Lisa and I used to run a couple’s support Group through Resolve in Arizona and it was always interesting when the guys in the group started to open up about their infertility experience.
Although I know Lisa has a different viewpoint on my initial resistance to medical intervention in our conception efforts, I wasn’t being intentionally obstructionist.
Mostly, I didn’t have a clue about what the doctors were talking about. I don’t think the drive to have a human being grow inside of you is biologically hardwired into guys. How could it be when we don’t have a uterus?
Most of the feedback during the support groups from guys reflected confusion and anger towards the cost and rudeness of the clinic staff. But the after meeting banter was when the most telling revelations were made.
Some guys were fearful of the lives they’d led before their fertility challenges. Drugs, multiple sexual partners…the corner of the room near the refreshment table became a confessional on many occasions. Other guys felt like they were entering into a gambling addiction. Though the cost of the entry level fertility procedure–the IUI was $400, the statistical odds of success–always provided at the end of the fertility doctor’s office pitch…were less than 20% on a good day.
The one common thread was, they still held on to the romantic notion that a night of passion could produce a baby, and many lamented the waning spontaneity of their sex lives, and how utilitarian their genitalia had become in the process of providing their contribution to each fertility procedure.
After several meetings, a lot of guys voiced their struggle to understand why their wives were suddenly willing to go to such lengths to have a child. Was something missing in their marriage? Were they not providing some emotional need that their wives were now seeking out from the warmth of cradling a baby in their arms?
The last (and fifth) fertility doctor Lisa and I hired, in our sixth year of infertility, finally helped put it in perspective for me. He explained for a woman, having a baby is a basic biological need. Growing a human is as ingrained in a woman’s biology as eating and sleeping.
The simple reality is that because guys have no uterus, we really have no clue about the driving force that motivates women to put their bodies and minds through hell for just a chance to have a biological child.
I realized that just as I could never deny my wife the air she needs to take a breath in, I shouldn’t deny her the need to nourish her womb with the growth of a baby.