One thing was really clear to me since the beginning of our many treatments: this journey is ours. Not hers. Not mine. OURS!
And that we are in it for one thing and one thing only: to have the privilege to raise children of our own. It is not to fix a relationship. It is not because we are nice people. It is not because we have a higher calling. It is simply because we have so much love and passion for life that we want to bring and raise and share another life in our lives.
This is, in my view, the key realization one has to make in order to go down the path of fighting infertility.
In our case, it is not a matter of Male infertility. Not female either, since my wife can produce very healthy eggs and we both can generate excellent embryos in great number. So what is it? Fate, I guess… During this process, we came to realize that there are many variables that need to be perfectly aligned for a couple to conceive a child. That’s why it is not a matter of “mine issue” or “ yours issue”, but a matter of “our issue”.
As we came to learn, such variables can be segmented into five major categories: sperm quality, eggs quality, tubes & uterus, overall health (weight, eating habits, smoking, etc.) and genetic compatibility.
Therefore, as I look back to the road we have travelled so far, I am more and more convinced that infertility has to be a couple’s issue. That is the reason I am not so sympathetic the ones that approached with “gee, how lucky of you that you are not the problem”.
Well, I don’t think it works that way…
Of course that, of the many variables that need to be perfectly aligned, knowing that it is not the sperm is a great a relief. Ok, let’s be honest here, it is a huge relief for the men! The cultural and social aspects of my upbringing all pointed to the strong male figure that was central to any relationship, and where anything that is related to male sexuality was a big taboo. Therefore, knowing that Mr. Potentially Future Dad passed the test was indeed a good thing. But don’t get me wrong, this only took one variable out and did not meant I had “hall pass” to simply remove myself from the equation and watch soccer with my buddies… We still had to deal with all other variable that are related to our genetic compatibility, to her egg quality, to her tubes and uterus health and to God. Yes God.
Unfortunately, it is she who needs to undergo treatment to deal with all these other variables. It is she who is taking all the medication and hormones. It is she who battles with the changes in her body. So, what about me if this is a couple’s issue? Well, I need to be supportive. I need to learn to understand what she is going through. I need to say what I feel. We do not have control so no, I do not know for a fact that all is going to be all right, but I know that we have done everything we could and can to make it work! We have grown tremendously as a couple during this process as we were, as still are, always trying to stay honest to each other and to our own feelings.