Our IF Journey

Our IF journey began about 18 months ago when my wife and I decided it
was time to attempt to have a child. I was 31 and my wife was 30 at
the time. We both were settled in our careers and our home. Plus I was
tired of getting questions and having comments made by my friends and
family. It just made a bad situation worse. But in their defense and a
lot of the public’s defense IF is not something that people think
about when asking someone whether they have or are planning to have
children. During this time I watched my close friends have their first
and second childs with no luck on our end. Seeing photos and comments
posted on facebook by them made me jealous and want to distance myself
from them.

My desire to have a child has always been stronger than my wife’s.
It’s not that she didn’t want to have children just didn’t have that
strong drive to have a child. I think she had concerns she wouldn’t be
a good mother. This couldn’t be further from the truth because I know
my wife would be an amazing mom. She is a great person who is a big
reason why I have become the man I am today. I don’t see any reason
why she wouldn’t carry that into being a parent. The only concern I
had in trying to have a child is that because I have ADD I knew there
was a 50% chance my child would have it. The struggles I went through
as a child and even as an adult I did not want to have my child go
through.

It was about one year in after trying that we thought there might be
an issue. I thought it might have been stress from both of our jobs as
I had read that it could be a factor in IF. To be honest I didn’t
think it was a big issue at the time. I never thought there was
something wrong. Maybe it was just me wanting to be naive that it
couldn’t happen to us. So we waited another few months before going to
visit an RE.

Going into the appointment my wife was more nervous than I was. She
felt uncomfortable with the testing and potential invasive procedures
she would go through. I told her that we couldn’t continue to go down
the path we had been and that we needed to find out if there were any
issues or if it was just a case of bad luck. I didn’t want her to feel
nervous or uncomfortable and wanted to make her feel at ease. The
appointment itself went ok, the RE outlined the next steps and that we
would both need to go through some testing. On the way home from the
appointment I opened up to her and told her I was nervous as well and
had concerns about any potential issues. It made her feel better
knowing that I had fears as well. Since then I have been open with my
wife sharing my feelings with her as well as supporting her as well.
The ironic part is she was the one who wasn’t looking for to this next
step and it’s her testing that came back normal with no issues.

Our worst fears came to reality. Within three hours of giving my first
specimen, I received a call from the RE saying the specimen came back
with a zero count. I was in shock, especially when the RE gave me the
impression that while she wanted me to have another specimen done the
chances that the first test was inaccurate was very small. One week
later I gave my 2nd specimen and that came back with the same result.
A few days prior to that I had my blood work done. The first round of
blood work came back showing a hormonal issue. It wasn’t the type of
hormonal issue that can be easily fixed as my testosterone level was
normal. One week later the devastating news came in that the genetic
blood work showed that I had a deletion of the AZFb and AZFc of my Y
chromosome. The reason my hormone levels were off is that one hormone
was trying to make up for the fact that I am not capable of producing
sperm. It felt like a bad dream that I was unable to wake up from.
That night we both cried our eyes out when my wife came home from
work. I haven’t broken down since even though I’ve had some tears here
and there when thinking about it.

A few weeks later I visited a Urologist who confirmed that there has
never been a reported case of someone with this condition ever
conceiving or for that matter a biopsy ever finding any sperm. Even
though I knew that was what I was going to be told I never wanted to
accept it as being reality. I’ve always been able to work hard to
overcome obstacles to get where I wanted to go. The fact that there is
nothing that can be done to fix the situation is the most frustrating
part. Its not that I think I am less of a man because the thought
never crossed my mind. It’s that I always dreamed of being someone’s
dad.

Since all of this has come down I have begun counseling. The counselor is great. After my first appointment I
finally started to feel normal or at least my reaction and feelings
are normal. Talking to family and close friends has helped as well.
Each person I have talked to has given me a different perspective that
has shed light on a new aspect of the situation I was not thinking of.
As much as I would like to move forward with the next step I know that
I am not ready to. The last thing I want to do is rush into a
situation and have others around me that I care about suffer.

The three options we have are DS, Adoption and not having a child. All
three are not easy options with all presenting major challenges to
overcome and none of them giving me exactly what I want. What I want
is a genetic offspring who is blood related to me. I want to be a
“normal” father who would have no question who the child’s “real” dad
was. There would never be a thought the child may have to find his/her
biological father. But as the song goes “you can’t always get what you
want, but if you try sometimes you just might find you get what you
need”.

Despite DS giving my wife and I the closest thing to what we want, it
still presents many fears. Even selecting a DS that looks closest to
me what if the child looks exactly like his/her DS? What would people
say to us (wife, child and myself) and what emotions would that bring
out? The big fear is what if I when we told the child I was not their
biological father that the child then went out to seek his/her
biological father and would they think less of me as their parent if
they formed a relationship with that biological father. What will that
do emotionally to the child? Would the child also think less of my
wife that she choose to go down this path? Those are the fears of if
we select DS and it works. The other fears are if we select DS and IUI
doesn’t work how emotionally it may cripple us. Would we reach a point
where we can’t go through anymore? We’ve been through enough already,
how much more could we take? Do we want to subject ourselves to
further loss?

If you put those fears aside DS does allow the child to have one of
our blood lines in it. It gives us the experience of my wife going
through a pregnancy and seeing the child born. We have a better idea
of where the child came from that we would with adoption. Although
still not a clear picture as there is with natural conception.

The fears with adoption are similar to the fears with DS. First is the
process of adopting and what that can do emotionally. It will take
time and from what I hear can be an emotional roller-coaster. Second
is the child’s background (personality and make up) and what
challenges that can present to the child. Third is whether the
biological parents ever wanted to come back into the child’s life and
take them from us. And similar to DS what would happen to our
relationship with the child if they wanted to seek out their
biological parents.

What adoption would give us is a guaranteed ability to be a parent of
a child. There would be no medical procedures my wife would have to go
through. On top of it all it would be giving a child their forever
home that they lack yet ultimately deserve.

The last option we have is one I never imagined or thought of at any
point in my life, which is for my wife and I to live a child free
life. My wife would be ok with this and feels we could still live a
fulfilling life. It would give us the freedom to be spontaneous and
not have to worry about the impact of that having on a child. Along
with the freedom to travel, which we both enjoy.

However, for me I feel that if this is what we decide to do that I
will always have regret and wonder what might have been. There are
things I want to experience as a father (taking the baby home from the
hospital, first walk, first day of kindergarten, graduations,
weddings, etc.) that I would feel I missed out on. I know I will
always feel that a part of my life (no pun intended) would be missing.
Plus I don’t want to deny my wife to become the great mother she has
the potential to be. We would be great parents.

This whole situation has really made me question whether there is a
higher being who has control of all of this. I look and I see so many
bad parents and kids that are born into unwanted situations and ask
why is that allowed to happen but you have two good people who would
be great parents yet not allow them to conceive a child that is
biologically theirs. My wife tells me its no use in asking those
questions because they can’t be answered. But it still bothers me that
this is the case with us and so many deserving couples out there.

I wanted to be a “normal” father but I know deep down that its not
something I will ever be. I may become someone’s father but it certainly won’t feel normal. It’s something I have to learn to accept but
I am not sure how long that will take or if the decision we end up
making is the best fit for us and a potential child. My biggest fear is making the wrong decision and ruining someone else’s life.

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6 thoughts on “Our IF Journey

  1. Pingback: Toughest Six Months of My Life | A Few Pieces Missing From Normalcy - An Infertile Man's Perspective

  2. Katie

    Thank you for posting your blog. I came across it last night after some searches. We found out my husband has a zero sperm count after 2 years of trying to conceive. We are waiting on the blood work to figure out our next steps. It is a very confusing time and it is comforting to know what we are feeling in this struggle is “normal” in this messed up situation. Best of luck to you and your wife!

    Reply
    1. beautifulfamily28

      Katie, I recently started a blog about the journey my husband and I have been going on, it might help – I don’t know for sure that it would help, but I started writing it because I know I would have liked being able to hear about other couple’s similar experiences. It helps knowing you aren’t alone. beautifulfamily28.wordpress.com

      Reply
  3. Pingback: One year Blogiversary | A Few Pieces Missing From Normalcy – An Infertile Man's Perspective

  4. beautifulfamily28

    This is an amazing entry. It is fascinating hearing your perspective. Especially because you are much more willing to express your emotions about this situation than my husband has ever been. You perhaps have discussed this in your later entries (I will eventually have the time to sit down and read through more of your entries) but in regards to a higher power comment: I got so sick of hearing people try to tell me that this is “God’s Plan” – I don’t mind if people are religious and believe in God, and if thinking that everything that happens in their life is because it is part of some sort of bigger plan, but I don’t believe our infertility is part of any plan. In my mind, things just don’t work that way. I don’t find any comfort in that thought.

    Reply
    1. gsmwc02 Post author

      My wife and I have come a very long way since this post last year. Personally I’ve come a long way. My mindset and perspective is very different. I’m more open to adopting than I was when I wrote this post. I’m also not in the depressed state I was in last year. Though my wife and I haven’t done anything with regards building our family we’ve instead worked on strengthening our relationship. Which regardless of whether we become parents is the most important thing.

      Reply

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