Do men get stuck on the two-week roller coaster of fertility too? You bet. So much of the focus of medical appointments and internet articles and books on Amazon speak to the female side of fertility. But that is leaving out half of the equation.
Guys are definitely affected by the two-week-wait as well. I want to talk about a few topics that I see come up often…
With fertility struggles, there is so often an interrnal struggle about the blame game. “Is it her or is it me?” “What’s wrong with me?” “If only….” Especially when the doctor has diagnosed “unexplained infertility.” This leads to all sorts of imaginative ideas of why the couple isn’t getting pregnant.
In treatment, I often hear both partners separately share with me how worried they are that it’s their own fault. I’ve seen both sides – blame being laid on oneself or the other person, as well as overly taking responsibility.
But the fact is, there are two people involved who have very highly complex systems, that blaming or overly accepting responsibility for the lack of pregnancy doesn’t help either person. Both partners can get medically checked out to rule out obvious conditions.
But even if one person ends up with a diagnosis, and the other not, it doesn’t mean it’s all that person’s fault. Lots of little miracles go into conception, much of it out of your control.
Do helpful things that are in your control: go to bed earlier, eat more vegetables, follow-up on your treatment plan, etc. And then remove the idea of fault or blame from your thoughts.
I confess I am going to state a stereotype here, so take this loosely… Men are often “fixers” by nature. (I know you can argue that not all men are, or that some women are too, and that’s all true, but I do see this often enough in practice that it’s worth mentioning). “Let’s figure out what’s wrong and just fix it.”
With fertility, oftentimes there isn’t a neat and tidy “wrong” to be fixed.
So it can create a lot of frustration both internally and between the couple.
One area where I see this the most is at the emotional low of two-week-wait – particularly when her cycle comes as confirmation that she’s not pregnant this month. It’s a little grieving process that happens each time – usually tears, frustration, and despair are involved. This usually isn’t the time to go into fix-it mode.
For her, she probably most needs to just be supported and listened to (even if it’s a repeat discussion as last month). And for you, fix-it mode might actually be covering up for stressors that you are feeling too at this time. Next time this comes up, notice if you’re wanting to fix.
If you have been trying for a long time and decide it’s time to get checked out, I strongly encourage BOTH partners get evaluated. I have had a number of times when the woman comes in for treatment but her husband refused to get an analysis done, so it’s like putting together a jigsaw puzzle knowing that some of the pieces are missing. Testing for men is much less involved (though maybe a little discomforting) that there’s no reason to skip it.
How Acupuncture Helps
As I mentioned in the previous post for women, there are no specific rules for how you go about acupuncture treatment. This has to be a plan that fits into your life, your schedule, and your financial situation.
That said, all other factors aside, it is best that both partners come in for their own treatments. Remember what I said up above how even if one person has a diagnosis, it doesn’t mean it all relies on them. Doing what you can for both of you to have optimal health will only help.
Quality of Sperm
Acupuncture can help the quantity and quality of sperm. See the “In the News” posts on our Facebook page for some of the latest research studies.
Stress reduction isn’t just fluff. Your body uses molecules called “precursor hormones” to make both stress hormones and reproductive hormones. This part is true for both men and women: if stress is high, these precursors will be diverted by your body to make more stress hormones.
On a certain level, your body doesn’t know the difference between being chased by a lion and being reprimanded at work. In a simplified version… if you need to run away from a lion, your body thinks it doesn’t need to be making a baby at that moment.
As stress is reduced, your body will then allow these precursors to go on to make more of the reproductive hormones.
Another aspect of stress is performance anxiety. It can be difficult month after month to be expected to be ready to go at a moment’s notice. While there is truth to the timing and having a small-ish window of opportunity to conceive each month, there are tips that can help.
Knowing a little bit about her timing might help – or asking her to give you a reminder, like “hey, let’s make this a light week schedule-wise”. Then try to go to sleep early that week to feel more rested, or postpone an outside obligation to the following week.
You might have other symptoms as well – ones that are closely related to fertility like E.D. or ones that might seem completely irrelevant like digestive troubles. Again the goal with acupuncture is making sure your body is in good working order and running smoothly.
[Now, I realize with these last two posts, I’m addressing male and female partnerships here – dating, partnered, married etc. There is a whole bigger world of options for having a child, so please know that I’m not making assumptions or excluding other scenarios for those who could benefit from acupuncture.]
Those going through fertility issues often want to meet with me for a free 15-minute Q&A consult first. Usually they are grappling with a bunch of health and financial decisions and have questions about treatment. If you are wondering how acupuncture might help, please call to set up your Q&A consult at 815-942-2580 or submit a request here.