Tuesday, February 27, 2007


I don't know what to do or where to turn at the moment. I feel like I've been emotionally beaten and torn down. And that doesn't happen often to me, but when it does, it's severe.

Last week, my husband talked to me about a recent discussion that is apparently happening on the donor dads forums. While I'm sure many men discuss various topics -- just as we do, ladies -- the particular topic he mentioned was "pressure" and how some men feel pressured by their wives to use a donor. My husband told me that he sometimes feels that I am pressuring him to use a donor, and that I'm pressuring him to have more children. (As a reminder to my readers, I don't have any children, but he has two from a previous marriage, who live with their mom. He sees them every second weekend.)

Pressure. Hmm. Fair enough. I see his point. I do want children. I don't know how to quell that desire; in many respects it's a basic human function and need, much like food, water, love, etc. The need to procreate and pass on family history and traditions from generation to generation. Yes, there's some level of pressure there. In his view, there are two levels of pressure: (1) to use a donor and (2) to have children at all.

Using a donor
Okay, let's examine this one. If we didn't use a donor (saving us thousands of dollars), we would have to do IVF-ICSI. To do this, he would have to have surgery, and he had indicated he didn't want to do that. I would have to undergo a much more intense protocol of medications, injections and monitoring. We would come close to depleting our savings and likely still have to take out a personal loan. And of course, there is the travel to and from the clinic, necessitating overnight stays in Montréal (possibly more expenses). Remind me again... wasn't it he who pushed for a donor in the first place because he didn't want any of that? He was fine with using a donor? Remember that? What is this 180 degree turn? I don't get it. I just don't.

Having children for the second time
My husband has two children who are now 12 and 11. And he's unsure now at his age if he's ready to tackle that again. The midnight feedings. The diaper changes. The whole parenting routine. He's done it and he had originally thought that he was finished with that stage of his life. But where does that leave us? When we talked about this, he said he understood where I was coming from and he would be willing to have children with me. He said he wanted to bring a child into our lives to share our home, our love, our world. But now he doesn't? What happened? Or has he actually thought that through? Has he simply returned to his old way of thinking because it is what he was used to? Old habits die hard? I don't know. Again, I just don't get it.

I don't want to resent my husband; that isn't fair. Let's be honest: I went into this relationship knowing that he had had a vasectomy and that he'd had two children and he wasn't expecting to have any more. Since we met in 2000, his mindset seemed to have changed. He said that he wanted to have a baby. And suddenly, now he doesn't? *scratches head* So, in effect, my husband is preventing me from becoming a mother. Nice to know I'm being limited in my life's parameters and goals. Sorry. /snarky attitude off

Now you take those two ingredients and mix them with the following:
He asked, "How many times do you want to try donor sperm before we give up?" Huh? How can you expect me to answer that right off the top of my head? I can't. Good God, we've only tried donor inseminations once so far! Give it a chance man! And to come up with a number like that, just off the cuff, I can't do that. Besides, the number of attempts would be decided in collaboration with our RE, and since we're on a TTC break for one more month, I haven't been in touch with the RE's office. He hasn't had any input here yet. So to ask me on the fly to make a snap decision on how many times we try with donor sperm before we give up is a little unreasonable. It seemed to me like he was willing to give up there and then.

If I give up donor sperm IUIs, then what? Do I let my dream of motherhood die? Do I try to get it through my head and my heart that I am never going to be a mom? How do I live with myself? How do I go on? What goals do I set for my life if I don't have that one? I've no idea. I don't know if I can go down that particular path of IF. Tears well in my eyes just writing that.

Yes, I am resenting him right now. It's making me question many things in my life at the moment. So much for having a lovely visit with my mom and aunt. I've not been fit to live with and it isn't their fault at all.

I'm still trying to figure out my next course of action. But at the moment, I don't have any idea on how to proceed, if I proceed at all.


Shop Girl said...

Hi Gil,
I'm so sorry to hear about this latest conversation with your husband. I don't remember how long it's been since you both decided on the donor sperm route, but just as a point of reference - it tooks my husband and I about 9 months from the time of his male infertility diagnosis to the time of settling on donor sperm as our path forward.

I pulled my hair out many a times waiting for him to come to grips with this path. But knowing my husband, I knew I had to give him time to process it in his own way, on his own timeframe. This is not to say we did not discuss/argue this point a lot, and even consider adoption as an alternate choice. But in the end, he came around, and that is what I hope is in the cards for you both.

Aurelia said...

Okay...well you know I have a slight bias here, but I'm wondering if the issue is donor sperm OR having kids at all; because they are two separate issues.

Reality is that yes, you are here and married now and it is unfair of him to change his mind at this point. (You never have to apologize for the snarky bit to me!! The issues I've had with my hubs over this, *eyeroll*) As for his fears about the work involved with having kids...puh-leeze unless he is a rare paragon of virtue, most Dads don't do the majority of work of raising kids. That falls to Mom. At least based on us & all of our friends etc. for years... so I wonder if that is the real issue.

He may not feel comfortable yet about donor sperm, and may want to try IVF/ICSI or try IUI with his own sperm again. His worked before right? The problem that time may simply have been a chromosomal issue with the embryo. (Which can happen in any pregnancy, ART or not.)

Is it worth asking him to clarify which issue bothers him more? Maybe he needs to add up the dollars for IVF/ICSI and maybe he'll want to try it just once? Or not and he will agree to donor sperm? And if he can find the money to try it, are you willing to go through IVF procedures to meet him halfway?

I just think they really are two separate issues and you two need to talk about both.


Anonymous said...

I am sorry that things are seem so unsettled right now. I think Aurelia is right, you need to identify which issue he has a problem with - the children or donor sperm.

I hope you are able to come to some kind of agreement that will allow you to be a mom and still keep your husband happy.

Anonymous said...

Hey Gil...
Wish I was there to give you a huge hug and a shoulder in person...sigh....

In some ways we are in a similar boat...not in terms of the donor sperm although I can imagine that if that route was necessary for us, Sariel would have major apprehensions.

Sariel also has a 12 year old child and wasn't sure about getting into the whole baby thing again. Well, he was actually pretty sure he wasn't. We both started off ambivalent but he was def leaning towards "no more babies". It's pretty scarey when the man you love and the one you want to be a parent with isn't sure he's into it. Sometimes I think that's part of the reason we've struggled with infertility...because we were meant to have more time to get on the same page.

I don't have much advice for you...other than to empathize...I really get it. And I also get how important it is to be somewhere on the same page together....these are really tough conversations to have and it feels as though everything is at stake...
on the other hand, it's a testatment to your relationship that he could bring it up with you...hopefully you guys will be able to talk more and come to a better understanding of where the disconnect is...with love and patience and probably lots of tears and more fear and love and patience get the picture....

i wish you only the best as you sort this out and for what it's worth i have a strong sense that you two will find your way and will get back on the same page...


Anonymous said...

I went through this before I even knew I had infertility issues. My boyfriend at the time had a vasectomy and 2 teenage daughters. At first, he told me he'd stand by me. In the end, he changed his mind and I left him. I'm not saying that this is the solution but you have to make sure that you don't end up resenting your husband for preventing you from being a mother or resenting your child if you were to lose your husband.

I've never been big on the whole marriage thing so my choice was clear - I've wanted to be a mother since I was barely out of diapers. I was also raised by a single mom so that was never a insurmountable fear for me.

The fertility clinic I go to pretty much told me that they would try donor insemination for three months while on Clomid and, if that didn't work, they'd try up to three months with injections. After that, they wouldn't let me waste my money - it would have to be in vitro, adoption, etc.

Good luck and do what is right for you. You have to live with your decision so look deep in your heart and you'll find your path.

You're in my thoughts and prayers,

Vee said...


I am sorry you are in a tough situation. As if the whole donor path isn't hard enough.
I don't think it is fair , I understand that people change their minds but it is a huge decision in the first place so once you have finally come to an agreement and you know the road you are traveling and are traveling....together.... it is difficult just to stop in your tracks.

I agree with Tam, you need to find a solution where by you don't end up resenting your husband for not allowing you to achieve your dream.

Like Tam also mentioned most clinics suggest you do at least 3 rounds of IUI, ( I pushed for 5) Then it is usually time to move onto IVF.

All the best and stay strong !

Lisa said...

It sucks to have to cope with your husband's apprehensions and fears. I went through a similar struggle with mine. From early on in our relationship, I told him that kids would be important to me, and that if he wasn't on board with that, he needed to tell me. He was always ambivalent, but agreed to be open to it. When we married, having a reversal was an unwritten. "prenuptial."
Despite all that, he almost backed out at some point, and told me about his fears all along the way. In the end, though, he agreed. We're pregnant now, he still has moments of fear, but he's also excited.
My point is that I wonder if your DH will come around. The fear is normal, even if he didn't have older kids. He can be scared and still move forward!
That's my hope for you, anyway!

Marie-Baguette said...

I hope your situation will improve soon. I believe that all couples who go through infertility should get some sort of psychological support. Each and every decision can potentially change your life forever, and it so hard on a couple. We got help from a therapist, even though I have always snickered at couple therapy ("ah! ces americains!"). And, to my surprise, it helped. Like the other bloggers, what seems important is to find out what your hubby is against -- donor sperm or babies. Our therapist mentioned that it is extremely hard for a father to look at his child and wonder what part of the kid is from his wife and what part is from a complete stranger. Maybe what is why he is afraid of?
Re: the surgery, it is NOTHING. Yep, it is highly disturbing, but there is no pain. If your hubby wants to discuss it with my hubby, he will be happy to share his experience. Re: money is there no way for you to get some financial help? Here in the US, some states offer financial help. Also doctors are willing to cut their fees and give away free drugs. Groups like Resolve might be able to point you to support groups. You may even get free or cheap lodging. Good luck with everything.