As those of you who follow us on Instagram will have seen, male infertility is close to our hearts. That is the story behind the personal IVF journey of Eloise (founder of FHH) and her husband, which resulted in the use of a sperm donor after an unsuccessful Micro-TESE procedure, plus discussion over adoption vs donor sperm.
For this reason, many readers come to us asking for resources for the men out there struggling with fertility, so we have the pleasure of introducing you to Kevin, AKA ‘The Man Cave’ @them_ancave on Instagram.
Over to Kevin…
Male Infertility Causes
About seven years ago, my girlfriend (at the time) and I were trying for a baby. After a while we were getting frustrated, so we decided to go to the doctors for some help and advice. We were both sent to have fertility tests done at a fertility clinic. My girlfriend’s tests came back fine, no issues showing, but I was asked to go back to the clinic again to do another sperm sample…
The results of the second sample were the same as the first, bad. At this point, the male infertility doctor recommended that I go into hospital to have an investigative operation (Micro-TESE) done, to see what the problem was. After coming out of theatre I was greeted by the surgeon who told me that the operation went well, but unfortunately they were unable to retrieve any sperm. The Andrology Surgeon revealed to me that it was ‘Sertoli cell-only Syndrome’. He went on to say it was in my genes, which left me confused because I am part of such a big family – my grandfather was one of nine! But what he meant was it is a genetic problem, something in my DNA.
Read another story here about the grief of male infertility through a grandfather’s eyes.
Donor Sperm or Adoption
Just like that, I was Diagnosed Infertile. This is when I Started to take Things Seriously!
A few days later I had an appointment with the male infertility urologist who told me: “Sorry there’s nothing we can do for you”. They told me my only two options were either adoption or the use of donor sperm. That was it and, with that soul destroying news, I was out of the door and on my own.
Looking Back Now, I was Naive. I Didn’t Realise the Impact it would Have on my Life.
I don’t think I was upset at first. I was more lost. When I told my Dad, he laughed it off, saying: “Oh what does he know?!” Well he is a doctor, Dad! To be honest, for some time I was in denial – I thought there must have been a mistake. You hear these stories in the news, where people have been told they can’t have kids and end up having them. Maybe I was one of them?
Read more about Azoospermia (lack of sperm) from one of our experts here.
To be fair to my girlfriend at the time, she comforted and looked after me – helped me get back on my feet. However, sadly, after a short while our relationship broke down – mainly due to this. We decided to go our separate ways. It was the hardest thing I ever had to go through.
I Felt that I had Lost Everything and the Realization Set In.
Male Infertility Support
For about a year after, I was out of control. I was so angry but I felt like I couldn’t show or tell anyone and I was too embarrassed to talk to my friends. I’m ashamed to say I was sleeping around, drinking a lot and even taking drugs…
This was Until this Amazing Woman Nicci walked into my Life, who Today I’m Proud to Call my Wife.
Our first date was amazing, but Nicci opened up to me and talked about how she wanted a family in the future, so I was gutted when I decided to tell her (the next day) that I was just happy being friends – this wasn’t really what I wanted but it helped me protect myself, and her. This happened a lot. I would meet someone and then, as soon as I got close to them, or we’d been on a few dates and the conversation of kids was brought up, I would blow them out because I knew I couldn’t give them a family, which they so desired. After a few weeks, I decided to be honest with Nicci – I felt like I had nothing to lose. Luckily enough she was understanding and reassuring and was still interested in me. So we got together and the rest, as they say, is history!
In the 5 Years we’ve Been Together, we’ve Had Two Failed IVF Attempts
These were on the NHS – one was standard IVF and the other was ICSI, both using donor sperm. The whole process was a little bit daunting. I felt so helpless and upset at times. How did it come to this? I felt like I’m only here to hold my partner’s hand, that’s all I’m good for! We were given a website to select the sperm donor from and had to try and match the characteristics to us. That was interesting! I actually didn’t find that the hardest part. For me, it was harder mentally dealing with the whole issue of not being able to have a child of my own that’s part of my DNA.
It’s been an emotional rollercoaster for both of us, but we haven’t given up hope just yet and we are in the process of saving for another round of ICSI, and this time we may look to go abroad.
Male Infertility Blog
It was Last November when I Realised Enough was Enough!
I’ve been angry, upset, lost and hurting for too long: it’s time to stand up and be counted. That’s when I decided to set up a male infertility blog called ‘The Mancave’ @them_ancave
I want to help break the stigma around male infertility. Why should we suffer in silence?! I believe anxiety and depression go hand in hand with fertility issues, and I honestly believe men have taken their own lives due to the fact they have had very little or no help or support after being told they are infertile. Because of this, I plan to make a difference and I want you guys to come along on this journey with me. Let’s do this together; for us, for those that have suffered in silence before us and for the men of the future, who hopefully won’t have to suffer alone.