My husband, Brian, has no sperm. It’s true––he has absolutely NO sperm. None. Zero. Zilch.
And that’s the most heartbreaking thing I’ve ever experienced.
Our journey started at the beginning of 2020—and nothing could have prepared us for what was ahead. After many tests, semen samples, bloodwork, tears, exams, a diagnosis of azoospermia, chromosome testing, more tears and lastly, a surgery where they cut into Brian’s testicles to extract viable sperm for IVF, we faced our biggest heartache of all: the surgery team didn’t find any.
Brian’s biopsy results showed he has something called Sertoli Cell-Only Syndrome, which is one of the rarest but most serious causes of male infertility. In simple terms, it takes two types of cells to create sperm: Sertoli cells and germ cells. My amazing husband was born with a complete absence of the germ cells.
As a fertile wife, I felt incredibly lonely during this journey. Friends and family couldn’t relate to what we’re going through. I didn’t connect with the women I met in a support group who were dealing with female infertility––I was the only one who didn’t have fertility issues of my own. I couldn’t find many resources or stories about men who have absolutely no sperm and what it’s like being a fertile wife.
This is why we decided to share our most personal journey in an incredibly real, raw and vulnerable way with the world. I started a blog to help educate others on male infertility, provide transparent details about our journey to parenthood and hopefully make the next fertile woman or infertile man feel a bit less alone. Plus, my husband shows up now and then as a guest blogger to give his perspective on what we’re dealing with!
Here’s #WhatIWantYouToKnow about male infertility:
It’s more common than you think. It’s not always the woman’s issue. While many cases are treatable, there are some (like ours) that are unfortunately not.
The fact that our future children won’t share DNA with my husband is incredibly heartbreaking. While we are extremely grateful for the options of donor sperm or adoption, the grief that comes with the loss of our life-long dream is sometimes unbearable. We’ll never be able to look at our children and say they have Brian’s eyes or smile or tell them that they got their big ears from his great-great grandfather.
There’s nothing you can say to make us feel better. Just support us and love us. If you’re not sure if something is appropriate to say, it’s probably not––remember this: your words (even if they’re well-meaning) have a lot of power.
If your partner is physically impacted by infertility, it’s OK for you to feel the emotional pain and sadness, too. You’re in this together–it’s not a “you journey”; it’s an “us journey.”
Lastly, #WhatIWantYouToKnow is that while infertility is a very lonely journey, you are not alone. I see you.