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A Father's View of Infertility

by Lisa Belkin,  New York Times,  June 17, 2010
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Illustration by Barry Falls

Wanting a child makes no sense. It means signing up for sleepless nights, strained bank accounts and years of worry. Fortunately for the species, the wanting comes from a part of us that has nothing to do with common sense.

Wanting but not conceiving also makes no sense. It feels like a personal failure, although obviously it is not. It takes what we are taught should be natural, and romantic and inevitable, and makes it mechanical and impersonal and uncertain. Until recently, it was also assumed to be the realm of women. They have the more complicated biology, they were thought to most often be “the problem,” they felt each failed attempt more deeply.

But a man going through infertility treatments would beg to differ. And they are doing so at increased volume. In a book out this summer, “How to Make Love to a Plastic Cup,” Greg Wolfe takes aim at the shelves full of books aimed at women. “We’re worth twenty-three out of forty-six chromosomes,” he writes in his guide for men. “Shouldn’t we be allowed a little insight and information on the process too?”

And in a guest post today, writer Mike Adamick takes on anyone who thinks that the decision to have a child, and the inability to make that happen, isn’t a deeply emotional journey for men. His daughter Emmeline is 4. He can’t imagine having a second, jostling the perfect trio. He can’t imagine not having a second, not completing the family. And he can’t understand why what he wants isn’t happening, and why that pains him so deeply. Read more.


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