Infertility is ruining our relationship, SOS!

Paige - posted on 04/06/2015 ( 13 moms have responded )

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Hi moms,

My partner and I have been going through fertility treatments for over two years now. I have a child from a previous relationship, and my man has taken her on as his own. We want to have another child while my first is still young, so there isn't a big age gap. We found out that he has a very low sperm count and mobility, and since then it has been a roller coaster of emotions between us. I would rather get a sperm donor, but he has told me he "made the decision" to get IVF and that's that. Our communication has gone down the toilet ladies. I understand this is a sensitive issue for men (women too for that matter) but how can we deal with this if we can't talk? No matter how I approach him, on any subject regarding fertility, he ends up getting mad. If I force the issue, he goes days without speaking to me. He has a plan and he views any disagreement, or wanting further discussion, as an attack. I don't understand how he can claim to love my daughter as his own, then fight tooth and nail to have his own. He claims sperm donation won't be his own kid. I am starting to fear that once 'his' baby is here, my daughter's relationship with him will suffer. We have had an amazing relationship until these issues with fertility. I understand stress changes people, but I'm lost as to how to get that relationship back. Am I being paranoid? How can I rebuild a team/partnership again? If anyone has gone though relationship issues due to infertility, I would love to hear from you. I love my man, and don't want a baby to be the solution or cause of our issues. Thanks in advance!

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Raye - posted on 04/08/2015

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Jeremy, have you had low sperm count? and was diet and exercise how you fixed the problem? Your comments are noteworthy only in that it is good advice to anyone wanting to be healthier. I just don't think it is very helpful to this woman's situation unless you experienced the same issue.

Jeremy - posted on 04/07/2015

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If you truly want another child, both of you need to change your diet and exercise. Stop eating processed food and pop and all the other junk food. Most food contain pesticides and herbicides. In fact, we as americans aren't even allowed to know whats in our food, water, soda, or other things we ingest every day. Next time you're at a grocery store, look at the ingredients on lucky charms and you'll find "trisodium phosphate" which be its own definition is PAINT THINNER. And yet people wonder why they get sick..

Start eating organics and daily exercise. Also, cut down on alcohol and cigarettes. You'll be amazed how good you feel on a natural and organic diet.

Ledia - posted on 04/07/2015

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What is the reason that you prefer using a donor? You would still be doing IUI to get pregnant right? Is there a reason you prefer IUI over IVF? (I'm not trying to be pushy--I know the onslaught of questions can come off that way--I just want to understand your point of view)

IUI can actually be very effective even using sperm with a low sperm count and mobility because the sperm is inserted directly into the womb--thus eliminating the mobility issue. His sperm can also be frozen so that multiple "doses" can be inserted during ovulation, thus raising the sperm count. If you are going to do IUI anyway, why not give it a shot with his own sperm first?

In IVF, the egg and sperm are fertilized outside the womb, then the fertilized eggs are inserted into the uterus. Low sperm count and mobility would not be an issue for IVF, because fertilization is done in the lab then only the fertilized eggs are put back into the womb. It virtually eliminates the chances of not getting pregnant unless your uterus refuses the egg (which isn't your issue), so there isn't any need for a donor and he still gets to have his own biological child.

Lastly, it seems the most logical compromise if you don't want to use his sperm is to have a baby with neither your genes or his--adopt :) I know a lot of people get offended at the idea of adoption, but I'm adopted, and my life would have been a living Hell if my parents hadn't decided to love me as their own child. I truly am THEIR child--they did make me, even if it wasn't biological. They made me who I am, so I am theirs. I wouldn't have been the person I am now if they hadn't raised me. Plus, adoption is great--you can pick the kid you want! Get a girl close to your daughter's age, or maybe a little baby brother, or funny little toddler--they're cute! Even an older sibling (Warning though that many of the school aged kids are emotionally damaged from being in the system and will require more attention than you might be prepared for. I was about 5 when I was adopted, and I still have some left over issues stemming from those early years even though I don't remember them, so if you want easy, it's best to go with a baby, but they are harder to adopt because the demand is very high for them. The older a child gets, the easier they are to adopt because no one really wants us--we can be pretty awesome once we're sure you love us though!!)

Raye - posted on 04/07/2015

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You said that you knew in the beginning that the sperm was the issue, but how recent was the decision to get IVF? What is your opposition to getting this procedure? Why not give it a try? How would you feel if the situation were reversed and he suggested getting a surrogate? It can be devastating to some people that, 1) they are the cause of the issue and that, 2) they may not be able to have their own biological child.

I think it's absolutely normal that he would want a child that is biologically his. It doesn't mean that "his" child will replace "your" child, or that he would love your daughter any less. It's just many men have been conditioned to think of their family line being continued by their children. Their genetic material will live on after them, and that is a sort of immortality. The pressure may be on him more so if he doesn't have siblings that have children, as the immediate family line may die with him.

I used to work with a woman that was having trouble conceiving. She had scarring around her cervix from a previous procedure. I don't know all the details, but they had been trying for a long time and had tried different procedures. Sex became a chore to them, they would fight, and it resulted in her being fed up with the whole thing and she had an affair with another co-worker. I don't know if they stayed together, as they moved away to give their marriage one more chance. But these kinds of pressures can really get to people and destroy what would have otherwise been a fairy tale marriage.

I would hate to see your marriage end because you can't talk to each other about your wants and needs. If you go to counseling, you both need to have an open mind and really listen to what the other person is saying. I've seen counseling go bad when both people are only looking for the counselor to validate their own opinion and say "I told you so" to the other person. If either of you have that mind set, it won't work. You need to really want to work it out and be willing to compromise to get a result you can be content with.

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Sarah - posted on 04/08/2015

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Hang in there Paige and keep working for a resolution. This part is what makes marriage hard, but when you keep working to resolve an issue you gain so much more in the end. Something you may want to investigate if you get to this point in your journey is if there are private adoption agencies. I don't know much about Canada, but work in adoption in the US. Here there is adopting through the state which is just like you described for the Canadian process. You first need to do foster care and I do agree with you....that is VERY hard to do when you so want to have a child. In the US there is also the option of adopting through a private agency. This is voluntary termination by the birth parents so does not require foster care. It has more expenses then through the state, but there are grants you can get to offset the cost. Anyway, your journey will take you where you are suppose to be. It won't be easy but keep working through it. You may end up where you thought you would or you may end up with a whole new plan that will give you great joy in the end.

Paige - posted on 04/08/2015

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Thanks so much ladies. I really appreciate all of the feedback.

Raye, to answer your questions, we decided on a fertility plan two years ago when we first started having issues (to what extent we would try to have a baby, when we would call it quits, what we can realistically afford, etc.) My reasons for rather having a donation are that it is 1.) unbelievably cheaper, 2.) My partner has crones disease, and having a donor would cut the risk of this being past down to our children, 3.) We wouldn't have to wait to have the baby, which we will have to do with IVF since we will be traveling overseas to do it because Canada is really expensive compared to other countries, 4.) I feel that if both of our children were not biologically his, my daughter would feel less replaced and would bond better with the baby, seeing as how my partner chose to love both of them. They may seem like silly reasons to you, but they aren't to me. I understand that this is a loss. I am 25 years old and there is a very real possibility I will never have anymore children. However, since we both want more children, I do not see a donor as a negative or bad thing. I understand men sometimes see this differently -hence our communication problems and me asking for advice on how to deal with this. As for why I am against IVF, I'm not. If in the end we BOTH decided that is the best course for our family, great. But my issue is that it should be a JOINT decision. We may have different ideas on which way it the better option for achieving a better family (me - donor, him - IVF) but that doesn't or shouldn't make it a negative thing with opposing sides. We have discussed adoption, and while I think it is an extremely commendable thing, we simply couldn't do it. Here you have to be a foster parent for two years before the courts will even consider adoption. Imagine, for a moment, being told that you can't have any more kids, then imagine what it would be like to have a kid one month, then not the next, for two whole years. Power to those women who are emotionally strong enough to do this, but I can honestly say I am not. It would destroy me. I wouldn't be able to help but get attached to those children. Thankfully, my partner feels the same way. We have looked into adoption in different countries, but it can take years.

Thank you to all the ladies who gave me advice on how to communicate better with my partner. I really, truly, appreciate your feedback on how to deal with this, and especially the advice on how to deal with counselling. I think you are right, it will all be about the mind-set going in and I will definitely be remembering that tomorrow when we go!

Kayla - posted on 04/07/2015

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I struggled with the thought of not being able to conceive. My boyfriend has two children from a previous relationship the youngest being 10 years old. I recently found out I am pregnant but that wasn't until nearly 6 months after we started trying. Don't bring up the sperm donation because he is right that will NOT be his. And as far as the treatments are concerned see about some all natural remedies as well. If he is unable to get you pregnant it is not your fault so do not feel bad and if he loves you and your daughter nothing will change. It saddened me to think about not being able to have a child with my partner because he has already experienced the joy but he never made it an issue for me. You two have to be more understanding of one another and support each other regardless. Don't make him feel worthless because he is not especially if he is treating the little girl you have from a previous relationship well. Which is hard to do might I add!!!! Just pray on it and god will give you your answers. Maybe it's not the time. I now know that timing is not on our side.. We just bought a 1 bedroom condo cash and I found out I was pregnant a week later. I wish I got a two bedroom now but guess what! Timing is a funny thing! I still consider it a blessing! And will be converting my precious dining room into a bedroom if we can't find another buying opportunity very soon. Best of luck. Keep your head up and be supportive no matter what!

Sarah - posted on 04/06/2015

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You are right that it should be a joint decision. That is great you are going to start counseling. That hopefully will help. Infertility is tough and some handle it better than others. Stay positive. The counseling is a good sign and maybe a GREAT leap for him.

As for my kids. They were both very excited for #3. The oldest said it was about time and the middle one had been wishing to not be the youngest and have a sibling for a long time. They enjoy spending time with #3. #3 is 3 years old and they still want her to sit on their lap or go with them. That is not to say there is not the normal sibling stuff. My oldest likes to pick on his siblings and that includes the youngest. ....she will pick right back. My middle one will do the same and the youngest will tattle. Each one of them have their special bond with each other. Just like normal siblings there are times they are best friends and worst enemies at times. As I have seen with my older ones I think that bond changes as you mature. My older two now have conversations instead of fighting so much. A few things that I do think has helped them adjust is that though they are expected to help and sometimes babysit their sister it is not overbearing. We also did not stop doing what we as a family do. We are a busy and active family. My older ones are involved in music and sports.....we still do all those things now just with a little one. She goes with us to concerts and tournaments. When we go on vacation we are constantly on the go as we want to do and see all that we can. We continued to do that just with a baby. So even though life did change there was a lot that we kept the same and just added another one to the mix.

Paige - posted on 04/06/2015

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We found out in the beginning that it is an issue with his sperm, so realistically speaking, after two years, we should be able to discuss it. We have an appointment for counselling on Thursday, something after a YEAR of asking, he finally agreed to. I understand it is a loss, I feel it as well, but shouldn't what we do about it be a joint decision? Am I wrong on thinking this? Just because it is his sperm that has the issue doesn't mean the treatment should be his decision as well right? I feel this should come with an etiquette book or something! Also, was wondering about your children that are 10 years apart. When you speak of them, you say you are so happy. How did they feel about eachother? Many people I have spoken who are years (5+) apart with the siblings said they didn't really get along or bond until they got much older. As much as I would love another child, my first responsibility is to my first child that is already here. I feel that if we wait a long time, or it takes a long time, she will have a tough time dealing with going from an only child to sharing us. Something all kids go through, I'm sure, yet I feel the issue of kids feeling replaced might come up since he is not her biological dad. Will she look at this new child and say 'why wasn't I enough?', will she feel like she was just a mistake? These are all things that lead to us wanting another child right away. At this age, she doesn't really comprehend complex thoughts like this. It will be more of an issue of sharing I believe.

Michelle - posted on 04/06/2015

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I agree with the other ladies, the counselling could help to understand what the other is feeling.
He has found out that he is the reason you can't conceive naturally, that's a blow to any man and his "manhood". This is probably why he is insistent on having his own child.

Sarah - posted on 04/06/2015

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I would also suggest counseling. There are counselors that just work with couples that deal with infertility. It is a roller coaster ride and each of you are going to deal with it in your own way. Often times it REALLY helps having a third party to just help bounce off of. Also don't stress yourselves with a time table. That can add more stress to the whole situation. Allow yourselves to adjust to the news and the new situation. Give each other the time they need to process this. He may still be adjusting. This might be his first reaction to the situation and even though he does not want to talk just needs time to accept the news and be open to other things. For him it is a loss. He has to grieve. He may adore and love your daughter to death and feels no different towards her as he would his own child, but now that option of having his "own" child has been taken from him. He did not have a choice in the matter. So for him he is grabbing at anything he can to keep that. Timing between your two children will be perfect no matter if it is soon or years down the road. Your kids no matter the age gap will have a sibling connection. I have two that are 3 1/2 years apart and then the third is 10 years apart from the second and I have loved every minute of that age gap. It has been SO fun watching my kids bond and play.

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