As a newly-wed couple in our early 20s, my partner and I wanted to try and do things in the best order. We got married, bought our first home together and then began trying for a baby.
I had surgery in my teenage years due to a mass on one of my testicles and, in the back of my mind, thought conceiving might be a little harder for us than most couples.
But I hadn’t been prepared for what was to come.
After trying for a natural pregnancy for the required 18 months, we consulted with a GP for advice. A few weeks later the results from our tests came through.
I had zero sperm.
I remember it like it was yesterday – I kept thinking ‘this can’t be right’, left work early and went home to talk about the diagnosis with my wife, hoping there had been an error made somewhere. What followed was seven years and eight rounds of IUI treatment (artificial insemination) which failed to work. We racked up quite a lot of debt and my wife had given up hope.
Trying to make sense of it all, I desperately wanted to talk to other men in a similar situation to mine. But, while my wife had the support of web groups and social media throughout our treatment, mine was a very different scenario.
A lot of men feel they have let their partner down if they have the fertility issues
So I decided to set up a private Facebook group, just for men to voice their views.
Over the last few years, it has grown significantly, with each new man bringing his views and reassurance to others on the page.
Something as common as infertility is still a taboo subject, with very few speaking openly about their difficulties. If more people did, it would limit feelings of isolation.
Since then, I have campaigned for the media to talk more about men and infertility, so that we’re included in the conversation as much as women are.
Despite some negative comments, I usually see an upswing in members in the group after articles or interviews around male fertility have been published or broadcast.
This story is part of Fertility Diaries, an ongoing series covering all aspects of fertility.
We launched it thanks to an overwhelming response to Metro.co.uk’s Fertility Month, a month-long series of content that we published across November.
Across four weeks, we spoke to people at all stages of the fertility journey as well as doctors, lawyers and fertility experts who shed light on the most important issues.
The feedback we received has been uniformly positive.
We talked to so many women and men who had the courage to share their stories with us and who told us how much it helped them to hear stories from others.
We had dozens of stories flooding our inbox every day throughout the month. As a result, we simply did not have time to tell all of the stories.
For that reason, we have decided to continue our fertility month as Fertility Diaries and we will continue to publish articles – and to tell your stories – under this tag.
If you have any feedback on the content or your own story to tell, please do get in touch at [email protected]
You can find all Fertility Diaries content here and a selection below.
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