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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
After waiting a year for our first appointment re infertility (MF) my husband ended our marriage and walked out (with half of the furniture while I was out! Lucky white heather!).

He told me - in one of the short intervals that he was communicating with me - that IF had nothing whatsoever to do with his leaving. Everything was my fault ..blah, blah, blah (see Living Child Free for details).

It did occur to me as I trawled through the Male Factors site that most questions relate only to the physical and there are very few posts that talk about the emotional impact that it plays on the male. Can anyone tell me how they/their partners have felt/dealt with this issue. Is it true that it doesn't bother them - according to my husband - how do others feel?

I would be interested to hear replies as any male I've spoken to has told me that they would be devestated. I know that the male ego is fragile, but just how fragile?

I look forward to hearing from you.

Mojo
 

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Hi Mojo
I think most men blame themselves, and maybe your husband doesn't want to feel like that so is transferring the blame on to you and instead of facing up to the fact that there are problems conceiving he is focused on problems in the marriage.

I think infertility affects men more as they find it difficult to talk to friends not because they are embarrassed but more because they will embarrass their friends who have been making 'jaffa' jokes etc.

There is also a feeling of shock and insecurity. I am sure it is having a big impact on your husband but I don't know what you can do about it - as you say not much is written on it.

I think all men will react differently but however they react I think it always has a massive impact. Whether it is around yearning for a child or feelings of failure

Lolx
 

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Dear Mojo
I just read your post and then looked back over your posts in 'Living Child Free'.....I am just gutted for you. This is awful, and I am so so sorry for everything that you have gone through. I would echo the others in saying keep posting on the site as I'm sure there are so many people who would want to help and support you.

Our IF probs are because of MF, and at first it was incredibly difficult for my dh to come to terms with it, and we had some absolutely awful times with it . I don't think he fully accepted it until he had had a few tests and during that time he was convinced that it was a minor problem that would go away. Looking back I think he was in a lot of denial, and I think this is really common amongst men as they just don't have the same opportunity for talking about things as women, so they just push it down. (Unfortunately it can then come out in other ways). I know thats a cliche but I really think its true - there is really no support for them and they tend to keep even their deepest worries to themselves. I know that my dh can still behave like the sphynx sometimes, even tho he copes with it much better as time goes on.

To answer your question I think it is totally NOT true that IF does not bother men, I think it bothers them deeply. Obviously I can only talk from personal experience, but I think that MF IF is an absolutely crushing blow to a man's self esteem, even tho they probably won't admit that - maybe even not to themselves fully. I think the emotional impact is enormous and in combination with your husband's past tragedies, I'm amazed that he is claiming not to be bothered about it - altho actually not amazed because of what I was saying about denail etc. It sounds like there is so much that has gone 'untalked' about in his life, and this was maybe the final straw.

I'm so sorry that your marriage is over and that you are having to go through all of this. I think someone else said that you don't know whats ahead of you, and in the future you may be much happier than you ever thought you could be.

The darkest time is before the dawn........xxxxxxxxxxx

love ruby k xx
 

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Mojo
Im so sorry to hear that your husband has left. When my husband was diagnosed with a v.low sperm count we were both mortified. It came as such a shock to us both. He did absolutely everything he could to raise the count but nothing worked and in fact his count continued to drop. He never really exhibited any anger but he clearly felt responsible for our situation and was completely frustrated with the lack of answers from the Drs and urologists. Even now when we have successfully been treated with icsi, he is trying to find out what has caused his sudden drop in sperm count.

He also felt bad throughout the icsi treatment and would constantly say that it wasnt fair that I had to have the treatment when it was his problem. I kept reassuring him as best I could and I think some of it sunk in.

In our case I would say that the issues we have had with fertility and the subsequent treatment we had have bought us closer together as a couple but I can see how easy it might be for someone to want to just walk away from the problem. It's a biggie to deal with.

Good luck
Love Flakey xx
 

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Dear Mojo
I am so sorry to hear about your marriage problems and do agree with you that there is very little to help and support men and the emotions they go through. All the focus tends to be on the woman and her physical and mental wellbeing.

When we were diagnosed with MF infertility I was surprised how well my dh dealt with it all. In retrospect he didn't really, he just ploughed his emotions into his work to stop him from thinking about it all, which I believe a lot of men do in times of crisis. We haven't started IVF but I know he will find it hard when I have to go through all the treatments. I know his way of stopping himself feeling guilty is to do all he can to be the good husband and look after his wife well. It makes him feel useful and it is his way of trying to deal with the problem he feels he has caused. I appreciate not all men would be like this and may become withdrawn and feel pushed out. This whole experience is a testing time for any relationship.

My dh will hardly talk to anyone about his MF infertility. Sometimes I feel he is in denial. I am hoping that he will open up to a counsellor or if we went to a support group he might feel comfortable about talking to other men with the same problem.

However, we won't have access to a counsellor until we start tx but I felt we really needed emotional support when we first got the news about his low count. It was then he needed someone to off load onto and help him deal with the shock. Our local hospital didn't have anykind of support network at all. It was a difficult time for both of us. FF has really helped me but dh (apart from talking to me) had to cope with it alone.

Thinking of you.
Teresa
xxxx

 

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Hi Mojo

First off I am so sorry to hear of your situation.

We also have MF IF and I have to confess we have not really spoken about how it has made him feel in great depth. However, he has said that initially it was a blow and a threat to the way it made him feel as a man. We are very open about the journey we have been through and how we have got to where we are, in fact he probably is more so than I am. We have both found that approach easier than saying that we don't want children or the like when asked. I have to say I think it helped in our case that I also have problems which, could be resolved by Clomid but they exist and it helps. The message I kept trying to reinforce through tx was that this was OUR problem not his not mine but ours. Yes I wanted children but with him.

I suppose really what I am trying to say in all of this is that I believe that men are deeply affected by IF and more so when it is MF. They do not have the support groups that we as women do in terms of friends and family. It is so difficult for them to express their thoughts on this without feeling as though they are being judged or going to have jokes made about it.

I believe that a counsellor needs to be available when diagnosis is made and not just during tx.

Clare
 

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Mojo

So sorry to read of your situation, you must be devastated.

Our diagnosis was a shock to both of us - we thought it was me due to other symptoms. My DP has not really talked in depth about his emotions - he doesn't anyway at the best of times as many men dont. I asked him if he wanted to use the counsellor that our clinic but he did not want to. I was so worried about him - he has always been the most broody of the two of us!

I know he has found it difficult but I have been very open with him about the fact that I only want children that are his or that we adopt/foster together and that I attach no blame at all - its one of those things that life deals you.

The problem with MF is that it is the butt of jokes "firing blanks" etc. when often the problem is more complex - my DP has lots of sperm which swim well just most of them wrong size or shape! Very few "normal" people understand this. This means that men cannot talk openly about the problem as women can and dont have the support network that we tend to have. We did a lot of research together and I know that helped him understand that MF is actually the problem in 30% of IF cases -I think this made him realise that we are not alone! One other thing he did comment on was how busy our clinic is - again we are not alone!

Our clinic told us that MF problems are on the increase in their experience so over time MF issues may start to become less of joke in the general public and men may be able to start being able to be more open about their problems.

I hope that this dark period is the start of something that brings you much more happiness in the future.

LindaJane

 

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our dx is male factor only and I have to admit there are times that I have felt very frustrated as it is me who has had to go through hsg,hysteroscopy, 5 icsi treatments and all the rest. My dh feels incredibly guilty and it is not the kind of thing you bring up in conversation with your friends. We have discussed counselling but don't really know what we would get out of it. The reality is that infertility has affected our marriage and relationship if fact i think it has defined it. I know that in my last cycle when i got a positive result I felt so happy and we were really thrilled and we have not felt like that for a long time only to be brought down to earth with a miscarriage.

Laylar
 

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My situation is the same. Dh has less than a million sperm and only 15% motility.
Dh has coped remarkably well in that he will talk freely about it but only when I instigate the conversation. He won't mention the situation unless I do.
Dh feels particularly aggrieved as he is 43 and he feels time is ticking away and we can't afford for it not to happen straight away, but we both know that in reality this may not happen.
We've also had all the firing blanks jokes. Have you left it too late etc.... Have been married now for nearly a year and his friends are constantly jibing about the lack of an announcement from us.

Mojo - as everyone has said, really sorry to hear of your situation. My first husband too walked out 7 years ago, so I fully appreciate and understand what you are going through. Hang in there, it does get better but I guess for you its too soon to be thinking ahead. Lean on all your friends and family. They can be a great support when you really need them.

Sending you and everyone else lots of positive thoughts.

Natalie
 

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It's not easy to talk about Low SC etc. when sometimes you feel your sole purpose in life is to give life.
It can make you feel less of a man because you can't have children.
But as you will read on this site, you're not alone, it is common, and there are things you can do to improve this.
It only takes ONE sperm to fertilize an egg. They may not be able to swim and they not be very good quality
BUT - I'm sitting here looking at my 2 week old baby boy and you know what.
All that treatment, tablets, lifestyle change and sacrifices are worth it.
It's not fair that the women have to bear all the horrible stuff for our problems but we are in this together and if we men could swap places we would...
Sorry to sound as if i'm ranting but some men can't talk about it because they are shocked and ashamed.
Give him time.... Leave a leaflet near the WC (we men like to read)
Eventually things will be better.
B. Rub.

PS. Sorry for bad news mojo...I'm sure it'll work out for you.
 

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Hi Mojo
I am sorry to hear your sad news.I know exactly how you fell ,as if your world has been torn apart.
We had tried for many years with no success and after various tests it showed to be MF ,that was back in October 20002 and by January 2003 he walked out saying he had had enough our relationship was under great strain we remained apart for 5 months and he came back wanting it to work.So it has been hard at times but we are mid way through our 2nd attempt of ICSI .I am very hopeful for the future.
I hope that the time apart for both of you will make you realise what you mean to each other and that you can sort out your problems and move on.
Wishing you peace and happiness
Tinkerbell64
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Dear Barney Rubble

Congratulations of the birth of your child!

Thank you for your kind reply. Despite posting on the Male board, yours is the first reply I have had from a male. It somewhat rests my case!

I would love to read something for him to read, but he's walked out, no forwarding address, lawyer's letters exchanged, bitter words exchanged blah, blah.

We did meet yesterday, and he used it as another opportunity to use me as a punch bag. He threatened further legal action if I didn't stop telling people about our infertility problem! I would love to give him time, but he wants out of our relationship and nothing I do or say will change that. He has torn my world apart.

All the best for the future

Mojo
 

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Mojo

I felt i had to write to say how sorry i am to hear your news - i am sat here at work nearly in tears !

I do hope that things improve, keep your chin up.

I know personally, as others have said infertility causes a huge strain on relationships, we have certainly had some major problems. We too suffer with MF and unfortunately my DH turns to the pub to drown his sorrows, probably making things worse and definately winding me up ! We have been at breaking point with each cycle.

I can't say i know what you are going through, but i do really feel for you and can see how easily it can affect relationships....

Loads and loads of luck for the future

Sarz
 

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Barney Rubble,

What great news! Many congratulations to you. ;D

I hear everything that you are saying and I know if he could swap with me re the tx he would. We haven't yet started any tx yet, our 1st appointment is 02/09, so we just need to be strong and stick together through the next few months and who knows!!

Natalie.
 

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Thanks for the encouregament Barney ...I'm soo pleased for you. Sometimes it seems so hopeless but you have really helped me.
Mojo I'm really sorry things were so horrible for you.  It's important to remember its not your fault.

We have MF only, and we have coped by being very very very open about our feelings.  Sometimes it feels a bit of a risk because I know My hub beats himself up about being the "cause " of this really hard time, and I worry that if I get upset he will then take on more guilt.  But it does work and if anything it has strengthened our marriage as we have even more trust in each other.  I'm always emphasising to him that it's not HIS fault its just nature, and that I never see him as being the cause of this problem...it's OUR problem and he is certainly no less of a man.  I know that he has a hard time in his head though, especially when he sees me going through all the injections etc.  He is always saying sorry, which really hurts to see.

it took him months before I could persuade him to tell his friends, (it took me a while too) but I think it is important...the reason we did tell people was because I feel they can't be expected to be sensitive to your feelings and not make crass jokes, or ask personal questions , if they don't know what a hard time you're having. 
Its true it's not the kind of thing you just "bring up" in conversation, and it was very hard, but our friends have been amazing.  My hub's friends have always been quite blokey but they turned up trumps and our friendships have strenghtened too. At one stage my hub wrote them a letter...he literally outpoured his feelings on paper and posted them.  His friends all wrote back or rang up and said they hadn't realised how deeply it had affected him but they felt priviledged to be trusted.

Good luck to you all out there in this boat - especially you guys.  I really believe that talking about it to each other is crucial, although you must trust each other and be prepared to get emotional.
 
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