Tony’s story – Male factor problems

I’d an operation for undescended testicles years back and when we had problems getting pregnant, they diagnosed pretty quickly that it was down to me and my sperm. The count was low, and they thought it might be related to the operation.

Once we were referred to the hospital, I found it more difficult – it was my problem, but we weren’t treated as a couple. It was all about Rachel and what she was going to have to go through for us to have a baby. The consultant only talked to me to tell me how poor my sperm was, although he said we should be OK for ICSI.

We couldn’t get NHS treatment so we had to start saving right away. That was one of the hardest things, as we had to stop all the good stuff. We couldn’t go out, we couldn’t go on holiday, we couldn’t buy things for the house, we couldn’t buy clothes. My mum and dad lent us some money, and eventually we got there – but it was hard going. At one point I was doing double shifts in two different jobs – I stopped because we decided it was so stressful it was probably going to make my sperm even worse than they were already.

I think it’s harder for men because everyone expects you to just get on with it. It’s not something you talk about at the pub. I did tell a few of my mates, but it was always a bit awkward. I talked to one bloke at work about it too. He listened but he was like “Oh, it’s just one of those things…”. People are more sympathetic to women.

During the treatment, I stopped going to the appointments. At first I went, but I had to take a half-day off work every time and I couldn’t do anything when I was there. In the end we talked about it and I only went to the appointments where we were going to discuss things with the consultant.  I got involved by doing the injections at home as Rachel has got a phobia about needles. I wasn’t looking forward to it at all, but it was OK and that way, I was part of what was happening.

I didn’t think it was going to work – I really didn’t think it was going to work. We were in shock when Rachel got the positive test result, and we still are. I can’t believe we are going to have a baby after all this time and all the negative remarks, but I can’t wait to be a dad

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