Infertility’s Unpleasant Baggage

[Note to the reader: This article is not meant to discuss the choice to withhold from procreating, but rather, the inability and its side effects.]

For centuries, men have preferred marrying women younger than themselves. From an evolutionary standpoint, some suggest, it has been embedded into our DNA to choose women younger than us—albeit a year or 10 years younger. The reason supporting this theory is simple. They’ll be better able to carry on the human race.

Of course, we are a civilized society now. No longer left to selection of the fittest are decisions involving procreation. Yet, it is arguable that the more fertile you are the more attractive you appear. Afterall, the goal behind seeking relationships, intimacy, and sex the same—to procreate. So, when a couple cannot conceive problems could arise.

Most of the time, when struggling with conception, doctors will advise a couple that the female should make changes or that she should consider different options. Notwithstanding all that a woman can do, it is to be noted that a man’s contribution should also come under scrutiny. Why? Because, as the saying goes, “It takes two to tango.” Thus, no one person is at fault.

It is an unfortunate situation when a couple cannot conceive. To a man, having poor sperm quality or a low sperm count, can seem like a devastating blow. A man’s prides himself on his manhood. It begins in puberty, wondering if one’s manhood is attractive enough; next follows if its pleasurable enough. Ultimately, however, a man wonders if his manhood work well enough to carry on his name, his legacy.

Not surprisingly, the man’s reproductive system is at fault some 50% of the time.  Recently, a study has found that men in Western countries have seen fertility rates have seen a plummet. While, those in Africa, South America, and Asia have not seen the same decline.

On a personal level, men who find that their goods are subpar often blame themselves. This is an anomaly. Why in most cases, the blame rests on an unforseen medical condition. Additionally, to add insult to injury, a man’s guilt may worsen if his partner is that much younger than him! One might feel as if he has robbed his partner of the chances of having a family. However, the facts dispute that irrational notion.

Thanks to science, there are many medical means available to increase one’s chances of fertility. A man can adjust to a healthier lifestyle. Potentially, this could mean healthier sperm and a higher overall sperm count. Perhaps, he and his partner may decide to try in-vitro fertilization (IVF). To that end, the options still abound. Including, adoption, surrogacy, and the variations of surrogacy.

True, the emotional toll is significant. Usually when faced with infertility, a man may become more hesitant of sharing his feelings. Or, he may withdraw altogether from his partner. They may be arguments, bouts of depression, or reckless behavior. These all stem from one place: self-blame.

For now, there is no simple solution to a situation like this. Nevertheless, the key to conquering unfavorable circumstances lies in communication. A couple will want to speak openly about their feelings—their joys, inadequacies, blame, guilt, options—or else their relationship may suffer the consequences. To that extent, a man may feel emasculated, since his manhood has not lived up to the standard set forth.

Yes, available to each couple are endless options.  However, to begin finding a solution, a couple will want to examine their relationship first. Then see a medical professional. For a man, that may mean seeing a urologist.

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