During an IVF, everyone concentrates on the woman’s psychology, on how she experiences the whole procedure, her stress, her fears and her feelings. Men though also have an interaction with the whole experiment and they need support too. The case of Jean Hannah Edelstein and her husband opens our eyes on the fact that it takes two to make a baby and that concerns the IVF too.
Speaking to the BBC, Jean narrates her husband’s point of view during their IVF treatment. She said that they had discussed the possibility of not being able to have kids the old-fashioned way from the very beginning of their relationship and that they had agreed that they would take a different route. That’s why he didn’t feel at all panicked when they got started with IVF. On the contrary, he was excited. He told his friends and family that it was exciting news, whereas he would worry sometimes that people would judge them for it.
But he thought of it as doing a science experiment that would make their own baby and that that was kind of cool. In some ways it was more straightforward than doing it naturally, in that they didn’t have to wait every month to see if they were going to get pregnant, he noted. They didn’t have to think about timing or rhythm, they didn’t have to deal with the disappointment of Jean getting her period. To an extent, they thought that they were lucky to avoid that stage of the process.
He wasn’t too worried when he went for his sperm analysis at the hospital. First, he describes, they give you a little plastic cup. They take you into a room where they show you where the pornographic materials are. In this room it was an assortment of magazines with “barely legal” themes and an Apple TV with videos that mostly had words like “spunk” in the title.
He thought that was weird. Who selects the materials?
The room also has a Lay-Z-Boy recliner of indeterminate age, and on top of the recliner is something that looks like a giant dentist bib for you to sit on. He said he’d never done that before. It wasn’t his ideal scenario for creating new life.
Anyway, he continued, you do your thing, and there’s a small window the size of a dog door, but at eye level. You open the door and put your specimen in, and then as soon as you close the door you hear a person on the other side opening another door and taking the specimen out. He said that he didn’t think that’s the same person who selects the pornography.
His results didn’t surprise him. He had a normal sperm count, but he also had a slightly above-average number of abnormal sperm. When it came to the injections, he described it as above:
“You seemed to have a lot of anxiety because you didn’t know what was going to happen, so you were a little scared, and you also told me at first that you felt it was something that you had to do on your own. I would have been OK with that, but I was also very happy when the time came around and you asked me to help, because I wanted to be part of it”.
When their results weren’t great in the first round, Jean was worried. She was talking about not doing it again, but they thought through it and decided to persist. The second round was definitely harder for her. He didn’t have to do much more, Jean though felt much worse from the extra hormones.
Because they’d only been together for a relatively short amount of time, a lot of things came up in their relationship in the IVF process that hadn’t before. The couple had to discuss a lot of personal things that they hadn’t before discussed – some of them very intimate, bordering on gross. Their patience with each other hadn’t been tried this much in their relationship before. But this also taught them that they could get through stuff together. They focused on what they had to do for the route that worked for them. And hopefully everything would turn out the way they wanted.