June 2015

How Can I Help, Honey?

In the realm of IVF, the male figure and his role are often overshadowed by the female. It is, after all, the woman’s body that is subjected to the rigours of treatment, and it is her body that will ultimately carry the fetus, should efforts see fruition. Yet, the man’s contributions to the process are indispensable, and these can and should go beyond the physical. 

We speak, here, mainly, of how a man might best support his wife (or partner, as the case may be), throughout the process of treatment—how he might lend her support and facilitate an atmosphere, conducive to success. It is in this arena that many men fall short, failing to really answer the needs of their spouses or partners.

Aside from financial aid (and taking solidarity for granted), the man who seeks to succour his mate strives to ensure her comfort, both physical and mental, at every turn; essentially, he waits upon her. He allows slights and minor irritations to go by, without retaliation, and he maintains control over his own temper, knowing that failing to do so would only make matters harder for her.

If the couple are seeking reproductive assistance, outside of their own country (i.e., “fertility tourism”), a man will do well to manage the practical details of travelling abroad—flight booking and transportation, to and from the airport, as well as dining and lodging arrangements. And when the woman receives news from her physicians, good or bad, he is there, by her side, consoling or celebrating, as the moment may dictate. To appreciate the strain his loved one is under, the man educates himself, as to the whole of the IVF process; in this way, he may be better informed to assist her, rather than stand, oblivious, to the challenges she is facing.

Beyond these measures, a man can also take preparatory action, in caring for his own body. He may consume fertility “superfoods,” such as maca, royal jelly, bee pollen, and whey powder, along with pesticide-free produce. He may abstain from alcohol, sugar, and soy products, drinking plenty of fresh, filtered water and taking a multivitamin and antioxidant formula. And there is always a case for regular exercise.  All of these will help to boost fertility and general health, and thus the likelihood of pregnancy.     

There is a certain mentality that impels a man to tend the needs of his mate, unsolicited, and it would benefit all men, preparing for a round of IVF, to cultivate that mind-set. It is a mentality that declares, “I, too, am a part of this process, and I am not just a bystander.” It is a mentality that asserts, in no uncertain terms, that the role of the man is a self-less and, sometimes, sacrificial one, and that his partner must be placed at the fore, in all he does.