Most days, it's all good. But, I'd be a total liar if I didn't admit to some resentment. Don't worry though, I've got the guilt to go along with that feeling too.
Seriously though, their only real responsibility comes as a result of an orgasm? Come on.

Tiffanie said...

well, MFI isn't our issue, it's with me and i also get really pissed that i am the one that has to take 3 injections a day, have the u/s cam in my vag more times in one cycle than many do in a lifetime and so on. it fucking sucks. it's unfair. i hate every minute of it.

and, i'm sorry that lupron is being a real asshole to you. i'm sure my luck will turn around when i start the gonal-f. i was a beast last time.

Paula Keller said...

I don't really care either that it's a male factor thing, or at least that it WAS. Over time it got way more complicated and now it's a lovely combination of the both of us, I think.

I do think it's funny that people always assume it is just me. Like baby production doesn't have two makers? Uh, hellooooo?

Jessica White said...

To me, it doesn’t make a difference; I married him, not his sperm. We knew when we started dating at 17, that we may have trouble conceiving (his parents had male factor, but still had 2 kids, plus a whoops).

The few people, outside of family, that we’ve spoken to about our issue seem to forget it, and reassume the problem is mine. I think Society doesn’t want to think of a man who can’t father a child, and ignores it when it is the issue.

My husband had a hard time accepting it, but he was also out on disability for a back injury. He kept telling me I should leave him, since he couldn’t work and couldn’t give me a kid. Obviously I didn’t.

Hang in there.


Liz said...

For the love of God my eyes! There is no excuse for that picture.

Totally agree it doesn't matter who medically has a problem, its is something you both have to deal with.

Anonymous said...

My husband and I both have issues. I have PCOS and he has very low morphology (3%), so it's both of our problems. I certainly don't blame him or think he is less of a man. We haven't ever discussed donor sperm. I really want a baby that's part him and part me, and I don't want to give up on that. We don't really talk about how he feels about MFI, so I don't know how it effects him. When we heard the news about the low morphology, I was immediately sad because I didn't want him to be hurt. I don't think he's devastated by it. He kind of jokes about it, but maybe that's just his way of dealing with it.

I am definitely bitter that I have to do all of the unpleasant fertility treatments, shots, blood draws and wand invasions. I can't even get him to take vitamins consistently without a lot of bitching.

'Murgdan' said...

Infertility is not like a set of 'his' and 'hers' bathrobes...it is OUR problem because WE want a baby. I think I grasp that pretty firmly.

My husband says he doesn't care, and he certainly isn't 'sad' about his crappy sperm. No self-blame. But everyone once in awhile, if I catch him in a 'sensitive' moment, he'll make a comment like, "I'm just sorry I can't get you pregnant" or something like that.

Otherwise, I just don't dwell on it. We all have a unique set of difficulties, it is what is is. We have a 'solution'...now we just have to hope it works out.

VA Blondie said...

We also have MFI (less than1% normal forms), and PCOS. (Though I actually ovulate.) Hubby did not want to talk about MFI for a while after we got the diagnosis. It just hurt him too much to talk about it. He thought I would think less of him. This also came about at a time I was really unhappy, and ready to leave where we living.
We worked through it, and he is doing better with it now. (But it has been over a year.)

We both understand that the majority of the IF stuff deals with me. The way I feel about it is that I am supporting him, and our relationship, by doing what I have to do for the IF stuff. He has always been willing to help when asked. I even think he would love to be more involved. He is always looking for some way to be involved in the process. He gives me the IM injections and was willing to work to get to an IVF consult with an out of town doc.

I wish there was more for him to do, but that does not seem to be the way it works. Unfortunately.

Anonymous said...

Funny post. Both my husband and I are the culprits. So, no blame game there and we tell everyone it is both of us. But, it did make it hard when I would go through the IVF cycles and we would have a small amount of viable embryos. But then again it could be my eggs that contribute that as well. Who the hell knows.
Please visit my blog sometime

I am found of parenthood for me.org. A non profit whose mission is to provide financial and emotional support to those starting families through adoption or medical intervention.

It's great to have found your blog!

Anonymous said...

I completely understand how you feel.

We suffer male infertility, but I don't "blame" DH - what's the point and it's not his fault, just fate. And we are in this together no matter why have problems to conceive.

But the thought that I physically have to go through everything when they can't find anything wrong with me is difficult to deal with on some days.

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