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YOUR fertility is not the only factor.

January 31, 2022
114 upvotes

To head off all of the "just adopt" comments, I've included a link at the bottom explaining exactly why adoption is so difficult. I won't engage in this off-topic discussion here.

We discuss fertility here a lot and it's usually unproductive and often anecdotal. I thought I'd share an issue I've wanted to highlight for some time.

I met my husband when we were 27 and 30 and we married at 29 and 32. Children were a nonnegotiable but we wanted to enjoy a year or two as a married couple, before trying. We hadn't lived together while we were dating and knew that the whole "husband and wife" thing would take some adjusting. We wanted to own a home before we started a family. My husband had left oil, at my request, hoping to move up with the city. We had a lot of things we wanted to do together, things that would be more fun and easier without kids. We didn't want to wait long, but since I was only 29, we did plan to wait for a year and a half to two years.

I ran this plan by my gynecologist, asking if I should revise. She assured me that she thought I'd be fine, since I had no indicators of fertility troubles. I asked about the miscarriage I had in my teenage marriage and she told me that that just meant I could get pregnant. I shouldn't worry... and so I didn't. For the next year and a half, my husband and I took an Alaskan cruise for our honeymoon, canoed on the Buffalo River, bought a house, took trips to Colorado Springs and Fort Worth, went to parties with friends, and improved our home. We had a blast, but knew that time was precious, so just before Christmas of 2018, I had my IUD removed and we decided to see what happened.

By April, we were aiming for those few days a month. By June, I was using ovulation strips. By September, I was starting to worry, but my doctor insisted it was probably fine and I should just stop trying. Y'all, I cannot stress enough how glad I am that I ignored this terrible advice. My husband and I were both over 30 and we didn't want to waste any more time. We wanted a family, so we wanted answers. If those answers reaffirmed, medically, that nothing was wrong, great. We scheduled a semen analysis and had to wait until January.

On February 13, 2020, my husband came home with the news that he had barely over 1 million sperm and the average is 40 million. Our only option was IVF. He didn't even have enough for an IUI (artificial insemination), unless we wanted to use donor sperm, something neither of us wanted and which didn't offer great chances with a 10-15% success rate (IVF was more like 60% in our case). We were devastated... and then a pandemic hit.

I'll end the story there. If you'd like to read the rest, I do write a blog and opened a page specifically for my infertility journey. It's not uplifting, since I wasn't sure how things would end, but it does have a happy ending and I hope someone out there finds comfort in that. I've posted a link.

My husband and I were lucky, I suppose. Our first IVF cycle was an utter failure, but we tried again immediately and marked the one year anniversary of our first cycle with one month old twins. We also have six frozen embryos and hope for more children. The cost? $30,000, to date. More transfers will cost more money, as will keeping our embryos frozen.

My husband's fertility issues had nothing to do with age or lifestyle. His hormone production was great and he should have had ideal sperm... but he didn't, due to a genetic anomaly that couldn't be fixed or explained. Of the 1 in 8 (or 15%) of couples who will suffer from infertility, in 1/3 of all cases, the male is to blame, 1/3 the female, and 1/3 both. Yet, medical professionals still tend to hold the woman responsible by default. Our doctor told us verbatim that there was no point doing a semen analysis, because "90% of the time it's the woman," which as I've cited, isn't even true. While testing a man's fertility is relatively simple, it's largely ignored and women are often expected to undergo expensive and invasive tests first. We weren't the exception. We just refused. When we found out that my husband's sperm count was so low, however, there were no options... and for some reason, this isn't being widely studied, despite the statistics. My husband would have loved to try some form of treatment, but none existed.

Another consideration for men's fertility (which fortunately did not affect us), is the impact of paternal age on fetal development. While women have grown up hearing about their biological clock for centuries, people are only just beginning to discuss the repercussions of men fathering children later. According to the Mayo Clinic, in couples where the man is over 40, there is a higher risk for pregnancy loss, rare birth defects, autism, schizophrenia, and lukemia. I'm not saying these risks are greater than for older women, but they do exist and should be considered.

What I'm getting at here and maybe my tl/dr is that a woman's fertility is not the only factor in planning for a family. I was relatively young and had been assured that my age was a non-issue by multiple health care professionals... and they were right. I was plenty fertile. I didn't have any cysts or polyps and my AMH results (the test that tells you how many eggs you have left), were great for my age. I had no fertility problems, at all, while my husband would likely never be able to get me pregnant. It was devastating to learn we'd have to go through IVF and, letting the pandemic pass or even lessen wasn't really an option for us, which was due to our age.

I wouldn't change the decisions I've made. My days are filled with diapers, tantrums, giggles, and tiny matching clothes. My girls were absolutely worth it and my marriage is stronger for the struggle, even if I'm not. I'm not so sure that my marriage would have fared as well, had we taken on fertility treatments sooner and we'd have missed a lot, just the two of us. It all worked out and my husband and I are deliriously happy... but if we'd done things a little differently, that might not have been the case. If we'd drawn out our dating phase or our engagement or had waited even a couple more years before trying for children, because I was still young, it might have been too late, even though my doctor gave me the green light to do so.

I don't say any of this to scare women, but to warn those who aren't worried about their own fertility, for whatever reasons, that theirs isn't the only factor. Maybe you have a May/December thing going on and you feel like you have all the time in the world at 26, when he's 39. Maybe you're like me and your maternal grandmother had your mom at 38 and to your knowledge, fertility troubles don't run in your family. Maybe you're just super healthy and on the right course with your fiancé and you just aren't worried, because you're only 28. I did my homework in regards to my fertility and literally no one suggested that my husband might have trouble conceiving or that there wasn't some pill he could take to fix the problem, so I'm telling you.

Male factor infertility is a problem in 2/3 of cases and there isn't always a solution. Take this information with a grain of salt if you want, but all the focus we put on women's fertility leaves a blind spot for both women and men. It's awful that something so directly involved in men's health isn't a higher priority. It's awful that women are blamed for something that is the fault of both sexes. For me and my husband, it would have been awful to live a life without children. I'd also advise anyone starting fertility treatments to insist on a semen analysis before spending a dime on the much pricier tests for women. Male infertility is rarely visible. My husband is quite stocky, has a full beard, a decent sex drive, and is just all man. We could have wasted a lot of time and thousands of dollars just treating me.

My infertility blog: https://belleofinfertility.wordpress.com/

Some men's fertility resources:

https://tau.amegroups.com/article/view/19367/20196

https://www.nichd.nih.gov/health/topics/menshealth/conditioninfo/infertility

https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/getting-pregnant/expert-answers/paternal-age/faq-20057873

Why we don't all just adopt: https://belleofthelibrary.com/2021/03/22/why-we-dont-all-just-adopt/

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Post Information
Title YOUR fertility is not the only factor.
Author TheTwincessMaker
Upvotes 114
Comments 30
Date January 31, 2022 8:48 PM UTC (1 year ago)
Subreddit /r/RedPillWomen
Archive Link https://theredarchive.com/r/RedPillWomen/your-fertility-is-not-the-only-factor.1098641
https://theredarchive.com/post/1098641
Original Link https://old.reddit.com/r/RedPillWomen/comments/shbrkp/your_fertility_is_not_the_only_factor/
Comments

[–]verumity 12 points13 points  (1 child) | Copy Link

Such a good insightful post, I’m glad you reached somewhat of a good conclusion !

[–]TheTwincessMakerEndorsed Contributor[S] 2 points3 points  (0 children) | Copy Link

Thank you!

[–]megami18 9 points10 points  (1 child) | Copy Link

I know almost nothing about infertility except that my parents did struggle with it...and it was my dad who needed a surgery to get things going. Glad they figured it out, and they were in their 30s when they had their 5 kids!

[–]TheTwincessMakerEndorsed Contributor[S] 2 points3 points  (0 children) | Copy Link

It's wonderful that they were able to resolve their issues! We definitely want more kids so that's encouraging to hear.

[–]OmarNBradley 5 points6 points  (1 child) | Copy Link

Our doctor told us verbatim that there was no point doing a semen analysis, because "90% of the time it's the woman,"

This is insane. We saw a reproductive endocrinologist because while I could get pregnant very easily, I miscarried three times in a row. They still checked up on my husband before they did a single thing with me, because, as you say, that's the easiest and least invasive thing to do and it makes sense to start off that way. (It turned out I had a uterine anomaly that was easily correctable with surgery; two months after the surgery I was pregnant with surprise twins.)

the impact of paternal age on fetal development.

When our twins were five we finally decided to try for a third. At that point I was 40 and my husband was 45. I miscarried another three times. I talked with my OB after the first one and she asked how old my husband was; when I told her, she gave me the 😬 face and I knew exactly why. There are any number of cases where "infertile" women, even of advanced maternal age, turn out to be perfectly fertile once they start trying with a younger man. (NB: Our third was born two weeks before I turned 42)

[–]TheTwincessMakerEndorsed Contributor[S] 0 points1 point  (0 children) | Copy Link

I got a new doctor after that, but it's infuriating that a family doctor could be so ignorant and sexist about fertility issues. My husband ended up going to a urologist in a different network after trying to get two different doctors to test him. It was tough to get those results, but it would have been much worse several months and several thousand dollars later. I'm not sure if our fertility clinic would have advised that before testing me or not. They were very much about treating the woman, not the man.

It's so ridiculous to me that, as much as we tell women they don't have all the time in the world, we're not warning men that they'll eventually face the same issue. With couples waiting longer to have families, you'd think it would be common knowledge when a woman is told her pregnancy is considered geriatric at 35.

I'm sorry it was such a struggle to get your family, but I'm glad you did!

[–]katsumii 6 points7 points  (1 child) | Copy Link

We're in the midst of this right now.... I was always taught that “as long as you aren't on birth control, you can get pregnant at anytime.” Scare tactics....? We've been trying for almost half a year. Working it into the fertility window, predicted ovulation days, etc. I wanted to have my first baby by the time I'm 32 (by the end of 2022). I'm 32 now.

We each have appointments in February (mine is a follow-up from a December appt). Might be him. Might be me.

Wish I'd thought about this sooner, but it is what it is.

It's ironic, though, because as a kid and young adult I swore to myself I'd never have kids. (Didn't like my mentally-disordered genetics, plus never thought I'd make a good mom.)

Now, I'm craving it. Ha! And he wants kids with me, too.

Thanks for posting and spreading the word.

[–]TheTwincessMakerEndorsed Contributor[S] 4 points5 points  (0 children) | Copy Link

I went through a time in my twenties where I wasn't sure if I wanted kids. My mother had a lot of mental problems and I was afraid I wouldn't be a good mother. I'd miscarried at 21 and my best friend's infant daughter died a few months later, of bacterial meningitis. I occasionally joked with my husband about not having kids at all and traveling the world and buying things we liked. It wasn't until our diagnosis that I realized I would never be happy without them.

I'm glad you're going to get answers soon. We actually had to lie about how long we'd been trying, because they still insist couples try for a year, even in their 30s. I'd recommend it. I hope you get your family and that it's not too difficult for you guys. On the bright side, we didn't waste money on the treatments that usually lead up to IVF.

[–]HappilyMrs 4 points5 points  (2 children) | Copy Link

We started trying very soon after we got together, way way too young. I never thought fertility issues would happen, I was in my teens! However, it took meds, surgery, a failed IUI, 3 miscarriages before our son was born 12 years after we started. Secondary IF means he is an only child. The many years TTC did a huge number on our sex life. It doesn't seem like it at the time, but it can mess you up in so many ways.

[–]TheTwincessMakerEndorsed Contributor[S] 4 points5 points  (1 child) | Copy Link

I'm not sure if I'll ever fully recover from the last two years. My girls didn't enter the world any more easily than they did my womb. It killed our sex life as well. I would cry after, because I knew it couldn't get us pregnant. It was awful. Now we have sex 3-4 times a week, even with two babies. I'm glad you started early and got your son!

[–]HappilyMrs 1 point2 points  (0 children) | Copy Link

It's awful isn't it? I'm glad you're doing well now

[–]Q-nicorn 2 points3 points  (1 child) | Copy Link

I've been struggling for over 6 years now, and I hate it. Only 1 pregnancy to speak of and it ended in an early missed miscarriage. I've been checked, he's been checked, everything "looks" normal, just unexplained infertility and its the worst feeling. Went through 2 rounds of IUI as well.

I'm so happy for you OP, that you found your answer and got your beautiful twins!

[–]TheTwincessMakerEndorsed Contributor[S] 1 point2 points  (0 children) | Copy Link

Thank you! I can't imagine how frustrating unexplained infertility must be. At least we had answers and a course of action. I hope it all works out for you soon!

[–]chowchowfluff 2 points3 points  (1 child) | Copy Link

Not gonna lie, this post definitely gave me a jolt. January was the first month I have started truly tracking my ovulation with an OPK and trying to hit that sweet spot of ovulation sex. Just started the TWW today but to be honest…I’m 33 and my man is 42. I’ve been off BC for 5 years and we’re not, and haven’t been, having protected sex. Yesterday morning I called a local fertility clinic to ask about pricing and scheduling to get an idea of what I might be up against as a worst case scenario and I officially tonight announced to my man “I’m ready, I want to be pregnant this year”. For the last 5 years since I went off of BC (I went off of it because it was screwing with my mood too much, not planning for pregnancy) my man and I agreed that we were ok with “anything that happens” as a result. Well, fast forward to about 6 months ago I started really getting that feeling like ok, maybe I should be starting to consider getting serious about this and not just waiting for it to happen spontaneously. Now 6 months later, here I am.

I’m coming to terms with my thoughts that I might need help, and I’m in those beginning stages of it being quite sad that my body might not be able to do what it was meant to do as a woman on its own :( and honestly, I’m scared. I think I’m going to go forward with fertility intervention regardless of if I am “trying hard enough on my own” within the next 2 cycles.

All of that to say, thank you for posting this :). It’s actually incredibly strange for me that this was posted at this very moment when I am thinking and feeling all of these things at the “beginning” of whatever this journey might be for me. I appreciate your story and am thankful for your insight. And I’m so happy for you that you have 2 wonderful little ladies that have come from your wonderful journey :).

[–]TheTwincessMakerEndorsed Contributor[S] 1 point2 points  (0 children) | Copy Link

It's scary to think you might need help conceiving and consider how much that will change the process. I had a plan for telling my husband I was pregnant, after we got pregnant spontaneously through super fun sex. I was going to suggest we go hiking where he proposed and give him the positive test as a gift. That's never going to happen now... and that's okay, because that's just one parenting story of a thousand and I get to tell the other 999.

It's expensive and a lot to go through physically, but ART (assisted reproductive technology) has created a lot of families. At 32/33, I was considered young in the world of infertility, so there are a lot of possibilities for you. IVF is almost no one's first step, but I am glad we skipped all the others if it was inevitable. I'm glad my post helped you and maybe even gave that final push to get going on creating your family. It was a horrible experience, but it was also worth it. I'd do anything for my girls and that started before they were even conceived.

[–]Sea_Bookkeeper_15331 Star 1 point2 points  (0 children) | Copy Link

Wow. That's crazy. Thanks for sharing!

[–]rosebyanyothername1 1 point2 points  (1 child) | Copy Link

great points. just for anyone reading, the carnivore diet with no seed oils and lots of animal organs (the way CarnivoreMD does it) can often improve fertility for both men and women. see him on instagram. meat, honey, tallow or other fat like butter, organs, low-sugar fruit. grass-fed if possible.

[–]TheTwincessMakerEndorsed Contributor[S] 1 point2 points  (0 children) | Copy Link

That might be the case, but in our situation, nothing was going to improve it to the point that we'd have had more options. The urologist actually used the word "miracle," when asked if my husband could get me pregnant.

Here's an article that might be relevant, though:

https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/news/hsph-in-the-news/less-processed-meat-more-fish-and-exercise-may-boost-sperm-count-quality/

[–]henrycatalina 1 point2 points  (1 child) | Copy Link

Your post highlights the perception in modern life that youth is for exploration and not for growth. My wife, now 68 coached our daughters to not delay having children. Having a family earlier than later, rather than after all the bucket lists should not be a regret. The statistics you sight correlate with my observations.

Your joy expressed for your twins and the simple experiences of getting 3 year olds dressed are memories your carry for your life.

Congratulations on taking the lead and not deferring to a single medical expert.

[–]TheTwincessMakerEndorsed Contributor[S] 0 points1 point  (0 children) | Copy Link

Thank you! If I could choose for my girls, I'd love for them to get married in their mid-twenties. It just took me a little longer to find him.

[–]-Raksu- 0 points1 point  (1 child) | Copy Link

My mom had babies from age 24 to 44 (dad is 6 months younger). I hope this is an indication that I might not have issues.

So glad it worked out for you in the end. Very odd the blatant lying from doctors, makes you wonder if they're in cahoots with IVF clinics haha...

[–]TheTwincessMakerEndorsed Contributor[S] 2 points3 points  (0 children) | Copy Link

I think in this case, it was more ignorance than maliciousness.

[–]BumbleBitny 0 points1 point  (1 child) | Copy Link

I'm so glad you're talking about this. My husband is 8 years older than me. When he was approaching 35 we had to have the conversation of it's now or never. He didn't want to be a dad to a new born dad at 40 and there was a decent chance with his age already being a little up there it was probably going to be a few years and likely some assistance. Thankfully his doctor prepared him for that unlike your husbands. We decided we were going child free. I wasn't anywhere near close to being ready and we've both always been in the maybe someday crowd. I feel like this is glossed over topic about having an age gap. Everyone seems to think as long as the woman is the younger one then nothing is wrong. I had to decide if I was ready to be a mom before I turned 27. I'm happy with our choice but back then it was so much pressure having that clock ticking.

We have friends in a similar situation to ours the husband is 6 years older than his wife. They had to do IFV and with donor sperm. Because both mom and dad struggled with infertility issues. Even though she wasn't even old enough for a geriatric pregnancy yet.

[–]TheTwincessMakerEndorsed Contributor[S] 1 point2 points  (0 children) | Copy Link

Everyone seems to think as long as the woman is the younger one then nothing is wrong. I had to decide if I was ready to be a mom before I turned 27. I'm happy with our choice but back then it was so much pressure having that clock ticking.

This misconception is so tragic for so many couples. I'm glad you and your husband were on the fence in the first place and came to a conclusion that worked for you, because that would have been tough. As it was, I wouldn't have minded waiting a couple more years, but we knew we wanted three or four children and neither of us wanted to be old parents. I'm glad we got started when we did. Lucky for us, those frozen embryos will be the same quality as when I was 33 forever.

[–]henrycatalina 0 points1 point  (0 children) | Copy Link

We married at 23, planned 5 years of fun. First of five born 17 months later. Then 3 and then twins.

At Age 32, five kids. Now we're young enough to be active grandparents. This was normal some decades ago. My grandchildren even met their great grandparents.

One should be careful to find a good mate.

[–]elsieonsie 0 points1 point  (1 child) | Copy Link

Wow what a great post - thanks for sharing your experience!

[–]TheTwincessMakerEndorsed Contributor[S] 0 points1 point  (0 children) | Copy Link

Thank you! I hope it helps some people.

[–]Most-Order-9464 -1 points0 points  (2 children) | Copy Link

Speaking from a male perspective, it does matter if the man wants kids of his own.

[–]TheTwincessMakerEndorsed Contributor[S] 0 points1 point  (1 child) | Copy Link

The literal point of this post was that both the man's and the woman's fertility matters.

[–]Most-Order-9464 -1 points0 points  (0 children) | Copy Link

Most men can be fertitle until 60-70 years old. Again MOST, there are some that have ed problems or fertility problems sure, but its mostly woman who have infertility issues as they get older.

You can kill a man, but you can't kill an idea.

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