The young man sitting in front of me was crying. 'I have failed my wife, Doctor, I have failed to give her a child. My sperm count is zero which means I'm shooting blanks which means she will never be able to become a mother. Really, I think she should just leave me and marry someone else. I don't think there's much point in living if I can't have a baby.'
I could see that the poor guy was at his wit's end. He had just been told by a doctor that his sperm count was zero and he'd never be able to have a baby. And of course, he was miserable and unhappy, and because he loved his wife so much , a lot of his pain was because of her sadness because she could not become a mother . He felt that he was letting her down by not being able to produce any sperm. I allowed him to finish crying and then explained to him that this was not something which was in his hands. It was a problem - a medical problem like any other medical issue . Hearts can fail, livers can fail, kidneys can fail, bones can break and the testes may not produce sperm for some men.
It is important that he needs to be kind to himself, and not make a bad problem worse by beating up on himself. His problem of azoospermia did not happen because of anything he did or he didn't do. These were things which were completely out of his hand. I also reminded him that his wife didn't marry him only for his sperm - she married him because she loved him, and just like he wouldn't leave her in case her tubes turned out to be blocked and she couldn't have a baby, there was no reason for him to worry that she would leave him just because he had a zero sperm count.
He was smart enough to understand all this with his head, and he felt I was patronising by telling him to stop worrying. " Doctor, it's easy to give this advice, but only someone who has a zero sperm count will understand the damage this is doing to my self esteem and my ego . I don't think anyone else will be able to empathise with me , and appreciate what I'm going through.'
I had to explain to him that even though his count was zero, we still had treatment options to help him to have a baby. Unfortunately his previous gynaecologist hadn't been very well informed about all the newest treatment modalities available for the infertile man . I explained to him that we could actually extract sperm from his testes , and use these to get his wife pregnant. He brightened up considerably when he found out about this option and said, " I would be more than happy to try , and I do hope that it works. "
I think sometimes we underestimate the emotional impact of the diagnosis of infertility on the man. We are so focused on what the woman goes through that we forget that men have feelings too. And just like women have a biological urge in order to have a baby, men have this hardwired within themselves also. It's a basic evolutionary urge to propagate so that we can then pass on our genes to the next generation.
And when you find that your cannot do so, there can be considerable heartbreak and trauma, whether you are a man or a woman. Often it's easier for women to find support , because they can talk to other women, but who does the poor man talk to ? He can't afford to break down in front of his wife, because he is supposed to be strong and her bedrock of support . He he doesn't want to see him weak and helpless. It's very hard to talk to guys or other men , because most of them are completely clueless about this particular problem and in fact are quite likely to make fun of him because he is shooting blanks.
We need to understand the pain which an infertile man goes through, and help him to cope with this extremely stressful time in his life with a little bit of tender loving care.
Do you have a sperm problem ? We can help ! Please send me your medical details by filling in the form at www.drmalpani.com/free-second-opinion so that I can guide you better !