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Marriage in crisis

(14 Posts)
toodaloo Sat 05-Apr-14 16:40:34


To cut a long story short, DH has been told he has testicular failure and there is only a small chance that surgical sperm retrieval will work.

DH has suffered with depression and anxiety on and off for a long time but is currently not on any medication. This news about his fertility has been devestating to him and has triggered off a massive health anxiety in him. We have been having couples counceling at the hospital.

DH doesn't want to go the donor sperm or adoption route and is not keen on the surgical sperm retrieval route. He thinks we should divorce as he feels it would be selfish to stand in my way. So what do I do? Due to my age the odds are not the best anyway, I don't want to end our marriage but can I deal without at least doing everything I can. I don't know. I wish I had a crystal ball into the future. We have talked and talked but we just go around in circles. I can feel our marriage slipping away and I don't know what to do.

There is nothing anyone can say or do I know but it feels cathartic writing it down.

naty1 Sat 05-Apr-14 21:06:00

We were in a similar position they said did we want donor sperm as backup for icsi we said no had a go and luckily had enough and it worked.
I dont think DH would have wanted to go donor sperm but if roles were reversed i would have had donor eggs.(so would have been very upset with him preventing me having a baby when there was nothing that could be done about it. )so i expect once it was the only choice he would have gone with it.
And it would i imagine be simpler than adoption but of course then there is the fact the baby would be yours but not his genetically.
If you really want a baby you would be 'happy' with 'donor sperm or eggs' if its the only option.
Also to reject the SSR well i know its painful but come on so its not painful to have injections of ivf drugs ,eggs collected by a giant needle under GA. And then if it does work labour.
And ivf itself has 10-40% chance of success depending on age etc so women have to be willing to do several tries.
Of course with donor sperm maybe iui would work.
I suppose i think in a couple it is your duty to at least try to have a baby if thats what you agreed you wanted to start with.
Why is he worried about health ? It doesnt mean his health is affected does it?
My OH was never told that but then all his hormones can back ok his was unexplained.
But he probably could be with losing weight (bmi30)
Could it not just be age related? Mens fertility declines from 35 too they think.

sharond101 Sat 05-Apr-14 22:39:56

I'd say if he is in an acute anxiety phase at present none of what he is saying or thinking or feeling is a true picture of how he will feel when he isn't having such a tough time in his head. It sounds like he needs time and space to accept the news he has had, get his anxiety under control then when he is more able to, consider the options.

toodaloo Sun 06-Apr-14 00:10:46

Thanks for your replies. I think you've got it spot on sharond101. DH is having a very tough time, he blames himself for this situation.

Realistically the sperm retrieval route according to the doctor only has a small chance of success. He thinks that because testicular failure there must be other bad stuff going on in his body.

We had (another) talk this evening and he's agreed that he needs help and will find out about getting a referral to the local community mental health team. I feel he is in danger of slipping back to how he was which is not what either of us want. Aarrgghh it's all so stressful!

Shellster52 Sun 06-Apr-14 05:00:10

As you say, there is nothing I can say or do that is going to give you the magic answer (but I wish there was!). My husband has 100% abnormal sperm and we are waiting to do our 6th IVF! It irritates me that I am the one going through all the drugs of IVF and the emotional turmoil and while I don't blame him, I wish he would show some concern or the slightest feeling of guilt that he has this issue instead of continuing to eat junk and live in denial and blame me. You are at the other extreme with your husband feeling so guilty he doesn't feel worthy of you.

Can I ask what exactly is testicular failure? I take it this means there are no sperm in his semen, since you say even surgery might not retrieve any?

toodaloo Sun 06-Apr-14 20:41:13

Thanks for your reply Shellster52. You are right, DH is having the opposite reaction. No sperm has been found in any of his samples done and we have been given very low odds for sperm retrieval finding anything. He has low testosterone levels and higher pituitary levels. Ironically low testosterone can be treated but it may kill off any sperm that are hiding!

He feels that divorce would mean I can go on and have a chance of a child. Nothing seems to be fun anymore and I feel like we're growing apart which I don't want to happen.

Shellster52 Mon 07-Apr-14 05:50:35

Wow, that must have been a devastating blow when you got that first semen result. Maybe I should just be grateful that my husband has sperm even if they are 100% abnormal. At least we have a glimmer of hope - albeit it feels like hope is slipping away after 6 failed IVF"s and running out of funds to continue. Plus time is not on my side.

That is ironic that fixing his testosterone would kill of his sperm! Have you been given any reason for what caused this testicular failure? Are you eligible for one NHS funded round of IVF so that you are not having to worry about being out of pocket thousands with such low odds of sperm retrieval being successful.

I know all too well what you mean about nothing being fun anymore. My husbands and my relationship is strained and I keep hoping the next IVF will work to put an end to it all. Was at family gathering Saturday and feeling jealous of my sister in law who go pregnant so easily at 40. Had to go to car to get myself together. I don't mean to pretend I understand what you are going through when you have a worse diagnosis than me but just nice to find someone who describes exactly how I feel.

toodaloo Mon 07-Apr-14 21:16:18

It is nice to speak to someone who can relate to how I feel I agree. It took 6+ months from the tests at the doctors to our first consultant's appointment because the doctor didn't know where to refer us and referred to the wrong place several times hmm. They are not sure what has caused it. We are eligible for IVF, but DH isn't keen on the sperm retrieval option due in part to the ridiculously low odds, nor is he keen on donor sperm or adoption which leaves us in limbo.

He has suffered with depression/anxiety in the past but everything seemed to be on an even keel and life was trundling along pretty normally when wham this hit us!

Solaia Mon 07-Apr-14 22:16:41

What a tough time you and your husband are having! I can't relate health wise because although we have unexplained fertility there has been no devastating results like that to cope with.

In saying that, I think I can relate to what your husband is maybe thinking. I have previously said to my own husband that if I am found to be the cause of the infertility, I want us to really think about going our separate ways in life. He didn't want to entertain the concept and was a bit annoyed, but I am perfectly serious.

Please understand that for me, and this no doubt applies to your husband, it truly comes from a place of deep love. I really want what is best in life for my husband, and if that is with someone else being a father, I will do what I can to make that happen.

I don't know what your husband is thinking. Possibly neither does he - he's still processing everything going on. But from my perspective, when I told my husband that infertility could be the end of our otherwise wonderful marriage, it was my clumsy way of saying just how much I loved him and valued his happiness above my own. Is this what your husband is telling you? If so, that is a wonderful thing to have in your life - and hopefully something that can be salvaged between you. thanks

toodaloo Tue 08-Apr-14 10:37:32

Hi Solaia it is interesting to hear from you as you seem to "get" where he is coming from iyswim. I think that it is what DH is meaning, I know he wants the best for me as I do for him. However I don't think separating is the way forward. However if he doesn't want to try the fertility treatment or consider any other option then I don't know what the best thing to do is.

naty1 Tue 08-Apr-14 11:33:10

Also fertility treatment can be so stressful so if he is already struggling. For me it helped as it felt we were doing something positive (and it was successful) but now i have had an unsuccessful one and that is very stressful/depressing.
It is /can be a rollercoaster as 1 minute its all fine and the next maybe you are down to the last embryo.
Unfortunately all the stress doesnt go away when you do get pregnant. Because it is so hard to get to that stage its hard to relax like you would if you came by it easily.

Shellster52 Wed 09-Apr-14 03:50:56

I am glad you have found speaking here to others who understand how you feel is nice for you. I wanted to post a reply yesterday but had no idea what to write. I just want to give you a solution but there is none!

Are you still going to the counselling todaloo? Does that touch on the subject of coming to an agreement for a way forward? If your husband wasn't closed to all options and left the decision to you, do you have feelings on what steps you would like to take?

I have an appointment with my IVF doctor tomorrow. After 5 IVF's, I have done so much research and know exactly what I want to do for my next IVF. I just need to do all these things combined in one cycle so I can have peace that I have given it my all; plus I really think these things will give me the best chance. Drs are often set in their ways and I am not sure she will agree so I am nervously awaiting my appointment. If she disagrees with one point, I am going to feel like my next IVF will be a failure before it has even begun.

toodaloo Fri 11-Apr-14 12:18:09

I hope your next IVF appointment goes well Shellster52

I just think that we need to not rule out any option.and research the donor sperm or adoption route because neither one of them I know much about. I have been doing some research on my own but that's not the same.

We are still going to counselling, it has been helpful to talk about things with an independant person.

Shellster52 Mon 14-Apr-14 02:26:37

Thanks for your wellwishes Toodaloo. My Dr actually agreed to everything I wanted for my next IVF so a small victory. For the IVF plan I want to do, I need to ovulate normally before my IVF cycle. But today is day 14 andfrom my bodies signals, I think I have not ovulated this cycle. It's been doing all sorts of weird things since I have been putting IVF drugs in it. So it's just a long wait to day 19 when I will get a blood test to see if I ovulated so I can know if I start the IVF drugs on day 20 ready for IVF next cycle.

I am glad that your husband is happy to go to counselling and you find that helpful. I have not done any research about donor eggs or sperm or adoption. I guess each time one IVF fails, I have my hopes pinned on the next one working. You are in a different situation to me and I don't want to even pretend to try to understand. All I can say is that you are welcome to rant and rave here and I am happy to listen. I am sure I will be doing the same when my day 19 blood test comes back bad.

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