Not enough is said for the men who suffer from infertility. For every women’s story, potentially there is a man who is suffering just as much. Men don’t often say how they feel but it does not mean they aren’t hurting too. Sometimes their heartache is hidden behind thrusting themselves into their work, being easily agitated and uninterested, avoidance of any deep conversation, and/or completely walking away from all responsibility. Behind these actions, is a man who is suffering from infertility with little to no outlet for what he is feeling.
“In some cases, an underlying problem such as an inherited disorder, hormonal imbalance, dilated veins around the testicle, or a condition that blocks the passage of sperm causes signs and symptoms. Signs and symptoms you may notice include:
Problems with sexual function — for example, difficulty with ejaculation or small volumes of fluid ejaculated, reduced sexual desire, or difficulty maintaining an erection (erectile dysfunction)
Pain, swelling, or a lump in the testicle area
Recurrent respiratory infections
Inability to smell
Abnormal breast growth (gynecomastia)
Decreased facial or body hair or other signs of a chromosomal or hormonal abnormality
A lower than normal sperm count (fewer than 15 million sperm per milliliter of semen or a total sperm count of less than 39 million per ejaculate)”(The Mayo Clinic, 2021).
“Sometimes male infertility issues can be resolved through adjustments such as eliminating tobacco, alcohol, drugs, supplements, certain medications, or use of hot tubs. Other times, tests such as semen analysis can shed light on potential problems that require specific treatments. If a concern is detected, a consultation with a urologist specializing in male infertility is an ideal next step, especially if the couple had been unable to conceive after six months of unprotected intercourse” (The Reproductive Medicine Group, 2021).
Over the years while my husband and I struggled with infertility, I honestly didn’t consider how much he was suffering. It wasn’t until the loss of our baby, he revealed the magnitude and devastation this journey has taken on him. He said, “I feel hurt too, I just don’t talk about it as much”. He also said, “dealing with infertility has made me feel less of a man and that maybe God is punishing me for something”.
Today, I honor the men behind our stories.
Mayo Clinic, 2019-2021 https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/male-infertility/symptoms-causes/syc-20374773
The Reproductive Medicine Group, 2021. https://www.floridafertility.com/mens-health-month-a-look-at-male-fertility-struggles/