Monday, December 16, 2013

I am a big fat zero - the azoospermic man

I was doing the final consultation of the day . The couple who walked in were well-dressed and poised. The wife was a CA ; and her husband was an athletic six-footer , who worked as an equity analyst in a leading hedge fund . When I asked them - How can I help you ? “ , much to my surprise, he became extremely emotional.

" Doctor, I am a failure. My sperm count is zero and I cannot give my wife a baby ! Even though I have a great job , a big fat bank balance, and get to travel first class all over the world , my life has become meaningless because I am shooting blanks. I don’t even feel like having sex anymore, because it’s of no use – I know with a zero sperm count, I cannot get my wife pregnant.

I have stopped going out and have become a social recluse. I used to be a party animal, but the first question everyone asks my wife is – So when are you planning to have a baby ? And it hurts when I see her having to cover up for me. This is sore issue, and seeing her in pain makes me feel helpless and hopeless.  Her friends and classmates talk about their kids all the time  - and she doesn’t have a common topic of conversation. What’s worse, is that they pretend to feel sorry for her, and this false pity hurts even more !

This has started affecting my self-esteem and has started impacting all aspects of my life . Ours is a love marriage, and my wife is extremely kind and loving . She doesn't talk about this too much , because she knows the topic hurts me, and this is now the elephant in the room, which has created a huge barrier between us .

I know we can have a baby if we use donor sperm , but this is an idea I find very difficult to swallow . I don't think I'll be able to love a child born by donor sperm. I know she would be happy if I agreed to using donor sperm, and she believes that once the baby is born, I will overcome my doubts and hang-ups and love the baby. However, because she knows that I have issues , she's reluctant to broach the topic so we just ignore it . Most nights we just turn away and go to sleep , without talking about an issue which is playing havoc with our lives. This problem is driving me crazy and I really don't know what to do about it  !

I can’t discuss this with any of my friends and I can’t continue leading a life like this . It’s so unfair on my wife. I feel the best thing for me to do is to divorce my wife , so at least she can get married again , and find a fertile man . I'm just a big failure ! "

The diagnosis of azoospermia can have a corrosive effect on a man’s self-esteem . It’s very hard for them to express their feelings. They have been taught to bottle up their emotions since childhood, and this suppressed guilt can slowly poison their life.

The good news is that for lots of men with a zero sperm count, modern IVF technology can offer new treatment options, which can successfully allow these men to have a baby with his own sperm. Sadly, many infertility specialists, gynecologists , urologists and andrologists are not aware of these advances.

If your doctor has written you off as a hopeless case just because your sperm count is zero, please ask us for a free second opinion . The technology has improved dramatically , and there is lots we can do to help many azoospermic men today ! Thus, techniques such as TESE-ICSI ( testicular sperm extraction with ICSI) allow us help many men with a azoospermia.

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