Just as I have seen more men come out to talk about infertility and show more interest in how their baby dreams get fulfilled, so have the cases of male factor infertility I have seen risen.
It’s a good thing and it’s a bad thing; a good thing, because it means more focus is being shifted to the one third that determine whether conception takes place or not. However, it’s bad, very bad for men, because they don’t have the eons of experience of dealing with infertility that women have, to act as a buffer for them. So, it comes as an absolute shock to them. A whole vista of emotions open up that most men are not in any way prepared to deal with.
When the man is suspected to have a fertility issue, it can affect his view of himself and he may be reluctant to deal with the problem, let alone seek help. He may have difficulty talking about it, especially with the woman he loves.
Understandably, this can create tension and distance in the most solid of relationships, so pursuing pregnancy while growing the relationship can be an exacting job, requiring much sensitivity and love.
It is at times like this that a woman needs wisdom like never before…else there will be fire on the mountain. It’s a tricky situation, but not impossible to overcome.
For such a phase as when the man is the reason there is no bun in the oven yet, you can try the ten things mentioned below:
- Ask him how he’s doing, and really listen:
Men are often the main support for their partner, and will ‘suffer in silence,’ never asking for the help and support they need. As a result, friends and family may not even know that a man is having trouble coping, or even consider that the struggle may be just as hard on him as his partner.
Which is where you as his partner come in; take the initiative. Ask him how he feels and how you can make it easier for him to cope.
- Find a fertility doctor he can relate with:
Fertility doctors can explain to the man why he may be experiencing infertility, and show him things he can do to improve the quality of his sperm.
Just knowing that the infertility is not due to a lack of masculinity in himself can do wonders for his self-esteem, and that it’s coming from an expert with his interest at heart can also do a world of good.
Knowing he can even take charge of his fertility can help him even more. A good fertility doctor can keep an infertile man from going too far over the edge into self-pity and depression, and actually lift him up.
Giving the man choices in reproduction can also help heal his emotional wounds.
- Cut the bad habits:
Most women know they should sort out their lives, in order if they want to get pregnant. They try to lose weight, if that’s something they should do. They stop drinking, they quit smoking if they do smoke, and definitely stay off the recreational drugs.
But guys don’t have that same mentality. They often feel like all they need do is show up, do the deed and they are good.
Unfortunately, it is not that easy, especially when infertility is an issue. It takes team work to kick the bad habits both parties may have. You also have to hold each other accountable.
- Introduce good habits and enjoy it together:
Apart from kicking the bad habits, a TTC couple needs to work on exercising regularly and eating a healthy, balanced diet.
Reducing the amount of fried food, cutting out sugary drinks, or at the very least reducing all the bad stuff, helps a lot. Try to work in as many vegetable and fruits, as well as whole grains as possible.
Get healthy snacks. Change your lifestyle, but make sure it’s something you can both sustain together, day in and day out.
- Find written-for-guys information about tests and treatment:
Find some straightforward, written-for-guys, material on investigations that will be required, and what a typical result is. By knowing what’s ahead, it will take a load of stress off your man’s shoulders.
Knowing what is typical helps men to prepare both physically and emotionally for what’s ahead.
And should you get a diagnosis of what may be preventing your man from getting you pregnant, it’s time to read up so you can ask the best questions and make the best decisions for you both.
For example, if it’s hormonal factors, medication will probably be the prescribed treatment regimen. If it’s a structural issue, a surgical procedure is likely to help. So it’s time to read up and find out what the procedures usually are, what the risks are and what are the chances of success.
- Keep it sexy:
Trying for a baby can take the joy out of love-making, but it is very important to keep your connection alive.
At this time, it is essential to find new ways to connect, flirt and love on one another, until this stage of life has passed. Whatever comes thereafter, this is the building block of the rest of it all.
- Try a vacation:
Sometimes getting away from it all is exactly the best medicine a couple needs. It may provide that connection they need to go back home and face the grind again, and the strength to make family building decisions.
Or you could hit the fertility jackpot while on vacation, when you least expect it.
Some couples even plan conception-moons, or trips to get away during the your fertile period, and hope that a new romantic surrounding away from jobs and nuisances will do the trick.
- Enjoy your child-free life:
Sometimes life takes us down an entirely different route than we imagined. Is it the path we ourselves would have originally chosen? Maybe not, but owning the path we find ourselves in life, and finding peace in it is highly rewarding.
Many couples find that when children don’t come as planned, they can find ways to make their lives to be as fulfilling and rewarding as anyone’s.
And when the babies come, they complement their already rewarding life.
- Be gracious if you slip up
The probability that you might slip up and say the wrong thing is very high. So, stop biting your tongue every time. It’s to be expected, but it’s important to apologize and communicate in good faith.
Acknowledge that you realize you hurt their feelings unintentionally, apologize, and say that you might not always say the right things. But you will not intentionally hurt them.
- Give it time:
I’m sure you are thinking, “Sorry oh, Oluwakemi, but that’s not a luxury I have,” and it is the reality for most TTC moms.
But there’s no way around it. Time can be an enemy in fertility, or a friend. Sometimes couples just need more time to get lucky; they may not even need or get treatment. Others may need time to build their health, get some medication or treatment, and wait to see if time was indeed on their side.
But by giving yourselves the gift of time, and using it well, you give yourselves the best chance at finding your path to creating a family.
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