Telling the Family

Hi there, I'm new to this site as was looking for support as much as Im lucky enough to have friends and family around me they don't understand the true feelings I go through. Reading some of your success stories has given me hope one day me and my partner will become parents. And the ones that still are waiting for that day, I hope your dreams come true.

My situation is this, sadly my partner has a very low sperm count 98% abnormal so are waiting for our transfer to go through on our chosen clinic for IVF. Luckily I'm all ok on the fertility side so my partner as you can imagine blames himself a lot and hates talking about it as he thinks it's his fault. I have a good relationship with my parents and my mum is my first port of call when I need advice or comforting.

But my partner on the other hand hasn't spoken to anyone about it, expect me (and that's only when I bring it up) he's so closed up, but I have suggested he tells his mum as she hasn't got a clue what's going on and she's asking questions like 'when you two going to have kids?' Etc.. and I also think she's needs to know what her son is going through. She would be devistated if she found out off someone else. I've told him I could tell her myself or get his brother to but he doesn't want that. He said the less people who know the better, if it doesn't work that doesn't put as much pressure on us. I see both sides of the argument and I would never go behind his back and tell her without him knowing, but it's not just him in this relationship. Do you think I'm right in her knowing or not? Can anyone give him any advice on what I could do to get him to tell her?

He also around the same time of finding out about his fertility issues, lost his dad very suddenly. So he is very fragile as he has had breakdowns over the last few months

Thanks in advice for your messages

26 Replies

  • Hey, I think this is really tricky..I like you am so close to my mum and always confide in her. However my hubby and his dad aren't particularly close, when we first started treatment I said to him we should tell his dad about what we're going through, hubby was reluctant but I thought they would give him support - unfortunately it's been anything but that, they don't seem to understand what we're going through at all and rarely ask my hubby how we're doing which frustrates us both more. From my experience I would say just let your partner come round to the idea of treatment and I think he'll know when/is the time is right to confide in his mum.

    Also I think the telling people comes in time and although we might not openly admit it, I had a sense of embarrassment that my body can't do what's it meant to however I've now accepted it's not my fault and I'm more open with people about how sh*t this journey is.

    Sorry for my rambles, hopefully I've helped a little & good luck for whatever you and your partner decide xx

  • Thank you for your reply, firstly sorry to hear your hubbys dad didnt give you the support you wanted. But what you sort of stated is what I'm afriaid of as yes he does speak to his mum but they haven't got a massive bond and I know she won't be so sensitive about the matter, but I also know she would be deeply upset if she found out. he said he doesn't mind my mum knowing as she would never approach him about the subject, where's he knows his mum would keep asking him questions and he told me he doesn't like talking about it, it's more hassle for his mum to know. But I also do think my partner is scared he's going to give his mum more worry and stress as her husband died just over a year ago. He's told me he doesn't feel like a real man not being able to produce a child so he obliviously feels embarrassed. It's hard, I've only approached the subject a couple of times and I've never pushed him to do it, just suggested.

    I truly hope your journey is successful and I wish you all the best 😊 and don't worry we all need a ramble every now and again it's what us women do. xx

  • I would offer to tell her but don't go into any detail just say you are seeking fertility treatment and see if she asks why. I told my mum after the ivf as I was scared to open up to her. It was different telling my partners parents he doesn't confide in them at all. I told them by text they said oh good luck and then they have never mentioned it since. They are very wealthy and never once offered us any money to help pay. My mum leant us both the money I'm paying it back slowly. To be honest I think when patents are older like ours in 70's they just don't fully understand. It's really hard as my partner is the same 1 per cent morthology only got diagnosed after me have every test under the sun and not finding anything wrong other than a delayed 2 years to my aging eggs...

    Take care it's a hard journey xxx

  • Thankyou for your reply I really appreciate all your advice. When your going through this you literally feel like the only people in the world. I have mentioned maybe he doesn't need to go into detail with his mum and just say me and Kate are having problems conceiving we're going to need help but I don't want to talk about it at the mo I'm not ready yet sort of thing but he's having none of it. I'm sorry to hear your partners parents weren't so understanding, when your going through this it's enough let alone in laws not being there for you emotionally or giving you the time of day to help you out. Bless your mum though! Luckily my mum and dad said they can pay for one go and after that I don't know what we're going to do, I'm just winging it at the mo and when we get to that stage we'll deal with it. Luckily time is sort of on our side as I'm 24 and my partner is 28. if only money wasn't an issue! I hope your journey lands you in success and all the best for the future 💕 Xx

  • I agree with E_05. I'd let him talk about it in his own time. I have literally only just told my mum and it's not been that helpful. He still doesn't want his parents to know yet despite being incredibly close to his dad. My hunch is that he doesn't want to disappoint them and he still very much feels it's not over for us. I'm further along in the acceptance process hence why I told my mum and my sister in the last couple of weeks.

    I think you'll put more of a strain on your relationship if you push him to share. Just let him come round in his own time. It sounds as though he has a huge amount going on emotionally at the moment and maybe he just can't deal with another person's emotions yet. This happened to me a few years back. My dad had just died, my mother in law was very ill, our cat was killed by a car and we were just realising that things were very wrong in the ttc department. Chuck in a best friend who was panicking about not being pregnant after 6 weeks of trying and I was really struggling. He's probably at his limit. He'll let you know when he's ready to take on more but for now just hug him and let him feel reassured. It's probably all he wants right now.

    Good luck with everything. xxx

  • Thank you for your reply, yeah I think I've come to realise people talk in there own time and I can't push this, us girls are abit more forth coming than men and he's always been a person that bottles his emotions so I need to respect the fact he doesn't at the mo.

    To be fair last year was a shitty year for us, lost his dad in march, found out his sperm count is low in April, we brought our first house together in May, was booked into the interfertilty clinic in June and my partner has a varicocele in both his testicles that's why he's got a low sperm count and they done an opp to try improve sperm count in December and it hasnt worked, so he feels like he's gone through all the pain for nothing (quite literally as it was infected after for like 2months) and is just left with a big scar.

    Oh god It sounds like you had a bad couple of years and I'm sorry to hear that, it's horrible and the last thing you need is your best friend complaining after 6 weeks, I bet it felt like a slap in the face. thankyou for your advice I really appreciate it, I hope everything works out for you and good luck xxx

  • Hey. Know where you are coming from. It very similar or pretty much the same situation with my husband. It so hard and I worry too about him not opening up. I've suggested to mine to talk to a counsellor maybe. I think we gotta respect their call and how they wanna play it. Every one copes so differently. So wish mine would open up more too but he never been that kind of person. I know he can talk to me so always give him that opportunity if he wants to but otherwise can only suggest and offer help. It hard but least he got you. Good luck with all ☺️

  • Thank you for your advice and replying, I feel the more it gets bottled up it's going to build up more and more and he's had a few breakdowns already saying I should leave him etc go find yourself a guy who can give you what you want and make you happy. But you are right, like your hubby you just got to leave them to get on with this and you cant push it, and reinsure them your there if they need you. I hope you get there in the end, all the best and good luck xx

  • My husband chose not to tell his parents for our first round as his dad was off work with stress. It meant I felt I couldn't tell my parents either and it made life much harder. Personally, I think that keeping a secret is more stressful than the process! Would he accept telling his family but not telling them the reason? If you keep it a secret you have to remember not to refer to it ever in front of those people and for me, further down the line, that's been really hard. We are still pretending to his parents that we have only had one failed round, not two, and I'm sure I'm going to slip up some time.

  • Thank you for your reply and advice, it really does help talking to you all. first of all I'm sorry to hear you've had two fail round, I haven't even started yet and I'm finding it hard. Yeah this is how I kinda feel, he's had to have an op to try boost his sperm, sadly it didn't work and even then he lied to his mum saying it was for something else. He told me he only told her in case he didn't wake up from it!! I feel there's now a massive build up of lies and I know I shouldn't care what his mum thinks but I do, she got cross the other day with him as she had heard off somebody at work our cat wasn't very well and he didn't tell her. And she said I wish he told me things I get so fustrated! I have suggested he just mentions we have been trying for a baby but we need help and just say we are not ready to talk about it yet but he's dismissed it completely.

    I think I've just got to leave it and let him decide. I wish you all the best with your next round I hope it brings you happiness xx

  • Yes it really is down to him, as long as it's not stopping you getting support from your friends and family as necessary x

  • Ps after mentioning this thread to my hubbie he admitted he has already slipped up in front of parents and so they know about two rounds, phew, no more fibbing!

  • Oh good! I hope they took it well xx

  • They're great. It's more that we didn't want to stress them out any more whilst his dad was having a hard time at work. He's changed jobs now!

  • Hi there, I'm new here too. We've been having fertility tests for about a year & recently been given the green light to start down the IVF path. My husband was also reluctant to tell his family, but was happy to share with mine. That positive experience helped him feel more confident to share with his mum & sister. However, we both agreed that we wouldn't share "who's fault it was" as it were, as we agreed it was a challenge that we were facing together so it shouldn't matter.

    I understand you being worried about your mother-in-laws feelings, but I guess at the end of the day the most important people in this are you & your partner!

    (Also my top tip for nosey parkers asking us when we're going to have kids is to say "I'm not sure... but we're practicing ALOT at the moment...!"gets them all embarrassed (and serves them right for asking such personal questions out of the blue in my opinion!)

    Not sure if this is helpful, but has been my experience so far. Good luck :)

  • I totally agree about keeping the reasons to yourselves. My husband and I decided on this very early on. As it happens we have unexplained but we'd already planned to just keep it to ourselves. While people mostly mean well, they will judge as it's human nature. We felt our marriage would be stronger if we didn't 'offer' out any weaknesses for others to pick over. That includes our parents. At the end of the day, they love us but want what we want and we felt they could 'blame' one of us through their love for the other. It was easier to just say, "that's private and irrelevant because our vows were in sickness and in health." x

  • Very wise words MrsC 😊 And also very true! Xxx

  • Haha thank you for your advice I particularly like your nosey Parker one, I just hate the fact just cos you brought a house together it instantly means children and marriage straight away to some people! I hope your journey goes well and brings you all the best. I said to my partner your problems are my problems and we'll work through this. It's hard to keep a smile on your face though. So yes that is a good idea to say its both our problem I think my partners mum will probably guess and know it's him as he had to have an op on his testicles to try boost he's sperm, sadly it didn't work but even then he lied to her and told her it was something else. You are right we should only be worried about ourselves, it's just my mum is very different to his mum. she would have a grudge on us that his brother and fiancé knew and she didn't. His brother only knows cos I had to go to him for help as he Was feeling so low I got worried about him doing something stupid! He knows I'm here and his brother is here if he needs us and that's all what matters at the mo I think. Thank you again and everyone's comments are so helpful! Good Luck! Xxx

  • Hello, I went through exactly the same with my husband. He had low count and quality and didn't want anyone to know we needed ivf as he felt emasculated and like a and their swimmers are a massive pride thing. It literally means everything to them to be able to reproduce so when they find out they can't it's a massive kick in the n*ts!...imagine the conversations they've grown up having with their mates down the pub?! So anyway in the end we did mention it to our folk but didn't go into detail (it took a couple of years to get there)...and even now I'm 9wks pregnant, I want to shout about our ivf miracle from the rooftops as I'm so proud of it and what we've been through to get here, but he wants the wider world to believe he "did it' through his own steam. I think it's such a delicate subject when it's male factor. We have to tread carefully and go at their own pace...also good to remember is us girls generally deal with our problems by talking to our friends/family...whereas guys rarely do. Its just the way they deal with things and often there is nothing wrong with that.


    PS:- I remember when we found out I was all ok, saying something like "oh that's good news then...only one thing to deal with" didn't go down too well 😂 I don't think they like being reminded they're "the problem" (even though I didn't see or mean it like that)...male pride is one of the most delicate things in the world! xx

  • Thank you for taking the time to reply. That's exactly what I think, it's a mans thing and for him giving me a child is what makes him a man, guys joke 'oh your shooting blanks' sort of thing and I think that's what gets him worried is people thinking that if they know. I'm going to respect the fact he's got alot going on, his dad passing away last March, we brought our first house in may last year and are trying to do it up, and getting a new job is all stress factors for him and realistically I know he's not ready to talk yet. He barely talks to me about it and like you said girls tend to like to get it off there chest.

    A massive congratulations! I would be exactly the same wanting to tell the world. It's something to be proud of getting this far. I wish you all the best in your pregnancy. I bet your both bloody over the moon 😊

    Thanks again and take care xx

  • So sorry to hear about his dad passing, has he spoken or would consider speaking to a counsellor? It might help how he feels towards his treatment as well as speaking about his dad. I think most men don't have the same relationships with their parents like us women either so they don't talk in the same way but hopefully in time he'll decide it's right. I can understand your concerns about his mum finding out though, is there anyone that knows that would be likely to tell her?

    Thank you, wishing you and your partner lots of luck to xx

  • Hello, no he wouldn't talk to anyone I've mentioned about seeing a doctor and he doesn't want to do that. I've involed his brother as I'm close to his fiancé but that's only cos they knew we were ttc before we knew anything was wrong and when my partner had a massive break down telling me to leave him as he couldn't give me what I wanted and was talking about harming himself I got his brother round to speak to him as I was so worried. As his brother put it 'he is one hard nut to crack' he very very rarely shows any emotion and just bottles it all up until he explodes.

    So his mum works the same place I do, luckily I don't see her much as she works on a different department so a few work friends know so it could slip there and like I said his brother and fiancé know and that's probably the only people that know she would come in contact with. So hopefully it would never happen, I just over think things in my head lol. Xxx

  • My situation was opposite to yours my husband wanted to tell everyone but I didn't as the extra pressure and expectations would be higher and if it didn't work I didn't want to face everyone and them giving me sympathy as it wouldn't help the situation.

    Not telling anyone worked for me as my ivf treatment worked just do what you feel is right with your family and get your husband to do what he feels comfortable with as if he feels pressured it won't help the treatment you both have to be happy with the situation.

    Good luck xXx

  • Hello thank you for taking the time to reply, oh really? like you that's exactly what my parnter said about the extra pressure and higher expectations. And I do agree with him on that front, not everyone needs to know and I've decided not to tell anyone when we actually start the treatment as if it doesn't work I need to deal with it in my own time. Im so glad it worked for you both though, it gives me hope one day it will happen to us. All the best xx

  • Yes the timing thing is a good point... people who knew about my last round of ivf were kindly saying "oh let us know how it goes" and I had to somehow point out that I wouldn't be ringing them to say "I'm not pregnant"! I settled for saying, if I get pregnant I'll tell people at twelve weeks like any normal pregnancy. And they had to settle for that!

  • Hello i am really sorry for all you are going through must be going through some hard time now.If i may ask have you heard of the miracles that comes with the use of "anointing water"

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