Tuesday, July 18, 2006

A3 - Questions of Self Worth - Bob

Since discovering your own infertilty how has your own view of what it means to be a man changed? Do you believe using another man's sperm changes your view?

I don’t equate fertility with manhood. My infertility is a fact. My status as a man is a fact. Of course, I’ve known about my infertility for five years now. I do remember having feelings of weakness and self doubt in the beginning.

Rather than my view of being a man, what is most impacted is my view of being a husband. My wife was absolutely devastated by not being able to get pregnant by me, and not being able to have kids the old fashioned way. Watching her go through the strains of IVF cycles and failed DI IUIs, and my not being able to “fix” the situation was and is tough. Especially when it was my condition and not hers that caused all the physical pain and mental anguish.

Using another man’s sperm was the most viable fix to our situation. I am grateful that was an option.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is an interesting questions as I am dealing with these issues right now. Being a person who has been dealing with his infertility for only 3 years now and have gone through surgeries, a failed IVF cycle, countless IUIs, and a year of sperm storage (2 times a week)with no success, I am feeling pretty worthless. This experience has made me doubt myself as a man, a person, and a human being. I look at it as this donor is a better man than me because he will do something I have wanted to do all my life......have a child. I also feel like less of a man compared to this guy because he is better man because he can get my wife pregnant. So to answer the question, YES my fertility has changed my view of how I see myself...it has made me feel not like a man at all. I don't feel like my wife has to go to a real man, another man to fullfill her dream of having a child. Yes, her dream was to have a child with me but I wasn't "man" enough to (as my brother would say) get the job done.

I think the fact that we have to use another man's sperm scares the heck out of me because it is inviting another man into our marriage and gives him a connection to my wife and this child I will never have.....ever. That connection is "fathering" a child. I think this whole thing has changed my life. I only hope that is hasn't been changed for ever. But hope is something I have less of since the years have gone by.

12:41 PM  
Blogger DI_Dad said...

Dear Anonymous - I am not sure if you are already a member of the Yahoo DI Dads discussion group but perhaps joining the discussion there will help you realize that you are still you despite the use of DI as many of the men there have gone through this same experience. - Eric

1:40 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The situation has made me feel like less than a man. kinda in between male and female, just stuck in the middle. I don't feel normal and I feel even worst knowing that I cannot give my wife what she desires. A Child between us.

6:51 PM  
Blogger Hoot said...

All I can say, when we told our son of his conception at age 20, and after he gave much thought, he told me what an amazing man I was to be able to give him life. I was not the donor, but I am his Dad.

5:13 AM  
Anonymous Louis said...

The better man is not the man who produces the sperm; the better man is the man who raises the child, loves the child, teaches the child what the child needs to know and provides the example to the child of how a man should live.

My father sired eleven childen, proving only that he was fertile. With the truly important opportunity, that of raising the children carrying his DNA, he was a miserable failure.

If you believe you are not a man because you cannot produce a child genetically, then, indeed, you will become what you believe. If, in the alternative, you believe you are the best father you can be for your child regardless of the fact that DI was required to conceive the child, then again, you can choose to do that.

I was raised in a home with nine brothers and sisters. I raised four children in a previous marriage. I can tell you from experience that fatherhood is 99% environmental and 1% genetic. What a child learns from his father and the bonds created between the father and child have very little to do with genetics.

From the tone and content of your note, you have limited the definition of fatherhood and of husbandry solely as the ability to procreate. Nothing could be farther from the truth.

Does your wife truly believe that you are 'not a man' because you are infertile? Have you asked her if she would consider DI, and if she thinks that you are 'not a man' for your infertility?

Being a father is not a 'job' as your brother says; rather, being a father is a calling and a lifelong experience. In fact, it becomes your life, as does being a husband.

Before choosing DI, however, you may want to seek wise counsel on the feelings you express that you 'are not a man', that 'another man is the father of my child' and that 'my wife needs a real man to produce a child.' All that is complete nonsense, and as long as you believe that complete nonsense, you should not consider DI.

6:59 AM  
Blogger Bob said...

Wow, this one has generated some comments! To anonymous, I would say... The donor is not necessarily a better man, although I am very grateful that donors supply the semen, which gives them at least one point toward being a good man in my book. To add to what louis points out, countless worthless men have fathered children. When you are raising your child, you have oodles of opportunities to prove or disprove your manhood.

Being infertile does not subtract from your manhood. Successfully raising a child, and supporting your wife in that endeavor greatly adds to your status as a man.

7:45 AM  

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