A father’s story: “I’ll always ask myself how much suffering I could have saved my wife if I had thought that the problem could be with me”
When we talk about assisted reproduction we tend to focus on the female and leave the male in the background. It’s true that the female is the one who goes through all of the physical and medical processes, resulting in significant psychological burden. But we mustn’t overlook what the male experiences. Men, hoping to not add to their partner’s worries, have an inclination to hide what they are really going through during treatment.
That is why at URE Centro Gutenberg we wanted to share a father’s story with you. It’s a difficult story, but it has a happy ending. The story is told anonymously in order to respect the wishes of this father and his partner, but the fact that it’s anonymous doesn’t make it any less true.
Congratulations! Congratulations for never giving up, for having supported and continuing to support your wife, for being the great father you dreamt of being for so long and we know you are, and congratulations for telling us your story. It’s a story that many other men will relate to and will appreciate having the opportunity to read.
Tell us how your journey began
For a long time we had been trying to start our family. There were really difficult moments, not knowing the specific reason behind the problem. We visited gynaecologists who only ran tests on my wife and, without knowing what the root of our problem might be, provided us with general guidelines (you need to relax, don’t think about it, it’s probably just stress…).
After seeing many gynaecologists, one had an idea. He told us that I should also be tested and that we should visit a fertility clinic as soon as possible, as our case wasn’t usual…
Although we believe that society today is not male‑dominated, when these things happen to you, you realise just how far we still have to go. I’ll always ask myself how much suffering I could have saved my wife if, from the beginning, I had thought that the problem could be with me.
Tell us how you heard about URE Centro Gutenberg
Once we found out we would only be able to have a family with the help of a fertility clinic, my wife started looking for recommendations from doctors, friends, the internet… to find the best clinic in Málaga. Everyone she asked recommended URE Centro Gutenberg as the top clinic by far.
After your first appointment with us, what made you choose URE Centro Gutenberg?
The staff, without a doubt.
Apart from their professionalism (which many, many people had told us about, and which we noticed as soon as we first contacted the clinic), the human side of the staff was very important for us during this difficult journey.
At our first visit it was already apparent that the staff was caring, friendly and respectful.
Explain to future couples what doubts you first had regarding assisted reproduction treatment
Every couple and family is different, and each one will have their own questions.
The questions I asked were if my wife would suffer a lot, both physically and mentally. Also, how many times would we need to try? I also asked how treatment would be carried out.
On the other hand, I was worried about how treatment would affect us as a couple. If I’d be able to cope, if I’d know how to support my wife or if I’d put more pressure on her… Would we know how to lean on each other when our physical and mental strength started to waver?
Summarise your experience for us: impressions and feelings towards treatment, how you faced it as a couple, etc.
In terms of how we felt during treatment, we were scared at the beginning… Scared of what we didn’t know, what treatment would be like, the uncertainty of whether our long‑awaited dream would really come true someday…
We knew that once we were in treatment we would be closer to our goal, but the idea of not achieving it after several failed attempts inevitably loomed over our heads. In this respect I want to emphasise just how good all the staff were at reassuring us. The first time we spoke with the personnel in reception was crucial for us…
At the first consultation with Doctor Claudio Álvarez (at which we were scared out of our minds), we found ourselves sitting in front of a great professional and an even greater human being. Without being condescending he knew how to give us peace of mind on a professional level, and support on a psychological level. We discovered a straightforward person who, under no circumstances, would tell someone what he ‘thought’ they wanted to hear, but just the opposite. He knows how to convey the reality of the problem in a way that is both sensitive and empathetic.
Later on in the process we met Miguel Lara, head of the laboratory. He was another key element during treatment and my wife received a lot of support from him. Following my experience, I believe that these two professionals work great together. My wife, who is very shy, felt free to speak with Dr. Álvarez and ask him even the smallest question, while she could also receive support from Miguel during difficult moments.
These two people are the pillars that changed our life, but it wouldn’t have been the same without all the other staff members. Over the course of our many treatments we met different gynaecologists, biologists, nurses… and no one, NOT ONE of them disappointed us in the least. Even in the operating theatre we were treated in a way that we will never forget…
A articular, special moment I will always remember was the day my wife’s egg collection and my sperm extraction took place at the same time. We received the worst of news while we were in the recovery room, but the way they gently gave us this news made even that difficult moment one which made us stronger as a family. I wouldn’t be able to be a biological father, and in that room we cried, hugged each other… it’s a shock you never expect.
The team gave us the space and privacy that we needed upon receiving the diagnosis. At that extremely difficult time, one of the most trying times in our lives, the two people we needed the most walked in: Dr. Álvarez and Miguel Lara. They explained to us our only option for becoming parents in a clear and gentle way. My wife wasn’t convinced, but I was. Sperm donation was the solution I wanted, and the one I knew she would appreciate as time went on.Miguel gave us reassurance when he talked about the samples he had selected for us, and that’s how we started the second part, the treatments. This is of course when more questions started to come up – difficult questions that inevitably popped into my mind: What will the children look like? Will I love them like my own children, or will I always have doubts? Will people realise they’re not my biological children?But once you’re holding them in your arms and you see how they grow, how they love you… all those doubts disappear. They really all disappear. And in terms of looking like me… people see the resemblance with my wife’s family, so it’s perfect!
With your baby in your arms now, what advice would you give to other couples who are considering fertility treatment?
To not think twice about it. The process is difficult, especially for the mom, but the result is unique and makes everything you go through during treatment worth it.
It’s important to be very patient. Once your goal is clear, do not set any limits because you’ll end up achieving it, as difficult as it may seem.
One thing is for sure: it’s extremely important that the staff at the clinic is the right fit for you, seeing as fertility treatment is a difficult journey. The staff are not only healthcare professionals, but they also act as psychologists who help to pick couples up when they’re feeling down. This is something that is greatly appreciated when you’ve been swept up in a whirlpool of follicles, embryo transfers, betas, etc.
Would you like to share anything else?
Wow! There are so many things I’d like to say but I don’t want to take up too much of your time… For example, the times I couldn’t make appointments because of business trips and the way you treated my wife, specifically during one of the embryo transfers.
You never left her alone, not even for a second, and a nurse stayed with her in the room at all times… it still brings tears to my eyes. These are gestures that make a place special, and where a cold and sterile place becomes warm and familiar.
I drive by the clinic every day, and I never forget to give thanks for giving us the two main reasons for enjoying life. Amid moments of joy, suffering, pride, happiness, sadness… You’ve given us life, a marvellous life! THANK YOU!
Do you want to read other testimonies from URE Centro Gutenberg patients? We invite you to read them in the “Real Stories” section. We encourage you to discover what their questions, fears and joys were… and how they coped with assisted reproduction treatment with us.
Do you feel like telling us your story? We invite you to share it with us! Leave us your information here and we’ll get in touch with you.