Let’s Let Men Lead the Infertility Dance
They were young. They were in love. They came in holding hands. And they were concerned. “I’ve been timing things for well over a year and absolutely nothing has happened,” she said leading the conversation. “My cycles are like clockwork and we haven’t missed a month,” she continued. “I’m wondering whether it’s my man here.” He looked at me nonchalantly, raised his eyebrows and said: “Hey Doc, here to check things out.”
I almost fell out of my chair. Here’s a couple taking care into their own hands and trying to figure things out. And they started with lil’ ol’ me. They saw my reaction and she quipped: “You look surprised.”
I was surprised and I told them why. Despite the fact that male issues explain infertility in 1/3 of cases and contribute to the problem another 20% of the time, men are the last things examined in the infertility setting. In the U.S, women usually pursue a many-thousand-dollar evaluation and maybe even partake in assisted reproduction before a guy sees me. Here though, I was the first provider on the list. I was honored and accepted the chance to dance.
Yes, infertility is a disease just like any other. But the truth is that fewer than 1 of every 4 infertile men get appropriate care for this condition. Sure, their semen is checked, but actually getting the once over by a medical provider is a much rarer event, and a thing of beauty. Strangely, this is not the case in many European countries with nationalized health care. Maybe they realize that it’s more cost-effective to have the male partner evaluated first. How progressive is that?
So, here’s some wishful thinking…why not see him first every time? Not after she’s seen and not along with her, but actually before her! Not only does it make sense medically, it’s also a golden opportunity to make medicine to matter to men:
- He’s part of the problem
- We can cure the infertility
- We can find diseases
- We can prevent disease
Good God, I hope this trend continues in my practice. Because Maybe It’s Him® and I can help. Recall the words of author H. Jackson Brown Jr: “Opportunity dances with those already on the floor