While medical research shows that struggles by couples to conceive can often be attributed to the male partner‚ it remains a lonely and shameful stigma.
This is according to the wife of a man who unknowingly endured male infertility untreated for years.
Thomas Ncube’s wife Marcia* said he supported her through years of negative pregnancy tests‚ believing the problem lay with her.
Six years into their battle to conceive‚ after blood tests‚ scans and a laparoscopic operation‚ it came as a shock when Marcia was given a clean bill of health‚ revealing that the issue lay with him‚ not her.
“Whenever a couple battles to conceive‚ society naturally yields to the possibility that it is the woman who may be the cause‚” said Marcia. “That’s what both of us also thought. While I’ve known other couples who did not have children‚ I never thought it [was possibly] because of the husband.”
Following the diagnosis‚ Marcia said her husband experienced waves of denial and shame. He felt like a failure.
“I think it was a lack of knowledge because whenever we heard of male infertility‚ we don’t hear of treatments for male infertility.
“For example‚ a television soapie a few years ago showed one guy whose wife was failing to get pregnant. The family of the guy decided that his brother should instead impregnate his wife on his behalf‚” said Marcia.
“You also see adverts that speak of issues of circumcision‚ erectile dysfunction and things like that‚ but not much is said about where men can get help for this problem.”
The couple has since undergone in-vitro fertilisation (IVF) treatment. Although the process cost them a lot‚ it finally paid off.