Single male, possibly infertile. Perspectives and experiences?
September 30, 2008 6:41 AM   Subscribe

I might be infertile. I'm a single guy in my mid-twenties and I haven't been able to find any information or resources for people like me. I know the medical stuff, but nobody in my situation seems to talk about their experiences. Help me find other perspectives on this, or tell me about how you handled it.

Recently I had a fairly comprehensive blood-test for an unrelated condition. There was a weird result that could mean I'm infertile. I'm getting another blood-test tomorrow to check if the first result was wrong. If it's confirmed there'll probably be further investigations. In the meantime I'm dealing with a real possibility that I may not be able to have children.

Thing is, there's lots of stuff on the internet about infertility, but most of it's written by women who are trying to get pregnant. I'm a single 26 year old guy whose only thoughts of pregnancy so far have been about how to prevent it. I've never really considered if I want children. There's lots of thoughts swimming around my head at the moment and it would really help to see how someone else has dealt with these issues. But if someone's written about it, I haven't been able to find it. Hopefully this will all turn out to be just a weird result on a blood test, but if it doesn't I'd like to be prepared to deal with that.

Any ideas where I can find people talking about discovering they're infertile without any warning? If you've been in the same (or a similar) situation, it'd be great to hear how you dealt/are dealing with it. Anonymous email here - Thanks.
posted by anonymous to Health & Fitness (11 answers total)
Approximately 1 in 500 males have Klinefelter's Syndrome. My doctor told me over the phone and suggested I come in a week later to discuss the condition. I found out more on the internet in that week and the doctor basically told me nothing new. When I found out I had it (through a blood test and a sperm test), I went into a bit of a funk. Never sire my own children -- that made me a little sad. When I finally decided to have children, I ended up adopting instead. Oh, and I threw away my condoms.

Maybe go see the movie Chaos Theory for some laughs.
posted by indigo4963 at 7:08 AM on September 30, 2008

Oh, and I threw away my condoms.

Obviously being infertile does not mean you're invulnerable to STDs. Just something to keep in mind before ditching condoms because of this.
posted by splice at 7:37 AM on September 30, 2008

I would do a happy monkey dance to find out I was infertile - no more freakouts when my wife is a day late, no worry of adding to the way-beyond-overcapacity population...

But yeah, don't ditch the rubbers. STDs and all that.
posted by notsnot at 7:51 AM on September 30, 2008

Well, sure .... I was married at the time, so STDs were not an issue.
posted by indigo4963 at 8:17 AM on September 30, 2008

There's a chance that you and your future spouse could still have a child using IVF with ICSI. Best to consult with a doctor if and when you get to that point.
posted by jaimev at 8:18 AM on September 30, 2008

I know two women who got pregnant by boyfriends (not the same guy!) who both thought they were infertile because of injury/illness. I'd keep the condoms just in case.
posted by pseudostrabismus at 8:49 AM on September 30, 2008

Materials and information for infertile couples, infertile men, and infertile women is widely available. There are counselors and support groups. A good starting place is
posted by JimN2TAW at 9:01 AM on September 30, 2008

There was a great blog by a guy at the NY Post that dealt with this. He and his wife eventually conceived via IVF. He actually was able to use his own sperm but talks a lot about the process of IVF from a guy's perspective. The blog seems to be offline but the intro begins here and you can wind your way forwards.

Best of luck to you in this process. But remember: you'll definitely be able to have children. Infertility doesn't prevent families from being created :-)
posted by barnone at 9:35 AM on September 30, 2008

A friend of mine had a husband who tested as infertile. It turned out that he had sperm, but it couldn't come out in the usual way. He had an operation to try to fix the blockage, but it didn't work. They were able to have a child using IVF.

That's just one story. Don't worry too much about it before you know what's up, or what your situation is. It might be nothing.
posted by orange swan at 10:04 AM on September 30, 2008

I'm infertile. Sperm count of zero. Testis biopsy found just a few immature sperm in there. (It was not a comfortable procedure). My wife and I tried IVF using them, but the fertilized eggs stopped growing before they could be implanted. The doctors couldn't discover why I was infertile- the best theory was that I may have had an infection at some point.

It was sad realizing that I was a genetic dead-end. It was simultaneously helpful and annoying that the discovery was gradual. As you are learning, fertility is not necessarily binary. It's a long process to discover what options you may have. I spent a lot of time learning as much as I could about the possible problems and solutions- I think that was my coping mechanism. I had a very supportive wife who helped tremendously.

In the end, my wife and I used donor sperm, and now I have twin daughters that I adore. I've found that it really doesn't matter that they have no genetic relationship to me. It was actually sort of a fun process picking a donor from the sperm bank.

As for places to look for people with similar experience to yours... I never really saw anything. Lots of sites where the focus is couples trying to get pregnant and lots of sites discussing the various causes and approaches to resolve infertility. I don't remember seeing many personal reports from men going through the experience.
posted by uberfunk at 10:39 AM on September 30, 2008 [1 favorite]

Finding out 'my boys couldn't swim' was, and still is, quite interesting. Male infertility can be caused by numerous things - testicular issues, hormonal issues, or even something with your pituitary gland. Sometimes it can naturally resolve itself, sometimes not. I would definitely ask about possible causes and possible outcomes. If having a biological child is your wish then you should ask about hormone therapies. Do you have low testosterone as well?

Uberfunk brought a huge lump to my throat - thanks for sharing.
posted by TomSophieIvy at 8:43 PM on September 30, 2008

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