When I found out that my (future) wife had a fertility issue, and how I felt about it.
Maybe you’ve heard this sentence already: ‘“My wife cannot get pregnant naturally”. I think this sentence should be corrected to: ‘“My partner and I cannot conceive naturally”. It’s not only a more considerate and emphatic way to word it, but in many cases this is much closer to the reality.
"It’s only a ‘macho misbelief’ that infertility is a female issue, and that men cannot be infertile. "
One of the most common and natural processes, in a relationship with a strong emotional bond, is to decide to form a union or partnership together. For most people, having children together is a very evident next step too. Sooner or later, the discussions about expanding the family will become a normal topic and plans will be formulated and tested.
Well, in our case it was a bit different.
I am not 100% sure if we started to speak about the ‘child-topic’ on our first (almost a day long) date, but I am sure that it was an open-topic since the very beginning. My wife was really honest about the fact that she really wanted to have children, but based on some medical exams, she won’t be able to conceive the normal way. It’s never easy to start, and build up a new relationship, and understandably, it was a very important point for her, which she wanted to clarify right at the beginning.
To be honest, I had absolutely neutral feelings about IVF. I didn’t have any negative or positive feelings towards it. In my mind, IVF was a protocol, which solves a problem. It didn’t cross my mind for a second that I might not accept it.
My reaction was absolutely positive and supportive. I was open minded for this alternative life-solution. Firstly, because it was evident to me, if we choose each other, I would like to conceive a child with my love, and secondly, it was not an extra weight on our relationship, but a problem which we have to solve. It was even inspirational and motivational.
My first – which I consider absolutely normal – reaction was (even though she thought that IVF was the only way) that we would resolve this problem naturally without running to the IVF clinic. I thought I could solve this problem.
My confidence was based on a very strong fact. At the age of 47, I was a father of three amazing, healthy, smart, beautiful girls. I didn’t need better evidence that I am able to perform and create offspring. I couldn’t see why I would not be able to perform once again, what I have done 23, 19 and 10 years ago. Of course, it did not even cross my mind that since then many years had passed. Many years with lots of challenges, stress, problems, not to speak about some – not too smart - lifestyle choices, that had left their marks on my overall health and physical condition.
We tried to conceive naturally every month. I’m not saying that we tried everything that we could. We did not check my wife’s basal temperature every morning, we did not create excel sheets with our ‘fertility window’, we did not check the phases of the Moon either. We just did it naturally with love, hoping that somehow there would be someone who would choose us as parents.
After trying for a year, I had to admit that my wife was right (as always ☺ ), and it might be time to see a fertility specialist. I was never worried about going for IVF, I was just hoping that we could do it naturally.
One thing I am absolutely sure of, if you and your partner desire to have children together, and it turns out that it may not be as easy and smooth as you thought it would be, it’s your job, as a supporting partner, to be there for your wife or girlfriend during these turbulent times. Firstly, because this journey can be long, which can put extra weight on your relationship. Secondly, it’s only a ‘macho misbelief’ that infertility is a female issue, and that men cannot be infertile (or to think in just really rare cases, and that 100% it cannot be you). Stay open minded!