I have had different observations about father candidates for years in every couple I made in vitro fertilization. When I said let’s write them, I could not beat my curiosity of “what was written” and did a Google search. There are quite a few copy-and-paste blogs and a lot of overwhelming advice to the fathers, perhaps most of them are justified. However, I think it is necessary to approach this process not only with a limited time period, but with a larger perspective.
The first thing I feel, when I meet a couple who has been struggling to have children and done a lot of examinations and gone through a lot of treatment, is to remember that I am talking to a tired couple. Sometimes they are at the beginning of the examinations, sometimes they come after the treatments that cannot be obtained during pregnancy.
But the main theme is always the same: They seek hope and trust, they want honesty, sometimes they are very honest about their own facts, sometimes their expectations do not match their real situation. We share a number of topics including treatment methods, success rates of these methods, success rate specific to their own situation as a couple, which laboratory I work with, whether they can move with me at every point, whether they can reach me easily or not. In general, both the male and female counselors ask a lot of questions, but women often seem to be more dominant in the process, but they make decisions together. Very rarely, they leave management, follow-up and decisions entirely to their wives. Sometimes they can be so tense or so tired and hopeless that the path from communication to decision making can go a long way.
The rule is always the same in life: there is no door that correct communication cannot open, there is no problem that it cannot solve… Calmly and patiently understanding each other allows us to perceive the issue correctly and then draw our path correctly.
Of course, there are big differences between being a mother or father candidate. The women is under bigger burden undoubtedly, because of the drugs used in ovulation induction, the natural side effects of these drugs and their effects on our life, to follow regular ultrasonography, to adapt to the small changes in the treatment. Also the fear of making the drug wrong, the fear that the egg will not develop, the fear of the formation of a good quality embryo, the woman is quite battered.
Let’s come to father candidates… Here is a fact that I must first state; I am not a feminist at all and I believe that women and men together mean much more value than they are alone. I also love the fact that we are very beautiful together. I think it is not very empathic to approach the issue by separating the mother and father or to be closer to one side. The role of the father candidate can be somewhat variable. If the child is not able to have children, if it is called azoospermia and no sperm has been obtained after ejaculation, and therefore a testicular biopsy will be performed to obtain sperm, a lot of work is done for the father. Under anesthesia, tissue is taken from the testicle in thin section and sperm is sought. A stressful and somewhat painful job that is already under a social and psychological burden of a very difficult medical diagnosis such as absence of sperm. Apart from that, in cases such as decreased egg reserve, ovulation problems, tube congestion or endometriosis, the father candidate gives only sperm on the day the egg is collected…
It is not who is more or less tired, who is the most worn, or who is experiencing the most pain and sadness. If the original of the marriage union is to be side by side in happiness, “We are beautiful together”. If we fall, we are united, we can explain our desperation by crying on the shoulder of our best partner, and if we are suffering, we decrease it by sharing. Under the side effects caused by the use of the hormone, the family and wife of the woman who experiences helplessness, anxiety caused by the unknown, and fear of failure are the biggest support. The biggest supporters of our spouses who are raised as “Men do not cry” and who cannot share their problems are women. Not every relationship can be so complete, sincere, loving, and even solid. In these marriages, it is up to the conscience of the couple to expect mutual positive support during the IVF process. I think that the couples who can correctly determine the limits of the communication they can establish in their relationships should be compatible with the realities of their social expectations related to each other in this process. Nevertheless, perhaps, this naive period may open the doors of a better communication, and I hope that I will always hope for a marriage solidarity beyond what is expected. Because it is only an instant illusion that your family or doctor advises you to treat your partner well. If we remember that the marriage institution is the largest voluntary organization in the world, we will find the key to living this institution beautifully and peacefully. When we enjoy being us, not “I” or “you”.
At the end of the day, we are always here, always with you…
With the hope of living your hope together and happily…
Egemen Koyuncu, MD
Gynecology and Obstetric Surgeon