Women always think that getting pregnant is always all about them. Let’s face it, we have a reason to think that. Over the ages, we have been stoned, divorced and shamed for not bring forth a baby into a family. We also have to get the sex right! With have a long legacy of the world believing telling us that if we don’t conceive a child it is our fault, and if we do conceive a child that man of ours must have great sperm vitality! In other words, we get all the blame when things go wrong and none of the credit when things go right! Unfortunately, even with modern medicine now on our side, and knowledge that medically speaking – baby making takes two – women still think it’s all about them.
For many women, the decision to get pregnant can take on a life of its own. It was so affirming to see what I know to be true, represented in a recent survey conducted for SpermCheck® Fertility. 42% of those who conceived say they became obsessed with getting pregnant once they started trying. Yet just 10% say their partner shared this obsession.
Approximately 7 million couples will experience conception issues and about 50% of these infertility problems will be directly attributed to the male, according to John C. Herr, Ph.D., director of the University of Virginia’s Center for Research in Contraceptive and Reproductive Health; most male infertility problems are mainly due to low sperm count, he adds.
Yet women are typically the ones to take action when conception is slow to happen, often undergoing a battery of sometimes invasive and typically costly testing. While analyzing the male’s sperm count is considered a key first step by infertility specialists – less than one-fifth of men (17%) ever get tested for their sperm count, according to the SpermCheck survey. And just 23% of the women surveyed in the SpermCheck survey who are currently pregnant or who have conceived a child said their partner did everything he could to get himself as healthy as possible before they started trying to conceive.
I think a part of this fear, is that there are a percentage of women (validated through the SpermCheck survey) that worry that their partner will leave them if they don’t get pregnant. Again, this is a pretty ancient fear backed up by a lot of historical fact.
And, let face it – many men are often reluctant or embarrassed to go to their healthcare provider to take a sperm count test, even if it means that their partner might take it upon herself to start having herself tested and in some cases begin taking fertility treatments.
The SpermCheck survey found that 8 out of 10 women (83%) trying to or planning to conceive say their partner assumes he is fertile, and 43% say their partner would like to know for sure that his sperm count is normal. A much higher number, more than two thirds of women surveyed (67%) say they would like to know their partner’s sperm count is normal when they start trying to get pregnant.
The following are highlights of this survey:
A little less than half (44%) of those trying/planning to conceive are worried that when they actually want to conceive, they won’t be able to because they tried hard for years to avoid pregnancy.
More than half (59%) of those trying/planning to conceive say they won’t tell people they are trying to get pregnant in case it doesn’t happen.
Almost half (49%) of women who took longer than expected to conceive indicated their significant other was not eager to have his sperm count tested.
23% of women who have conceived/trying to conceive would not seek advice or testing for their significant other if it was taking longer than expected to get pregnant.
More than a quarter (27%) of those trying/planning to conceive are embarrassed to discuss fertility with friends and family, and a similar number, 23%, say their partner is uncomfortable discussing male fertility issues.
So, if you are a woman with a huge pile of guilt on her shoulders about trying to conceive a baby – please know that it’s really not all about you! And you are not the first woman in the world to feel like it is all your fault! When it comes to baby making, it really does take two! Talk about it with your partner, he is way more receptive than you might think. And please—get his sperm count tested before you being any fertility treatment!
|Pamela Madsen was the first Executive Director of RESOLVE NYC and is the Founder of The American Fertility Association. Pamela is an internationally known fertility advocate who has appeared on Oprah and countless other major media outlets. Currently, Pamela is a fertility coach and publisher of The Fertility Advocate. She is also a blogger for Psychology Today and SpermCheck Fertility.|