I am a woman who suffers from a very special type/case/reason of infertility. I have MRKH. I was born without a uterus, cervix, or vagina. I was born with ovaries. I will never be able to carry my own child. Surrogacy is our only option for a biological child. To add to my struggle, I have a low ovarian reserve. So even if I’d been born with all the necessary parts, We’d still be struggling for a child.
Now that I’ve given a little background I want to share on a topic that’s early discussed. The effect of infertility on men. In our case how MY infertility effects my husband. He’s pretty tight lipped about it, but I would still like to share.
The following is a copy of an email he sent me when I asked him how he felt.
I am tired of watching my wife hurt.
Some of this is selfish. When people say or post things to social media that remind her of the reality of her condition, I am the one that has to deal with the fallout. They antagonize her but I pay the price, because I’m the one person who won’t judge her for lashing out. At least not in the way most people will.
But in large part it is because this is the one thing that I cannot get for her. The unique experience of motherhood that so many people describe in front of her in glowing terms, knowing full well that she cannot have it in the sense that they do, is something I can never provide for her. So she hurts, and goes on hurting, and I can do nothing.
I do not have the fixation on heirs or biological children that some people do. That said, I had a vague idea that surrogacy existed before we were married and thought it likely we would be able to take advantage of it, so I am not the victim that some of my relatives have made me out to be. I knew what I was getting into. I knew that there was most likely a way that we could have children that were biologically ours, and that is exactly what a man that does not have fertility problems can expect.
Personally fathering children is not considered by society to be a rite of passage for me, and in that sense our infertility doesn’t affect me as much. This is what my wife means when she says that I don’t care, and in that sense she is correct. The social stigma is not there.
But I care when she hurts. And I can’t silence all of the ignorant people in the world. Notions of ‘war on women’ in society are overblown, but it amazes me that people who have diseases that are largely their own faults are exempt from judgment, but a woman with fertility issues is somehow a failure or less of a person. And somehow it’s considered perfectly acceptable to make comments like this directly to their faces.