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Reflections on Father's Day

Jun 13, 2013 10:16AM ● By tina

Dr. Goldstein and his sons enjoying a hike.

A Fertility Specialist’s Perspective on the Male Journey Through Infertility

 

Sponsored by Fertility Specialists of Texas

Written by Dr. Jerald Goldstein

 

On this year’s Father's Day, I cannot help but think about the awesome responsibility that comes with being a father. After med school, I thought I really understood what life was about — but I didn’t.

I truly think becoming a father is one of the most maturing experiences a man can go through, even though he might not realize it at the time. So often men get lost in the infertility evaluation, and there can be a general belief that infertility is a female problem. In fact, approximately one-third of cases are male-related issues, and regardless which partner is the cause, infertility is a couple’s problem that must be dealt with as a team.

Emotionally, infertility carries a heavy burden for men, even though they might not show it.  This concept is extremely important as the feelings of the man often go unnoticed.

So how does this become apparent?

When speaking to couples with infertility issues, often the husband does not seem to be affected by months and months of trying to conceive. It might not be noticeable on the surface, but it comes out in many other ways.  In my experience as a physician, men and women deal with infertility quite differently in their lives and their relationships. A man often ties his sense of masculinity to the ability to conceive a child. Many men believe that poor sperm quality or low sperm count make them somehow less of a man.  Some men suffer intense feelings of guilt, anger or low self-esteem. These feelings can affect all aspects of their lives.

Millions of men confront infertility. If your partner is having difficulty getting pregnant, you are not alone. The good news is many men with fertility issues go on to become fathers. Luckily, there are now several techniques that enable couples to have children when previously, this would have been difficult or impossible.  Specifically, the ability to take a single sperm and inject it into an egg in order for fertilization to occur is now possible.  The use of this process requires in vitro fertilization (IVF) and must be performed by an experienced physician at a state-of-the-art facility. 

As a reproductive endocrinologist, it is truly one of the most gratifying moments when you can help a couple who were once convinced they had reached the end of the road. Although not everyone is able to get pregnant, we certainly do our best to properly identify why there is difficulty and discuss what options are available to each couple.

During treatment, I know many men will feel frustrated. They want to problem-solve and are affected by their partner’s pain. My suggestion is to see a fertility specialist so you can get answers because there are usually very good options. Ask your wife what she needs.  It is hard, especially when many men have a sense of helplessness and frustration. I would suggest doing this before you start treatment, as opposed to the middle of the treatment cycle.   

Trust me: You don’t want to get to the point where you and your partner are barely able to talk. Together with a plan, most couples are able to have a family. It is my wish for you that this Father’s Day, your fertility struggle might become less stressful and that this year will be the last year of your fertility journey. 

Jerald S Goldstein MD

Jerald S. Goldstein, M.D., a native Texan, is the founder and medical director at Fertility Specialists of Texas. He is board certified in both Obstetrics and Gynecology and Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility. He received his Bachelor of Science degree with honors from Tulane University and graduated from the University of Texas Southwestern Medical School. Dr. Goldstein’s passion for helping couples achieve a pregnancy is reflected in his kind and compassionate relationship he develops with patients.

Following his residency and fellowship, Dr. Goldstein was an Assistant Professor in the Division of Reproductive Endocrinology at Washington University Medical Center in St. Louis.

Dr. Goldstein is the author of scientific publications in peer-reviewed journals including  and Fertility and SterilityObstetrics and Gynecology

He is a member of the medical staff at  Baylor Medical Center in Frisco as well as Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital.  Dr. Goldstein is a member of the American Society of Reproductive Medicine, American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology as well as the Society for Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility (SREI).

Dr. Goldstein’s areas of expertise include in vitro fertilization, recurrent pregnancy loss, polycystic ovarian syndrome,endometriosisdonor eggpre-implantation genetic diagnosis, and fertility preservation in couples undergoing therapy for cancer.