A diagnosis of azoospermia – no sperm, a type of male factor infertility – isn’t just shocking for a man, it’s a blow to his masculinity and ego. Some men pride themselves on their virility and ability to father children.
“Thank you for your She Blossoms blog; specifically, the articles on male infertility,” writes Nan on What to Do When Your Husband Has Azoospermia. My husband and I found out about a year ago that he has azoospermia. Like you and your husband, we’re dealing with infertility and possible fertility treatments. It’s very hard to find support for this specific type of issue online, so I was grateful when I found your blog and learned you dealt with an azoospermia diagnosis. We are only 30, and our friends are having babies. It’s sad and disappointing to discover we’re coping with male infertility. I know we have a long road ahead, but we believe God will helps us find our way.”
This reader didn’t ask for advice on help a man deal with the shock of male infertility, but I decided to write this post for you. You’re here for a reason, and you may find my experience with azoospermia (no sperm count in men) helpful.
If you and your husband are coping with azoospermia — or any type of infertility — feel free to share in the comments section below. What are you dealing with, and how are you doing?
5 Ways to Help Your Husband Deal With Azoospermia
My articles — especially the ones on coping with loss and grief — are broken up into five different categories. This offers a holistic approach to health, life and relationships. I write about the whole person: Spirit, Heart, Soul, Body, and Brain. And, the separate “Blossom Tips” help you identify which works best for you.
1. Spirit – Find your way to faith
A personal relationship with God won’t erase the pain of male infertility or protect your husband from the shock of an azoospermia diagnosis. Nor will your faith miraculously make babies appear in your life. What, then, can faith do for you?
Faith can give you strength to cope with whatever comes your way. I encourage you to pray about having a baby, and to trust God to bring the right family into their lives at the right time and in the right way. More importantly, I encourage you to love God regardless of what happens in your life! You will find deep peace and joy in your life if you build a relationship with Jesus that goes beyond your life situation. You will find freedom and fulfillment no matter what happens, because your joy won’t depend on external circumstances. It’s an amazing gift that God freely gives believers.
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2. Heart – Learn what your husband needs to cope with infertility
Many men find it uncomfortable to talk about the feelings associated with a diagnosis of azoospermia. Your husband may feel embarrassed, angry, or even ashamed about being associated with male infertility. He may want to hide the diagnosis from friends and family, and even refuse to talk to you about it.
When my husband was diagnosed with azoospermia, his primary reaction was shock. We assumed we were having trouble getting pregnant because of me. Female infertility is almost always the assumed reason for problems conceiving a baby, even though male infertility is the reason for inconception at least 30% of the time. After shock came grief…and eventually acceptance. Accepting infertility was a process that took time, but it brought us closer together as a couple.
3. Soul – Try different ways to talk about azoospermia
The most important thing about any type of loss or grief — which azoospermia is! — is to express the pain. If your husband suppresses or denies his feelings, he’ll suffer in the long run. Grief accumulates if it’s not expressed, which means that future disappointments or losses will become destructive if this current pain isn’t dealt with.
How is your husband feeling about the diagnosis? Who does he talk to? Where does he express his thoughts about male infertility? Consider talking to an infertility counselor or grief expert about how to help your husband deal with azoospermia. Don’t make infertility an issue, but do try to ensure your husband is coping in healthy ways.
4. Body – Get active with your husband
Not everyone needs to talk through pain, in order to express it. Talking is one way to process the grief and loss of male infertility. Another — and perhaps equally effective, depending on the man — way to cope is through physical exercise. If your husband belongs to a sports team or group, encourage him to keep going. Any form of exercise is healthy and healing. The healthier your husband is, the happier he (and you) will be.
My husband’s type of azoospermia is incurable, but you might talk to your husband about eating foods that improve sperm count. Research the type of male infertility he’s been diagnosed with, and talk to your doctor about possible ways to increase his health.
5. Brain – Talk about different ways to have a family
Having your own biological children is one way to have a family. Most couples don’t get married planning to adopt or foster kids, but many are happily surprised to learn that adoption or fostering is a fulfilling, meaningful way to build a family.
Research different ways to have children, and talk about each method. Maybe fertility treatments would work for you, or undergoing surgery or procedures to help with male infertility. Maybe you and your husband will decide you want to remain childless, like me and my husband did. Maybe you’ll opt for intrauterine insemination with a sperm donor, or volunteer with kids through a local school program.
If you’re struggling to communicate with your husband, read I Hear You: The Surprisingly Simple Skill Behind Extraordinary Relationships by Michael S. Sorensen.
You’ll learn how to increase feelings of love, respect, and mutual understanding without having to go to couples counseling or fighting to be heard. This book will help you offer your husband the support and encouragement he needs to cope with male infertility, and even become comfortable with the diagnosis of azoospermia. This book isn’t about infertility; it’s about relationships in general.
To learn more about infertility and conception, read Causes of Infertility for Men and Women Who Can’t Get Pregnant.
The possibilities for being happy and fulfilled are endless! And the choice is yours: will you let a diagnosis of azoospermia destroy your life together, or will you grab each other’s hand and move forward into a life you never expected?
Your thoughts – big and little – are welcome below. I read every comment, but don’t worry: I won’t give advice or tell you what to do about helping your husband cope with an infertility diagnosis or male factor infertility. It’s your turn to talk.
You have a source of wisdom that goes far above me, and you’ll listen to His voice when you’re ready. Then, your faith will give you the strength and courage you need to walk into the next season of life. You’ll cope with this experience, and you’ll blossom into who God created you to be.