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Infertility Cubby

Relationship Issues From Male Factor Infertility
by Joanna Ellington, Ph.D., Reproductive Physiologist

Dr. Joanna EllingtonQ. We recently found out that my husband is infertile after trying for 2 years to have a baby. We hope that IVF treatments may be able to help us but the oulook isn't good. I'm finding it hard to cope with the feeling of being "let down" by my husband and everything he does wrong is starting to irritate me. I don't want to fall out of love with him, but this is a very testing time for our relationship.

A lot of the advice out there is focused on women who are infertile. As far as I know I'm healthy and could easily have a child naturally with another partner. I'd like to know how other women married to infertile men cope with the situation.

A. First of all you are not alone; 50% of infertile couples have male factor issues. I strongly suggest that you read all you can to understand your situation. How serious is it? Are you working with a Clincial Andrologist who can help you make a good plan? Look at lifestyle changes, no smoking, limit drinking, weight loss, and vitamins for your husband. This is not hopeless, and even if he has NO sperm you can use donor sperm.

I also really think you two need to see a counselor. For you to feel such disappointment in him makes me concerned that there maybe other issues. Infertility is like any disease. These situations either bring couples together or push them apart. You need to figure out where you want to be BEFORE you have any children!

Take care and get someone for you two to work with to help you both understand the infertility and your options and the grief and anger you have.

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