Remembering the Hopes and Dreams of Future Fathers
17 JUN 2021
More and more, society is learning to support women through the fertility journey, and while we have a long road before we truly demonstrate an appropriate level of support, I also feel strongly that men should be included in the conversation.
My daughters and I are looking forward to celebrating their dad on Father’s Day this year, as we do every year. He’s a wonderful, doting father who prepares their favorite breakfasts, washes their hair, picks them up at school, shares his love of WWE, reads bedtime stories and so much more. None of us receive an instruction manual on how to be good parents; seeing how naturally he’s stepped into the role makes me admire him even more. Seeing the joy that fatherhood has brought to him, also fills me with a sense of purpose as I work daily to support others through their fertility journey to build a family of their own. I know that the toll infertility can take on men is often not discussed, so this Father’s Day, I would like to shine a light on the men striving to be dads who are facing the emotional impact of their fertility journeys.
Men Want Children, Too
Chances are that you know someone who is struggling with infertility, as it’s estimated that as many as one in eight couples struggle to conceive. In these circumstances, oftentimes our society focuses heavily on the innate biological desire of women to be mothers, overlooking that men yearn to build families as well. More and more, society is learning to support women through the fertility journey, and while we have a long road before we truly demonstrate an appropriate level of support, I also feel strongly that men should be included in the conversation. By including men and honoring their role as fathers, we are acknowledging the partnership of couples and the importance of supporting each other to build a family together.
In my professional life, I have seen the impact infertility has had on individuals and couples and am honored to have the opportunity to work for a company that does so much to help. In the important spirit of inclusion, I hope that we can collectively understand what both women and men experience in the journey to create a family and extend equal support to each and every person facing this challenge regardless of gender.
Seeing Through Different Lenses
I will be honest with you, before joining EMD Serono, I mainly thought of infertility as a women’s health issue - I was surprised to learn that one third of infertility cases are attributed to male infertility factors, one third to female, and one third to male/ female combined.1 My understanding of the journey faced by couples continued to grow after my own experience with starting a family. While I’m not an IVF patient, my husband and I have experienced the heartache and disappointment that comes from struggling to conceive. I can personally relate to the emotions and stress faced by both people in a relationship and I apply that understanding to what I do every day.
I am fortunate in my work to also have the ability to see the fertility journey through different lenses, as no two journeys are exactly the same. In seeking to understand the entire fertility journey, I’ve been lucky to connect with several “IVF dads” to hear first-hand about their family building experience and have been inspired by their openness about the trials, tribulations, failures and successes they personally felt along the way. These people are at the root of my dedication to this field of medicine. Recognizing that this community is very diverse with varied needs is at the core of everything we do. We aspire to be the undisputed leader in Fertility Solutions, constantly innovating to address the needs of healthcare professionals and their patients.
Happy Father’s Day?
Our fertility journey has a happy ending, but it’s not lost on me how different our lives and family would be if we did not have access to modern medicine and fertility care. While major advances have been made in the past 25 years, there is still so much opportunity to improve upon what is still an emotionally, mentally, physically and financially burdensome experience and to help more families bring home the baby they have longed for.
Now, seven years after we brought home our first baby, I see my husband and our two daughters interacting and it warms my heart. These three people are among the most important in my life. I know how much my husband adores our girls and how much they adore him, and we are truly blessed to be able to celebrate this special relationship each year. At the same time, I also realize how agonizing it may be for some men to face Father’s Day not knowing if or when their most fervent hopes will be realized. Organizations like Resolve the National Infertility Organization and Men Having Babies provide guidance on how to approach this potentially sensitive topic. Along those lines, I’d ask that as you celebrate Father’s Day this year, keep these men and their partners in your thoughts. And, if you know someone struggling with infertility, don’t be afraid to reach out to show support.