June 8, 2007

It Takes Huge Balls To Write About Infertility

It was a combination of smug self-satifaction and cluelessness that kept me thinking, "Gee, why aren't more people applauding my hilarious LOLSperm Test post the other day? That stuff was FUNNY."

The truth, of course, is that dealing with infertility can be excruciating and exhausting. And though men are as likely as women to experience infertility, the Trying To Conceive industry and culture is overwhelmingly female-oriented.

Which is why these blogs written by men in the middle of TTC really resonate. Coincidentally or not, both aspiring dads are journalists who have taken themselves and their wives on as subjects. They're not the first guys to write about low sperm counts and uncomfortable waits at the reproductive endocrinologist, but they both offer clear, funny, thoughtful voices on an undercovered topic.

maybebaby_banner.jpg

Maybe Baby is Matthew M.F. Miller's six-months-and-counting tale of ovulation cycle tracking, testing, and band practice. He and his wife are in what I'd call the diagnostic phase. There's a will and a way, but so far, they're still in unassisted territory, trying to see what's keeping them from getting pregnant.

Unassisted doesn't mean they're short of advice on how to get pregnant:

One of the most dismissive things people can utter to an infertile couple is, “Just stop trying and it will happen.” Another slap-dash attempt at providing a quick fix is, “You two should just take a vacation where you don’t have to think about anything, and you’ll be pregnant in no time,” which is something two people have suggested to us in the past month. And it’s not that I’m opposed to the concept of leisure: I’d be happy to live out a Mexican-infertility beach dream if they are inclined to pony-up the funds. Either way, a blended margarita and a sandy bottom are not going to give Constance and me a baby.

This advice is about as helpful as recommending that we down a bottle of tequila and spend a passionate night in my childhood bedroom because it works like a charm for so many teenage couples.

Miller's pretty damn funny and insightful, even when they're stuck in twin beds next to his in-laws when the egg timer goes off. [I would've thought the only way to top that is with a, "Yeah, brah, we've all been there," but Matthew has an even better ending.]

Maybe Baby also has an extensive blogroll which I'm slowly working my way through. [If you have any especially good or useful fertility-related blogs and web resources for guys, definitely add them below.]


mechan_repro_nypost.jpg

The Millers' experience mirrors so many people's who discover and deal with fertility challenges gradually, one negative pregnancy test at a time. By contrast, Jeremy Olshan's known about his low sperm count for a long time, so when he and his wife decided to try for a baby, they knew they'd be going the technologically assisted route.

Olshan started blogging about their experience and their first round of IVF treatments on Mechanical Reproduction, which is hosted by the paper where he works, the New York Post.

It's only been a week, but so far Jeremy's managed a post about the awkwardness of telling your parents you're trying IVF and a brief historical roundup of medical breakthroughs! for curing infertility that sound as cuh-razy to us today as nightly Lupron injections might seem to parents in 2050. Did someone say Lupron? The showpiece of Olshan's blog to date has to be the couple's failed attempt to inject the ovulation-managing hormone in a burrito joint restroom while a filmmaker friend recorded the whole thing on her digicam. Instead of going to the movies as originally planned [Knocked Up; I'm dying to read his eventual review], they end up racing around Manhattan's 24-hr pharmacies looking for a new supply. Where's Kozmo.com when you really need them?

Maybe Baby [maybebaby.ctwfeatures.com]
Mechanical Reproduction [blogs.nypost.com/olshan]
Related: Do you have a favorite aspiring dad blog out there, or are you keeping one yourself? Share it below.

4 Comments

I'm infertile so we had to use a sperm donor. The day the grabbed the eggs from my wife, they sent me to the special waiting room. The one with the good magazines and videos. I had to run out and tell them that they, while I would love to spend some time in the special waiting room, they might want to go get the frozen sperm out of the fridge to mix with the eggs they were taking out of my wife. Sometimes even the medical fertility professionals have trouble realizing that men could be the reason why the couple has fertility issues.

[that said, now I'm wondering why more waiting rooms aren't better equipped. Though I guess it'd get awkward real fast if it's crowded. -ed.]whil

Thanks for the plug. The best thing to come out of this so far is hearing everyone else's experiences. I now know I'm not alone. It seems crazy to me that in 2007 we're still ashamed to talk about this stuff.

Wow - I'm really moved, and so thankful that you promoted my blog. I really appreciate that kind of support, and this work makes it all a lot easier.

And I really do love your blog - this totally makes my week.

Thank you, thank you, thank you.

Wow, I had no idea that men got the baby jones as badly as women. Sorry for being so dismissive. I couldn't really relate to the concept until we decided that it wouldn't be such a bad idea to have a sibling for our two year old daughter and I didn't get pregnant within three months like I did the first time. We weren't really trying as much as not trying not to get pregnant, but still, six months into it I was convinced I was a barren void. At this point (I'm 32 weeks pregnant), it sounds goofy, but my hormones were going crazy and every time I peed on a stick with no double line, I got really depressed.

A friend who had been trying for over two years and whose OB was about to put her on fertility drugs went to see an acupuncturist on a whim and managed to get pregnant after three sessions. I figured I'd give it a go and was pregnant by my fourth weekly visit. I have no idea whether or not the acupuncture helped but it made me feel better. Ancient Chinese secret or whatever. Possibly the half hour I had to spend laying down in the dark with needles sticking out of me forced me to mellow out. I have no idea if this is supposed to help men, but hey, it might be worth a shot...

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