Today I listened to a couple talk about their experience with infertility and it took me back to our own experience. Twelve years ago we were married at a beautiful event and during the Mass the priest blessed us with the words of the Catholic blessing for couples on their wedding day. Six fully ordained priests stretched their hands over us and asked God to bless us with children and the more than 100 congregants present said, “AMEN!” and that rainy morning we believed that it would come to be sooner than later.
Three months later, six months, one-year people were asking about the blessing. There were those offering to pray with us and there were those who blamed us for not positioning ourselves to receive the blessing. There was an older lady at work who sat me down and said, “My daughter, I know that you love your work and are focused on your career, but men want children. You need to give him children.”
A senior relative said, “Young women these days take contraceptives and then when you are ready to have children nothing happens.” On the home front, we were aware that we were dealing with infertility. You see, scientifically, when a couple aged 30 years and over try for a child unsuccessfully for six months, they are considered to be dealing with infertility and should seek medical intervention. It may be primary infertility if they had never conceived before and if they already had a child then it is called secondary infertility.
While society always points fingers at the woman when children do not come, the chart below shows what has been scientifically proven. Men and women contribute equally to infertility and out of every 100 couples 25 have unexplained infertility meaning all tests that are done find that there is completely nothing wrong with both the man and the woman. In this article I would like readers to understand the perspective of the couple that is dealing with infertility. Often the hurt and pressures experienced by the couple is from the influence of external parties indeed marriages have collapsed because of it. I have known of cases where the man has been persuaded to leave his wife only for her to remarry and quickly have children and for the man to fail to have children in his new marriage. Some people have even been pushed into infidelity. We all need to be sensitive and empathetic and avoid making careless comments to and about infertility.
What to do if you believe you are going through infertility. First you need to know that there are many people experiencing the same thing and if you can identify some, it may be very helpful for support. I am a strong advocate for prayer because I firmly believe that it was the one thing that kept us strong even when tests and treatments did not solve our infertility. It is vital that the couple support each other. It is important to remember that both of you are hurting and you need to pay attention to each other’s needs. If you decide to get medical help, both of you must get involved because it is the only way you can be adequately helped.
A couple I know was struggling for years but the man was not ready to go for a test because he believed that all was well with him. When I finally was able to speak with him in confidence, he had all the factors that would put a man at risk for infertility: he was 40 years, we used to smoke and drink alcohol. When he went for the test, it was established that while his wife had a problem which made conceiving difficult, he also had a low sperm count. They were both put on treatment and the man stopped smoking and reduced his alcohol intake. A couple of years later they were blessed with their first child.
Medical help. It is important that you seek medical help sooner than later. Often the cause can be identified and corrected like in the example of the man in the previous paragraph. If they find that there is hormonal imbalance, medication to balance the hormones. If the fallopian tubes (tubes where fertilization occurs) are blocked, there are ways for the tubes to be re-opened; it may be through a simple procedure where sterile water mixed with antibiotics is pushed through the tubes or sometimes, surgery may be required.
Sometimes it may be as easy as using medication that will increase the quality of sperms or to help the lady produce more eggs. Sometimes the investigations may find untreatable problems. While it is sad, it is important for the couple to know and then plan for the future.
Infertility is a hard thing. It can happen to anyone who is planning on having children. There is medical help available and even if that does not work out couples should work together to decide what other options are available to them. We as their community must be supportive without hurting them.
By Dr. Miriam O. Laker-Oketta
Jan 19, 2021 0Pope Francis said Sunday that great joy is found when one offers his life in service to God’s call. “There are different ways of carrying out the plan that God has for each of us, which is always a plan of love. …...
Jan 19, 2021 0Catholics and Jews in Poland observed the annual Day of Judaism with psalms, music, and silent prayer on Sunday. The main commemorative event took place on Jan. 17 at the Bródno Jewish Cemetery in Warsaw, one of...
Jan 19, 2021 0Pope Francis said on Monday that Martin Luther King Jr.’s dream “of harmony and equality for all people” is still relevant today. “In today’s world, which increasingly faces the challenges of social...