Gents, fancy having a listen to some chats about your fertility? Probably not, is your first reply, but what if I told you they were from other guys like you who were given the blow that they might not be able to make a baby – the way you were brought up to think. Also that with 1 in 6 couples dealing with infertility issues, the ratio is 50/ 50 male to female factors. It’s just Men don’t get properly looked at!!
Let me explain.. my name is Natalie and I host The Fertility Podcast. In 2013, my hubby and I had been having tests as we had been trying to get pregnant for a while. Just before Christmas, on 23rd December we went to get the results of some private tests we’d had, to be told by a really shitty ‘Lead Consultant’ that the ‘problem’ was my husband and we needed ICSI. You can imagine how that Christmas was. So without really asking any questions, we found a clinic and started the conversations. At New Year we made a little toast to our baby and after one round of ICSI in May 2014 we were pregnant and our son was born in March 2015. We were so lucky. Our route to parenthood wasn’t straight forward but it wasn’t as complicated as a lot of the people I speak to on my podcast.
I decided to launch my podcast in September 2014, once pregnant. I work in broadcasting and had already been creating podcasts and felt strongly that this topic of infertility and struggling to make a baby needed a voice. It’s hard enough to talk about, whilst being overwhelming and all consuming and once I started looking I found an amazing online community and people who were willing to share their personal stories, as well as experts were keen to share their knowledge. So here I am today 85 episodes in and going strong.
Just to go back a bit to our journey, my hubby really struggled with how we were dealt with. I don’t know about your experience, but during our visits to the GP, the fertility consultant, the clinic – everybody directed the conversation and me, my husband was pretty much ignored. We didn’t really get any guidance about what he could do to improve his sperm health. We took it all on ourselves to use Dr Google to get ideas about diet and fitness. My husband was a personal trainer and health coach so was already really looking after himself, but he stopped cycling and wearing tight pants, took his mobile out of his pocket, looked at removing any soy in his diet and tried to eat food that we’d read could help. I know James has written lots more about this.
What I am keen to share with you is what I have discovered since going through fertility treatment when it comes to male fertility health and hopefully arms you with more knowledge so you will feel empowered to ask more questions.
Episode 79 – The Fertility Podcast: Poor sperm doesn’t have to lead straight to fertility treatment
Firstly, I’ve realised that Men aren’t physically examined during fertility treatment. My husband and I recently visited a Urologist called Jonathan Ramsey to do an interview for my podcast. Jonathan gives a fascinating insight into how he feels men are often fast-tracked into fertility treatment rather than doing any further investigations to see if sperm health can be improved, Jonathan then examined my husband – which nobody else has ever done, our son is now 2, so you see how ridiculous this is.
Episode 83 – The Fertility Podcast: What is andrology? + an interview with Scantily Dad(starts @ 31 mins & 20 secs)
A two-minute physical examination can help a specialist to see whether there is any more investigation needed such as an ultrasound ( which all women get at the start of investigation) to looking to see if there is a varicocele which requires a small operation to fix. My chat with Andrologist Dr Sheryl Homa who has a clinic in London dedicated to male fertility explains more about how such operations have proven to improve fertility treatment. You will also hear my chat with James about his journey in this episode.
Episode 66 – The Fertility Podcast: Come on Gents…Test your sperm!
There are more tests than I think you guys realise when it comes to sperm health, so if you aren’t managing to get pregnant and have been given the result of ‘unexplained infertility’ don’t be shy about asking for more tests either at your clinic, or you can seek them out yourself at Sheryl’s clinic – Andrology Solutions or there’s one called Sperm Comet which looks at sperm DNA damage which has been linked to recurrent miscarriage. You can hear more from it’s founder Dr Sheena Lewis being discussed in this episode
Episode 75 – The Fertility Podcast: Did you know there’s a Man only facebook page to talk about infertility?
I appreciate this is information overload for your ears, but I really hope you find this is easy to consume and really useful. I’ve learnt so much about what’s out there for men and whilst I know you’re reluctant to ask for help you could just have a listen and see what you think.
In particular, to chat to a guy called Gareth Down who has set up a men only Facebook group. Gareth shares his journey and how he’s now helping more men feel like they have a place to go to talk. I’ve realised just how little support there is for guys to talk about how you feel, so an anonymous forum could be just what you need.
Episode 80 – The Fertility Podcast: Male Infertility in numbers
I also learnt about further research that is currently being done (June 2017) asking Men to share their feelings about their infertility journey online, confidentially so if this is something you would like to do you can hear all about it in this episode. I think it’s running until approx September 2017
After what we went through, with my husband feeling shitty about everything and how it still affects him now as we’re trying to work out how best to try and make number two happen… please don’t suffer in silence.
Infertility in nobody’s fault. Remember if you change nothing, nothing will change.
Follow me on twitter and instagram @fertilitypoddy
Subscribe to my podcast via iTunes or www.thefertilitypodcast.com