After an exciting evening with Suzy and about 25 other infertile folks, we were talking about what I could share with our friends in blogland regarding that form near and dear to my testes, male factor. Here is what we discussed. – What happens when the diagnosis comes?
First, you need to know that, as a couple, this will be a big kick…. well we covered that before. But you better recover quickly, because this is what will be going through her mind.
1) Grieving / freaking out / crying because you can’t have a biological child. This is a first, emotional response, like getting the wind knocked out of you, or a horse kick in the teeth. She probably will be worried about your potential children, so you are just the late delivery service at this point. Don’t take this personally.
(picture is not a good example of how to handle any particular infertility issue, but is representative of at least once in most relationships, anyway. Sexes are assigned at random.)
2) Swinging wildly around, we will then hit the high of a new possibility – treatment! Now you, the stud service have been either retired, or it is time to intervene with specialized treatments that will make you as a possible father. If you are the retired gelding, with no/very low/incompatible/no quality sperm, this will be depressing for you, but your partner is ready to move on, so hang on! For the others, you get the added excitement of such medical procedures as needle biopsies and sperm withdrawals; withdrawals and samples into tiny containers without the usual “stimulation”; and you can look forward to lots of expensive treatments for both of you!
3) If you were fortunate enough to get off the bus on step 2,good for you! If not, welcome back to Grieving / freaking out / crying because you can’t have a biological child, but this time it will be with the knowledge that you tried hard. This time will be after some time and considerable financial resources expended, so you hope this will be a lesson well learned. But let her grieve.
4) Optional – Decision to use alternative sources for having a biological child (Using a Pop on a Popsicle (donor sperm)) This can lead to some weirdness between you, so tread carefully – see my red hot wife Suzy”s blog posts on this one. Enough said, except for her eggs lusting for a donor’s sperm from someone not even born when we were married. Yeah, feels sorta like infidelity. TREAD CAREFULLY!
5) Other treatments, after biological options are done – more grieving, etc. This can be painful if it takes too long to get here or the trip is not together.
Your emotions will be all over the place, so make sure you have healthy, safe ways to deal with this pain. Talk to each other, honestly and openly. Do NOT hide or bottle up, as this will cause resentment later. Discuss issues with appropriate people – pastors / rabbis / spiritual advisor /therapist / support group (like RESOLVE or Chance to Hope). And, find healthy outlets for your frustrations.
The three things you need to know. a) Take care of your partner! b) remember to take care of yourself; and c) Have Hope, you are not alone!