Feelings of resentment - male inferti... - Fertility Network UK

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Feelings of resentment - male infertility


Hi ladies,

Looking for some advice. My partner has serious fertility issues: retrograde ejaculation, low volume and high DNA fragmentation.

Basically, he can’t get me pregnant naturally and every IVF cycle has failed.

I can’t help but feel resentful. I am the one going through the pain, the hormones, the operations, the crushing heartbreak, booking all the appointments.

He is trying by taking supplements and eating well, but let’s be honest, it is mostly the woman that drives this journey and process.

We have talked about it, but it always ends up the same, with me driving everything.

I often feel resentful he can’t give me the one thing I want most in the world: a child.

I sometimes wish I hadn’t picked him, that I wish could be with someone fertile so I wouldn’t have to go through all this pain.

We have grown a lot during this journey, sometimes closer, but also, sometimes apart. I want to fight for the relationship, but IVF makes it so hard. I love him, but at what cost? Never having my own family?

Does anyone else have these feelings? How do you deal with it?


18 Replies

Ah male infertility is quite simply a nightmare. We had complete male infertility and so the choice was eventually taken out of our hands and we had to use a donor.

We always chose to say we had fertility issues and not let it be a blame game because infertility is just crap and ruins so many relationships with resentment.

It was bloody tough though and I had to organise and plan everything. He tried his best but your right it’s the woman who all the focus is on and who has all the treatment.

It sounds like you love your OH and it’s

ok to not be ok sometimes.

Sending hugs your way xx

Hello we have male infertility too. My OH drove me mad because even though it was obvious that genetically there was something on his side (his mother mentioned seven years of trying for him and his brother and wife had IVF) he was in complete denial. He took forever to go to docs and then forever to re-register when we moved house. It took me threatening to leave him to get serious about it which is (only partly) why it took us 5 years to get to our first IVF. It is totally natural to resent them, especially in the first couple of years as I found out. It takes them such a long time to catch up with what's going on and how to support us. Through lots of discussions o would say with time we are much better now. I told him he had to be original and find ways to 'participate' and was really up front with what that meant (i.e doesn't have to be IVF related but picking up more cooking or booking special things). He now books my accupuncture and does small things without me asking him to but it did take a while. I know you think that you won't change what you are feeling now and are worried this will last, but it won't. Really you are going through a grieving process and it sounds like you are in the anger stage (I got stuck there a while myself). You will move on, and 5+ years later even without a child (but hopes of) I feel like we have jointly moved more into the acceptance stage. Give yourself some time to be angry with the world and give him some time to catch up. Look after yourself XX

We started our IVF journey being told by the doctors that it was caused only by male factor infertility (azoospermia) and at no point did I ever resent my husband for that. It wasn’t his choice to have fertility problems. I’m sure that it is killing your partner a little bit every day that he can’t give you the one thing you really want. He might be withdrawing from helping because he feels that as you have said, you sometimes wish you hadn’t picked him. There is also the outdated idea between men that if you can’t produce children you are somehow less of a man. I’m sure you love him and I don’t mean to sound harsh but, how would you feel if the shoe was on the other foot. If you had problems, and your other half blamed you for not giving him a baby. My husband never blamed me when it turned out I had stage 4 endometriosis, meaning i also had serious fertility and general long term health problems requiring 2 major surgeries so far. Unfortunately life is really unfair at times but you either need to pull together or move on, especially if you are going to resent him in the long run as it isnt fair to either of you. I hope you can figure out a way that you can both be happy x

Hi it has been a hard journey and we had no option but to use a donor.

Your other half is probably struggling more than you realise and carrying a lot of guilt for something that isn’t his fault. He probably thinks by letting you take the lead he is letting you have what you want. Like others have said there is a big stigma of being less of a man because of male infertility issues so whilst you are going through a lot of physical things like the injections, and you are both facing emotional difficulties, remember he is probably carrying a lot of guilt and feeling of inadequacy even if he doesn’t show it.

It’s a very hard situation it’s nobody’s fault but it obviously has a big impact. You could try talking to your clinic councillor about it. Personally like ladypii said, I had a very fleeting thought ‘what if I had met and married someone else‘ and that thought terrified me. I love him more than anything and I know I couldn’t live without him.

I hope you can move past these feelings and have my fingers crossed That everything works out for you xx

Ah, resentment. The cherry on the top of the infertility cake! Firstly , I'm so sorry you are going through this and its perfectly normal to have "what if" thoughts , about lots of things in life. I think as others have said, you have to be really mindful of blame with infertility. Your partner didn't choose this, as my partner didn't. As women dont choose endo or pcos for example.

My partner and I very nearly split up over infertility, because we knew we would never have been approved for adoption due to his ex wife ( if you have existing children they ask the other parent of those children for their views on your suitability to adopt; his ex would basically have told them he is satan. He isnt of course but she has resented him for years for moving on after they split up). So I always knew that if ivf did not work I would NEVER be a mum.

Ivf did work and we have two daughters. But I'm still dealing with the trauma of the past 10 years, which is only partly due to ivf but also the stress and trauma that his ex put us through by stopping him from seeing his older children. He didn't ask for any of this and is an amazing father.

Infertility is what life has inexplicably and cruelly dealt you as a couple and if you can move past the anger/blame stage this will help you in the long run. I know this is hard and your feelings are natural.

I dont want to be the person who says "you can always adopt" bc I know that is not helpful (and I wouldn't have been able to!) But hopefully one day by some means you will be a mummy and all this will be behind you both.

Wishing you all the love and luck in the world xxxxxxx

AliceMoonpie in reply to jenny34

That sounds so similar to our story.

In our case I was the source of the fertility issues and not my husband. I would absolutely hate to think he resented me for something that is completely out of my control - I never asked for it! I hate myself enough for being the issue and I’m sure your husband feels the same. There is no guilt quite like it. Please try and keep that in mind.

I know it’s easier said than done, but try to think about how he is feeling too. Trying to conceive was the hardest thing we have ever been through and support from both sides is definitely needed.

I don’t know what your relationship was like, but before we started tests we had a frank conversation about what would happen if the results were bad. I told him I would accept him leaving me as being a parent is something we have both always wanted.... he told me he would rather have me and a child would be an addition to the fantastic life we share together but wouldn’t make us or break us. That’s stayed with me, and even in my darkest moments I was so grateful to have a supportive husband by my side. I guess what I’m trying to say is that in the grand scheme of things, having a child was secondary to us being together and not the only reason we are together. I hope things get better soon xx

I would strongly recommend couples therapy if this is how you’re feeling. My husband and I have it and we’ve never been closer.

It’s so hard. I did have the same thoughts at a point during our treatment. I wish I hadn’t have as I love him to bits but at the point I started to feel it I’d had ohss and three failed transfers and was so tired it of it all. I never blamed him as its nothing he would ever choose to have (!) but the ‘what ifs’ were starting to creep in and it wasn’t so much that I resented him at the time but I wondered if I would in the future.

At that time he went away for two weeks with work, and then I went away the following week to stay with my cousin so I could get some space as my head was so full of thoughts (of adoption/relationships/work/confidence etc). Even though it was a small time apart I did come back recharged and ready for the next round and he also seemed so much better connected to the process and had thought about ways he could help more.

These sort of feelings make the journey so hard as it’s a guilty/tough place for your head space to be in esp when you really really love them.

Wishing you all the best for your treatment, stay strong xxx

Hi Anna_88

I'm in a similar boat and can relate here, except that in my case we also have advanced maternal age. So, we could say that the issues are on both sides, eventhough there is nothing wrong with me apart from my age. That said, I also experience feelings of resentment because, theoretically, had we known earlier about my partner's issues, meaning - had he taken his fertility more seriously earlier, we might have had more chances to conceive.

When I reached 40, I did a lot of tests and my AMH and everything else looked good, so, I thought I had more time. Had my partner done similar tests at that time, we would have taken action much earlier.

And more importantly - yes - I do all of the work, put my health in jeopardy, take a toll on my career etc...and he gets to go on and live a normal life. This is extremely unfair. My sense is that today's science remains sexist. We found a way to fix most cases of male factor sub-fertility, but there isn't much that science does when women have low egg quality. So, even if my partner may have been sub-fertile all of his life and I'm still producing blastocysts at an advanced age, he is the one who has more chances to conceive with his DNA between the two of us.

Don’t want to sound awful but what if it was the over way round and he felt the same I’m approaching fertility issues as a woman and it’s hard we always think people will leave us for someone fertile

Dear all,

Thank you so much for sharing all your experiences, it certainly makes me feel less alone.

I totally understand that resentment is not a helpful emotion and that it is very destructive, that is why I am trying to let it go.

You are right, if it was my issue I would be distraught if he resented me. I guess I feel this way because I am the one doing everything; I push everything; I drive the process - he does very little.

I can't help feeling that if I had infertility issues, I would try and help to resolve them - I feel he doesn't, and that I am alone dealing with "his" issue ( I know it should be "our" issue, but when I am driving the process alone, it is difficult to feel that way.)

We also have a long-distance relationship for the most part because he works abroad, which really doesn't help. I am very independent, but I need more support.

Thanks again for listening and sharing your thoughts. It really helps to know I am not alone xxxx

Missl73 in reply to Anna_88

My partner can be like this too but I actually think it’s in large part denial by him. I know he feels really guilty and responsible but when the doctor tells us things I’ve also noticed him clinging onto only the bits of information he wants to hear and the stuff that makes him feel less of a “failure”. I think a lot of the time it’s because he can’t face it and likes to bury his head in the sand. He struggles to open up and talk and he hasn’t told anyone, not his friends or his family because he feels embarrassed. Once we had a huge fight and he said to me “try walking in my shoes for a minute and having to live with knowing you can’t give the woman you love a child”. I eventually managed to convince him to see the councillor and he found it really helped xx

Melrey in reply to Missl73

Reading this broke my heart, v similar situation x

Missl73 in reply to Melrey

It broke mine too. I’m happy to say though that for us, we’ve been extremely fortunate against all odds I’m now 12 weeks pregnant with his sperm, we just had to stick with it and I didn’t want to give up on him as I know he wouldn’t have given up on me xx

It might be because he’s abroad a lot you feel alone and I can imagine the female would have to do a lot of work because she is the one carrying the baby maybe if you have a talk about how your feeling it will help you feel better your right it should be ‘our ‘issue I got very upset one day when me and my partner discussed ivf and it sounded as if he said he wasn’t paying for it cause it’s my issue I was upset with that comment because it would be our baby and if you want a baby together it should be a joint thing no matter which way you make one I really think you should get some sort of counselling about this because it hurts both parties Infertility is really cruel you have said your very independent but need support so your partner may just not know when to step in maybe I’m just getting my wires crossed but I really hope you can sort things out all the best

Anna_88 in reply to Afrohair

Thanks so much ❤️

I agree - we have found a counsellor,I just hope it helps. He is awful at talking about emotions. I am using a donor for this cycle and he refuses to even mention it and says the baby wouldn’t be “his” 😫


Aaaaw infertility..... Yes my husband has sperm issues. Poor morphology and quantity. Consultant advised he takes supplements and they recommended proxeed sachets twice a day. He has also taken proceive max for men of 40yrs and above.

Yes sometimes I wish I never met him as everyone else is getting pregnant except me. His dad waited for 2yrs before having children, his older brother and wife waited for 4yrs and his uncle waited for 12yrs. So there is dis element of delay factor in their family.

If not that my husband is one of the most caring man I ve ever met, I would have taken a walk long time ago. I tell him that all d time. Its been 6 yrs now and next year I will be 40. My goodness!!!!

Pls take it easy with him, and research for good supplements, you never can tell things would change. Its hard I know. Hugs

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