Dear Ovia, Male fertility testing

Dear Ovia is an ongoing series where we answer your love and relationship questions. To submit a question, send us a message on Instagram. We answer all questions anonymously.

Dear Ovia, How do I tell my hubby that he’s the one who needs to get tested now?

This is such an important issue, and a surprising challenge for many people with a male partner. It’s been ingrained in our culture for so long that infertility is very likely a woman’s “fault.” And many people are genuinely shocked to learn that about half of all known cases of infertility have what’s called a male factor. Infertility is no one’s fault, and identifying medical issues that impact your struggle to conceive shouldn’t carry stigma, but I live in the real world with you, so I know that stigma is alive and well.

My advice is to be as dry as you can about it. If this is a first attempt, go basic, “Hey, doctors say the next step is a sperm analysis, they gave me the info for a provider for you.” Even though there are big emotions involved, this is a medical and clinical step. Keeping the conversation simple and medical can help. 

That said, you know your hubby best. Would it work best to make the appointment and tell him when it is? Or maybe to have your doctor explain that it’s the next step if he’s said he doesn’t think he needs to go get tested? Or to reassure him this is what everyone does at this stage? 

Again, we live in a culture that often connects fertility and feelings of pride. If he’s having trouble believing he may need medical help to conceive, there’s probably some grieving and acceptance that has to happen. 

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