Happy Father’s Day to those whose lives have been enriched with children. And for those among us who want to be fathers, but cannot, I salute you as well and offer you a gift. It’s not a tie or cufflinks, but rather a place to tell your story and find solutions: The Turek Clinic Support Forum
The Path of Infertility
The paths we take in life shape our character and enrich us. They make us who we are and for this reason alone they have value. But the path through infertility is one of the most difficult, and often taken quietly and with shame, guilt and depression. In my practice, the complexity of this path is clearest in men with azoospermia (no sperm count) who currently have no opportunity for biological fatherhood.
True, two technologies near and dear to my research heart, metabolomics and stem cells, could save the day and find sperm or produce artificial sperm for men. However, these technologies could also be years away from routine clinical practice. So what do we tell the man facing sterility after years of hope and expectation that he could be a father? Let me tell you, these conversations are among the most difficult in medicine. Here’s how it typically goes:
“Sir, after this extensive evaluation, I am afraid that we did not find any sperm.”
“Yes. It might be time to close the door on this approach and consider other alternatives.”
(At this point, I suggest and review alternatives and make myself available in the future to discuss things further).
“Well…thanks, Doctor.” Silence. Click.
What do azoospermic men go through after that? I recently posted one man’s brave story and was mighty impressed with what he wrote. And I would wager that there are many other men out there who have equally profound stories to tell.
Azoospermia: The Hard Facts
- It occurs in 5% of infertile men (Infertility occurs in 15% of reproductive age men)
- It has no symptoms; men are otherwise healthy
- In most cases, it is genetically determined, whether we can define it or not
- In about 60% of cases, sperm can be found in the testicle and fatherhood is possible.
Why Be Heard?
I created Turek Clinic Support as a place of solace. An anonymous forum where men can learn from men. Where similar difficult paths, historically run in parallel, can now cross. Where feelings can be shared, and understood. Where the process of healing can begin. And where solutions are found. Please join us.